Week 13 Preview

Two teams kick off their conference tournaments this week, with UMBC and Hofstra playing for a national tournament berth in the America East and Colonial Athletic Association respectively. Elsewhere, Colorado are right on the edge of securing a national tournament berth but will need some more results if they are to make their way into the big dance.

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

This week: v San Diego – 1pm, Friday October 31; v BYU – 1pm, Sunday November 2

With no conference tournament to play for, Pacific bring their season to a close with games against San Diego and BYU at home. The Tigers will be of little more than nuisance value in these fixtures, although a win against San Diego would foil any ideas the Toreros have of moving from fifth up into third in the conference, whilst BYU are almost assured to have secured the conference title by the time the game on Sunday morning rolls around. At this stage in the season, though, it’s most important to ensure that the side keeps their motivation up and continues playing to the expected level even with little to play for. One player who will have little trouble finding motivation is Ellie Papalexiou. With a senior currently starting in her favoured position of left back, Ellie will be looking to make that position her own next season, and solid performances at the back end of this season are a great way to start.

Nicholls State (Jess Coates)

This week: at Southeastern Louisiana – 7am, Saturday November 1; at Sam Houston State – 5am, Monday November 3

Perhaps the most interesting team to watch this week, Nicholls State need to pick up two wins to ensure they secure a spot in the Southland Conference tournament. This, however, will not be easy at all as they travel to fifth placed Southeastern Louisiana before taking on second placed Sam Houston State. The Colonels can’t be counted out of either game though; whilst their record doesn’t look so hot right now, it’s sometimes been a matter of being their best against the best and worst against the worst. The Colonels have also shaken off a 3 game losing streak with a win against Central Arkansas that saw their attack combining again like we know it can, and with Jess Coates getting back in the groove with a goal and an assist in that win, the Aussie could be instrumental in helping the side to the conference tournament, and why not? It’s what a captain does in times of need, and that’s what Jess has done many times this season.

Colorado (Kahlia Hogg, Alexandra Huynh)

This week: v Arizona State – 8am, Saturday November 1; v Arizona – 7am, Monday November 3

Colorado welcomes the Pac-12’s Arizona teams to Prentup Field this weekend knowing that they need to keep winning if they are to stay in the mix for a national tournament bid. With these two teams sitting directly below Colorado in the conference standings, losses here will not only hurt Colorado’s chances, they will significantly strengthen their opponents’, and even in a conference as stacked as the Pac-12, not every team is going to make the tournament. Arizona are without a win in four games, whilst Colorado are winless in three, although it must be said that both sides have had difficult stretches lately. Arizona State have had much the same trouble, losing to California and Stanford last week after defeating USC two weeks ago. This makes these games incredibly difficult to pick, but Colorado’s home field advantage may just give them the leg-up required. It will be interesting to see if Kahlia Hogg moves back up front or if she remains in the midfield position she played in last week – either way, she’ll be in the starting eleven, whilst Alex Huynh is still recovering from a foot injury.

Wyoming (Alisha Bass, Georgia Rowntree, Candace Sciberras)

This week: v Colorado State – 8am, Saturday November 1, Mountain West Conference Tournament – Starts November 6

With a win required to keep a hold of their second place in the Mountain West, Wyoming could have been handed much tougher challenges than second-bottom Colorado State, but this doesn’t mean they’ll be able to let their standards drop. Colorado State have dropped their last five games straight, although they only fell 1-0 to top team San Diego State, suggesting that the Rams can be hard to break down in defence if they organise themselves properly. Alisha Bass and Candace Sciberras combined for a goal last week, and if they can manage the same kind of play they’ve shown in previous games, alongside the rest of the Wyoming attack, they should be able to grab a goal and force Colorado State into more expansive play, which could lead to even more chances for Wyoming. The Cowgirls then move onto the Mountain West conference tournament – if they remain in second place, they will secure a bye through to the semi-finals, but if they finish in third, they will play in the quarter-finals on November 6 – as yet, their potential opponents are undecided.

Creighton (Anastasia McCleary)

This week: at Xavier – 9:30am, Saturday November 1

The season is coming to an unfortunate early end for Creighton, as the Bluejays missed out on qualifying for the Big East tournament. However, they have a real chance to end their season on a high as they travel to winless Xavier for their final game of the conference schedule. After starting their season with 7 straight wins, Creighton fell back to Earth pretty quickly as the conference season started and the level of competition rose, managing just a win and 2 draws this year in the Big East. Anastasia McCleary was unfortunately not given any time off the bench in last week’s game against Butler, and hopefully she is given some time to impress in this final game of the season, especially given that the game has no meaning to either team other than bragging rights over the other.

Alabama State (Shelbi Vienna-Hallam)

This week: v Alabama A&M – 11am, Saturday November 1

Alabama State come into this final game of the regular season unable to move any higher than 3rd position in the SWAC, but a loss could see them drop to fourth position for the conference tournament. Alabama A&M have split their games evenly in conference play this year, with 3 wins, 3 draws, and 3 losses, but those three wins have come against Grambling State, Alcorn State, and Arkansas Pine-Bluff, which have been gimmes for all other teams in the conference. Therefore, Alabama State will come into this game as favourites, especially with the Hornets being on a six game winning streak. Expect to see Shelbi Vienna-Hallam playing up front once again as she looks to extend her lead at the top of the College Matildas goalscoring and assist lists.

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)

This week: at Tennessee-Martin – 11am, Saturday November 1

Murray State can do both themselves and Southeast Missouri State a massive favour this weekend, as they take on Tennessee-Martin. With Tennessee-Martin sitting in third and Murray State in fourth, a win for Murray State will not only prevent Tennessee-Martin passing Southeast Missouri State for second if the Redhawks were to lose their final game, it would also see the Racers jump their opponents for third place and secure a much easier matchup in the conference tournament. Murray State had an unfortunate upset loss to Belmont in their last game, but won the four games prior to that, whilst Tennessee-Martin are on a 5 game unbeaten streak, winning their last 3. The two teams’ results have been very similar all season, and it may be Tennessee-Martin’s home advantage that gives them the slight edge here. Don’t expect that to come into Murray State’s thinking – there is a notable difference in this conference between the top 5 and the rest of the teams, so clinching that 3 v 6 matchup instead of the 4 v 5 in the conference tournament can be a massive motivator. Nyomi Devine has been a rock at the back for the Racers, whilst Harriet Withers has been finding a range of chances in recent games; if she can start finding the net again, it could spell real trouble for Tennessee-Martin.

Southeast Missouri State (Jenna Collingridge, Maddy Cornell, Bridget Sankey)

This week: at SIU Edwardsville – 11am, Saturday November 1

Southeast Missouri State picked up two wins last week which means this game will decide whether SIU Edwardsville win the Ohio Valley regular season title outright, or if the two sides share the prize. Furthermore, the Redhawks need the win to ensure they finish in 2nd and secure a bye in the first round of the conference tournament. SIU Edwardsville have won their last 4 games, whilst Southeast Missouri State have won their past 5, with both sides’ last loss coming against Austin Peay. There is little to pick amongst these two sides, and it may take a moment of brilliance to split them – could we see a repeat of last week’s 2 goal performance from Jenna Collingridge?

UMBC (Lilly Rydon)

This week – America East Conference Tournament – Starts November 3

UMBC have earned themselves a bye in the first round of the America East conference tournament, and will come up against the winner of the game between Binghamton and New Hampshire in the semi-finals. Whilst these teams both finished below UMBC in the conference standings, both will have reason to be confident of knocking off the Retrievers in the semi-finals – Binghamton defeated UMBC 1-0, whilst New Hampshire secured a 0-0 tie. Evidently both teams have the ability to shut down UMBC’s scoring ability, which hasn’t been firing on all cylinders for most of the season anyway, and the likes of Lilly Rydon will have to be on their game to get the side through the conference tournament for a repeat showing at the national tournament after last season’s domination of the America East.

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert)

This week – Colonial Athletic Association Conference Tournament – Starts November 3

Unlike UMBC, Hofstra know who they’ll be playing first up in the conference tournament, as they finished third and take on sixth placed Towson. The Pride defeated Towson 1-0 in their only meeting this season, and if they replicate that result this week, they’ll take on James Madison, a side against which they will not want to replicate the same result, as the Dukes defeated Hofstra 3-1 in their previous meeting. Hofstra have improved since that loss though, going on a six match unbeaten streak which includes five wins, and they’ll have plenty of reason to believe that they can overturn that result. After starting the season on the bench, Emily Hulbert has been a revelation in defence since moving to the starting lineup, although her ability to pop up with a shot makes her a threat at both ends.

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Week 12 Wrap

Plenty of teams secured conference tournament positions or even set themselves up for conference regular season titles this week, but the most notable part of the weekend was Nicole Calder getting on the field for 15 minutes to play on Senior Night despite what appeared to be a season-ending injury. Considering the fact that Nicole would walk through a brick wall to achieve her goals, it’s not a surprise that she managed to get out there and play, but it’s great to see that she was afforded the opportunity to get out on the field one last time for Kennesaw State.

UMBC (Lilly Rydon)

This week’s results: defeated Albany 1-0, lost to Binghamton 1-0 (2OT)

Needing two wins this weekend to secure a share of the conference regular season title, UMBC got off to the start they needed, defeating Albany 1-0 in a tight contest. The Retrievers took their time in getting a lead though – Albany kept UMBC’s chances to a minimum, and it took 71 minutes for UMBC to score the first and only goal of the game with the only shot on target of the entire second half for either team. The win meant that their fate was still in their own hands as they came into an eminently winnable game against Binghamton, but Binghamton were in no mood to play nice on UMBC’s Senior Day, taking a 1-0 win in overtime. Surprisingly, Lilly Rydon wasn’t involved against Albany, but came back to start against Binghamton in her final college regular season home game, tallying 3 shots, of which one was on target.

Nicholls State (Jess Coates)

This week’s results: lost to Houston Baptist 1-0, Saturday October 25; defeated Central Arkansas 2-0

A mixed weekend for Nicholls State leaves them teetering on the edge of the Southland conference tournament, requiring wins in their final two games to secure a spot. The game against Houston Baptist was always expected to be a tough test, but not unwinnable, and even a draw in this game would have been highly beneficial to the side’s chances, and for 89 minutes and 55 seconds of the game it looked as if the game would go into overtime. With just four seconds remaining in the game, however, Houston Baptist scored from a corner and Nicholls State went down 1-0 despite leading the shot count 18-7 – a testament to the pitfalls of not taking your chances. Suddenly, a match against a much weaker Central Arkansas side came with the added pressure of needing a win, and it was Jess Coates who thrived under that pressure early on, scoring just 2 minutes into the game to give Nicholls State a brilliant start. Jess then provided the assist for the second goal just six minutes later, and whilst they didn’t manage to find another goal in the next 82 minutes, they managed to keep Central Arkansas out to keep within reach of the final conference tournament berth.

Southeast Missouri State (Jenna Collingridge, Maddy Cornell, Bridget Sankey)

This week’s results: defeated Tennessee Tech 2-0, defeated Jacksonville State 3-0

Southeast Missouri State needed two wins this weekend to give them a chance of securing a share of the Ohio Valley conference regular season title next week against SIU Edwardsville, and that’s exactly what they earned, firstly dealing with Tennessee Tech as expected before convincingly beating Jacksonville State by a surprising 3-0 scoreline. Jenna Collingridge was the only Aussie involved for the Redhawks this week, but she made her presence felt, especially against Jacksonville State. Against Tennessee Tech, it was Natasha Minor scoring in the 17th and 78th minutes that secured the result for Southeast Missouri State, but Jenna was the undoubted star of the game against Jacksonville State. Jenna only had two shots in the entire game. Both were on target, and they also both beat the goalkeeper to give Jenna her first two collegiate goals. With Jenna’s goals putting the side up 2-0 after 53 minutes, the game was in the Redhawks’ pocket, and a third goal late on wrapped things up.

Colorado (Kahlia Hogg, Alexandra Huynh)

This week’s results: lost to Washington State 2-1, tied with Washington 0-0 (2OT)

Colorado have bouncing in and out of national tournament predictions, and this week they managed to do so in the space of 2 days as a damaging loss to Washington State was followed up by a resume-building 0-0 draw with top 20 side Washington. With Kahlia Hogg dropping back into midfield after regularly starting up front for the Buffaloes this season, the side was missing a little at the pointy end, but this didn’t stop them from grabbing a 1-0 lead against Washington State. It wasn’t to be, however, as the nationally ranked Cougars managed to rally for a comeback as goals in a ten minute span either side of halftime saw Colorado condemned to a loss. Knowing that they couldn’t afford another loss in their hunt for a national tournament bid, Colorado came out firing against Washington, tallying 9 first half shots. Unfortunately, only two of these managed to test the Huskies’ goalkeeper, and neither found the net. It was more or less the same in the second half, and again throughout overtime, as the sides traded shots but neither could find the net. Once again, Kahlia Hogg played in a midfield role but also managed to create a couple of chances for herself as she played the full 110 minutes.

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert)

This week’s results: defeated Drexel 2-1, defeated Delaware 4-2

Coming into this final weekend of conference games, Hofstra had an outside chance of finishing in top spot in the Colonial Athletic Association, and whilst the other results they needed didn’t go their way, they did the job required of themselves to move up from 5th place into 3rd and vastly improving their seeding in the conference tournament. The game against Drexel was of utmost importance, as the Dragons were a single place ahead of Hofstra before the game. Hofstra opened the scoring just shy of the half-hour mark, a just reward for their attacking dominance, before doubling their lead in the 54th minute. As Hofstra have been wont to do for so long, however, they conceded just a minute later. This was where the scoring ended, and Hofstra took the win to jump above Drexel in the standings. Other results meant that Hofstra would be playing for third at best against Delaware, whilst Delaware needed a result to secure a place in the conference tournament. Hofstra didn’t let Delaware’s desperation to get a win faze them, and they opened the scoring just six minutes into the game. Neither side was able to score in the first half, but it appeared that the teams were saving the goals for the second half. Hofstra scored their second of the game in the 58th minute, before Delaware grabbed one back 12 minutes later to leave the game poised at 2-1 to Hofstra. Two more quick goals to the Pride, however, meant that Delaware’s 88th minute goal was nothing more than a consolation, but it would not have even been that in the end as the loss meant the end of Delaware’s season, whilst Hofstra march on to the Colonial Athletic Association conference tournament. Emily Hulbert started in defence as usual for Hofstra, playing the full 90 minutes against Drexel and 78 minutes against Delaware.

Kennesaw State (Nicole Calder)

This week’s result: defeated USC Upstate 1-0

With the side needing a win in their final game against winless USC Upstate, the Kennesaw State coach could have been forgiven for casting away sentiment on Senior Night, but it was the seniors themselves who had a massive impact as the Owls picked up a 1-0 win to keep their season alive. as Alma Gardasdottir picked up the only goal of the game in the 64th minute. Nicole Calder played in her final game of college soccer, and whilst she was only on the field for around 15 minutes in two short stints at the end of each half, it didn’t take her long to get involved – despite being a defender, it took Nicole only 33 seconds to get a shot on target. Considering the Owls outshot USC Upstate 19-7, the side may have wanted a few more goals in this game, but the win was what they needed and that’s what they finished the 90 minutes with.

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)

This week’s results: defeated Austin Peay 3-2, lost to Belmont 2-0

As with Southeast Missouri State, two wins this weekend would have given Murray State a shot at a share of the Ohio Valley conference regular season title, and they got off to a good start with a win in a match against a tricky Austin Peay side. The Racers got off to a slow start and quickly fell behind to an Austin Peay goal in the fourth minute. That goal appeared to kick Murray State into gear, and goals at regular intervals saw the score go from 1-0 down to 3-1 up after 63 minutes. Austin Peay managed a 2nd in the 87th minute, but the Racers hung on for those last few nervy minutes to clinch a win in a match that saw both Nyomi Devine and Harriet Withers start. The Palm Beach pair started again against Belmont, with Harriet tallying five shots, of which four were on target (of a team total of six). Despite her best efforts, a lack of support from the team meant that goals were hard to come by, and Belmont were far more ruthless as they secured a 2-0 win which kept their own chances of making the conference tournament alive.

Alabama State (Shelbi Vienna-Hallam)

This week’s results: defeated Mississippi Valley State 3-1, defeated Alcorn State 8-1

Since a tough start to the conference season which saw Alabama State handed the toughest start to the SWAC schedule of any team, the Hornets have come home with a wet sail and things were no different this weekend as they soundly defeated Mississippi Valley State before handing Alcorn State an absolute mauling which left their opponents with the antithesis of a perfect season – 0 wins, 0 draws, 12 losses. Shelbi Vienna-Hallam was, as has become habit for the Tasmanian junior, involved heavily in the goalscoring for the week, notching an assist for the first goal against MVSU before scoring Alabama State’s third as the teams combined for all four of the game’s goals inside 34 minutes. The goals were far more spread out against Alcorn State, as is to be expected in an 8-1 win. Alabama State opened the scoring in 16th minute, before Shelbi notched an assist on the first of Aaliyah Lewis’ 3 goals. With the score 5-0 after an hour, Alcorn State managed to get one back, but Shelbi scored two goals of her own to make the score 7-1 before the Hornets rounded out the scoring on 78 minutes for an emphatic victory.

Wyoming (Alisha Bass, Georgia Rowntree, Candace Sciberras)

This week’s results: lost to San Diego State 5-2, lost to  New Mexico 2-1

A tough start to the weekend against high-flying San Diego State turned into a tough week for Wyoming as they dropped both games this weekend hand the conference title to San Diego State and allow New Mexico themselves to sneak back into contention for second spot. The match against San Diego State was always expected to be tough, but it wasn’t all bad news for the Aussies involved, with Candace Sciberras scoring one of Wyoming’s goals, and Alisha Bass providing the assist. At that point, the game was 1-1 after half an hour, but San Diego scored the next 4 goals to put the game out of Wyoming’s reach. The match against New Mexico was a fair sight tougher for the Aussies, with neither Bass or Sciberras being involved in Wyoming’s opener in the 4th minute, and with New Mexico coming back from 1-0 down to win the game in the 85th minute, it was a tough loss for Wyoming to take.

Creighton (Anastasia McCleary)

This week’s result: tied with Butler 1-1 (2OT)

Creighton were eliminated from conference tournament contention last week, but still had pride to play for in this game against Butler. They weren’t without their chances, either, especially in the first half as they forced two saves from the Butler goalkeeper. It was in the second half, however, with their only shot on target, that they cracked the Butler defence for the opening goal. Butler were afforded the opportunity to hit back when the Creighton defence allowed them to break down the right, and the shot from an impossible angle which really should have been covered by the Bluejays goalkeeper found the back of the net for an equaliser. Attacking chances were few and far between for the remainder of the match as the sides cancelled each other out for the final 40 minutes of the game, and with neither coach really willing to use their bench, the tiring starters meant there was not even one shot taken during the second period of overtime. Unfortunately, Anastasia McCleary was not afforded the opportunity to come off the bench to make an impact in this game.

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

This week’s result: lost to St. Mary’s 1-0

It’s been a tough season for Pacific, but this game against St. Mary’s loomed as their biggest chance of a win in conference play. Pacific put in a really solid performance this game, whilst Ellie Papalexiou had what she described as her best game of the season, seeing over half an hour of playing time and managing two shots, of which one was on target but was denied by some great play by the St. Mary’s goalkeeper. Despite some solid chances for both sides, the game looked destined to head to overtime until the 88th minute, when a St. Mary’s player got free on the left and made a run before hitting the ball across the Pacific goalkeeper for the lone goal of the game. It was not a loss Pacific deserved, especially in such a fashion.

Week 12 Preview

Things are really getting to the pointy end now, as teams scrap for position and try to secure a spot in their conference tournament. Whilst some teams have wrapped up their spots and are fighting for top spot, others need to put together a winning streak over the next couple of weeks if they are to play any post-season soccer.

UMBC (Lilly Rydon)

This week: at Binghamton – 4am, Monday October 27

After a vital 1-0 victory over Albany on Friday morning, UMBC finish off their weekend with a match against second-last Binghamton that they really should get a win from. With that said, UMBC have already lost to last-placed Vermont this season, so a win against Binghamton shouldn’t be counted as a guarantee, especially as Binghamton have only lost 3 of their six games, with a win and two losses in the other. Lilly Rydon’s goals have dried up in recent weeks, but she has proved so far this season that she has the class required to slot one when it’s needed, and this may just be the weekend that she snaps the goal drought.

Nicholls State (Jess Coates)

This week: v Houston Baptist – 7am, Saturday October 25; v Central Arkansas – 4am, Monday October 27

Nicholls State laboured slightly in their games last week, leading to two losses that dragged the Colonels right back into a scrap for a conference tournament spot that they had previously hoisted themselves out of. With four matches to play, Nicholls State are only a game behind sixth placed McNeese State, but face three teams ranked above them in their four remaining games. The two easier of those four games, however, will be played this weekend, and two wins this weekend will put Nicholls State right back in the mix. Houston Baptist sit in fifth position in the Southland Conference, and are in scintillating form recently, winning their last three games. Nicholls State have managed to snap losing streaks quickly this season, however, and should have the belief that they can do so again. Their second match, against Central Arkansas, should prove to be slightly less challenging, with their opponents sitting in second-last place in the conference, but they have put together five wins for the season, even if only one of those has come in conference play. Jess Coates’ attacking impact has been slightly down in recent weeks, but this extended stint at home gives her a real chance to get back into the groove in familiar surroundings.

Southeast Missouri State (Jenna Collingridge, Maddy Cornell, Bridget Sankey)

This week: at Tennessee Tech – 7am, Saturday October 25; at Jacksonville State – 5am, Monday October 27

Southeast Missouri State sit in equal second with fellow Aussie-laden side Murray State in second place in the Ohio Valley conference standings, and with their last game of the season coming against league leaders SIU Edwardsville, two wins this weekend will set them up for a crack at the league title next weekend. Bottom team Tennessee Tech should prove to offer up little challenge to the Redhawks, but Jacksonville State will be a different story. Jacksonville State are the third team in the conference with a 5-2-0 record, and play SIU Edwardsville in their first match of the weekend, so this game may already be between two conference leaders by the time Monday morning rolls around. Maddy Cornell and Bridget Sankey are seeing little, if any, playing time at the moment, but Jenna Collingridge remains the lynchpin of the Southeast Missouri State midfield and could provide a huge influence in these games.

Colorado (Kahlia Hogg, Alexandra Huynh)

This week: v Washington State – 8am, Saturday October 25; v Washington – 6am, Monday October 27

Colorado remain on the precipice of securing a national tournament berth, and with the Pac-12 having no conference tournament, regular season play is the only way they’re going to manage to grab one. These matches against Washington State and Washington, who both sit just above the Buffaloes, could prove to be make or break as two losses here could mean curtains, but grabbing at least one win will put the side right into contention for an at-large spot. They’ll need to be at their best, however, to take down two teams who sit amongst the nation’s elite. Colorado have been in just about all of their conference games even when they haven’t had the desired result, and their ability to keep pace with any opponent could prove vital in this match. With Alex Huynh out through injury, there remains a big hole in the side’s defence, but Kahlia Hogg has been ever-present in the forward line and has been one of the outstanding Australians in college soccer this season.

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert)

This week: v Drexel – 10am, Saturday October 25; v Delaware – 4am, Monday October 27

Hofstra’s last two games of the regular season come against teams ranked immediately above and below them in the conference standings, and a win in either game will assure the Pride of a conference tournament berth, whilst two wins could see them jump from 5th to 1st if other results go their way. With both games this week being at home, Hofstra will be hopeful of picking up wins in both games, especially given the team’s recent good form. The Pride have had 3 wins and a tie in their last four games, including a win against conference leader Northeastern a couple of weeks ago. Emily Hulbert is really coming into her own for the Pride, alternating between defence and midfield and showing a real willingness to be involved in attacks when required. Expect to see the young Victorian in the mix for her 3rd goal of the season this weekend.

Kennesaw State (Nicole Calder)

This week: v USC Upstate – 10am, Saturday October 25

Look who’s back! Yes, despite what appeared to be a season-ending injury, Nicole Calder is making a one-game comeback to play on Senior Night for Kennesaw State against USC Upstate. Kennesaw State have struggled a bit this season, with Nicole’s absence in defence proving to be a big hole for the Owls, but USC Upstate have struggled even more, failing so far to get a single conference win. A win this weekend, however, will secure a conference tournament spot for Kennesaw State in this final game of the regular season. With it also being Senior Night, there should be more than enough motivation for the Owls to knock off USC Upstate and send their seniors out on a high.

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)

This week: at Austin Peay – 11am, Saturday October 25; v Belmont – 5am, Monday October 27

Murray State sit just one game behind Ohio Valley conference leaders SIU Edwardsville, and are just waiting for a slip-up from the top team to allow them to sneak into top spot. This week, the Racers take on a couple of times fighting for a conference tournament spot, and whilst fighting for top spot is motivation for Murray State, their opponents have even more motivation with the desperation to play for a chance at a national tournament bid burning in the hearts of both the Austin Peay and Belmont squads. Nonetheless, Murray State haven’t reached a 5-2-0 record by chance, and they’ll be favourites in both of these games. Harriet Withers and Nyomi Devine have both become solid members of this team, either starting or off the bench, and their performances should continue to be big parts of any success for Murray State this season.

Alabama State (Shelbi Vienna-Hallam)

This week: v Mississippi Valley State – 11am, Saturday October 25; v Alcorn State – 5am, Monday October 27

Alabama State have all but wrapped up a spot in the postseason, and can make it official this week against Mississippi Valley State in their first match of the weekend, before their Monday morning match against literally the worst side in college soccer in Alcorn State. Alabama State faced a very tough draw early in the conference season, and whilst they are currently fifth in the conference, they are facing some less challenging opponents in their future games, so fifth is a good launching pad for the final few games of the season to possibly jump into a top 3 or 4 spot. With Shelbi Vienna-Hallam being a revelation up front since her move from defence and combining with team points leader Aaliyah Lewis sublimely, the Hornets’ goalscoring has been almost unstoppable recently, giving Alabama State great reason to be confident of a win in every game.

Wyoming (Alisha Bass, Georgia Rowntree, Candace Sciberras)

This week: at San Diego State – 12pm, Saturday October 25; at New Mexico, 6am, Monday October 27

This week sees Wyoming travel firstly to San Diego State to take on the Aztecs in a game that is almost certain to decide the Mountain West regular season title before heading east to New Mexico in a tricky match against the fourth placed Lobos. Wyoming and San Diego State have firmly established themselves as the dominant teams in the conference, but they have both had a few scares here and there throughout the conference season. As a timely example, San Diego State’s first loss came in their last game, going down to seventh placed Boise State, meaning Wyoming will have to be wary of a team itching to make amends. New Mexico also lost in their last game, to the same Utah State side that handed Wyoming their only conference loss of the year. Wyoming’s Aussies have been instrumental in the Cowgirls’s successes in 2014, and if they can play as well as they have regularly throughout the season, two wins this weekend could secure the conference regular season title and the top seeding in the tournament.

Creighton (Anastasia McCleary)

This week: at Butler – 10am, Sunday October 26

Creighton went down 1-0 to what appeared to be a much stronger Georgetown last week, and if they can put in a performance like that again, it may just be enough for the Bluejays to take down Butler and jump them on the Big East table. It’s been a tough conference season for Creighton, losing their last three and winning only one of their last seven, but two of their easier games in conference play come this weekend and next weekend against Xavier. It will be interesting to see if Anastasia McCleary starts seeing more game time late in the season, or if the coach continues to rigidly adhere to the gameplan. Clearly McCleary has the class to impact the side positively; it’s now just a case of being given the time to do so.

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

This week: v St. Mary’s – 1pm, Sunday October 26

It’s been a tough old season for Pacific this year, but this match against St. Mary’s will be their best chance this conference season to get a win. Neither Pacific nor St. Mary’s have managed a win in conference play, with St. Mary’s sitting above the Tigers by virtue of their two draws. Amazingly, one of those draws came against high-flying Pepperdine, and if they put in a performance like that again, it will be very tough for Pacific. On the flip side, Pacific have shown touches of class this season and it may very well be a case of which team shows up on the day for both sides. Ellie Papalexiou has been coming off the bench most of the season so far, but in these final games of the season you never quite know what might happen, and hopefully Ellie gets a start either this weekend or next.

Week 11 Wrap

Firstly, apologies for the lack of a preview for this weekend’s games – College Matildas is a one-man operation and this one man was incapacitated. And now, onto the football. After last weekend’s exploits from our Aussies, just about anything would be a comedown. However, we still saw some great performances, including a second career goal from Emily Hulbert and more attacking brilliance from Shelbi Vienna-Hallam.

UMBC (Lilly Rydon)

This week’s results: defeated Massachusetts-Lowell 3-1, defeated Hartford 1-0

UMBC came into this weekend needing two wins to keep their hopes of finishing top in the America East conference alive, and that’s exactly what they got, as they dominated Massachusetts-Lowell before fighting their way to victory over current league leaders Hartford. The match against Massachusetts-Lowell saw both sides start slowly before Massachusetts-Lowell actually took the lead in the 52nd minute, which kicked UMBC into gear. The Retrievers scored in the 55th and 59th minutes to take the lead before tacking on a third goal with 20 minutes to play to secure the win. The match against Hartford was also tied 0-0 at halftime, but Hartford dominated the shot count 8-4. The second half was a different beast, however. UMBC had 9 shots to 3, of which four were on target, but most importantly, one shot in the 72nd minute bulged the back of the net to give UMBC the win. Lilly Rydon started in both games, managing four shots against Hartford, but wasn’t able to manage a goal.

Creighton (Anastasia McCleary)

This week’s results: lost to Villanova 2-0, lost to Georgetown 1-0

A tough conference season continued this week for Creighton as they fell in a couple of tough games against Villanova and Georgetown. In both games, the Bluejays had their opportunities to get a win, but on both occasions they fell short. Against Villanova, the Bluejays were outshot 12-9, but managed 4 of their own on target, however it was Villanova who scored in the 34th and 84th minutes to secure victory. The stat line against nationally ranked Georgetown suggests that Creighton may have even had the better of the play, leading the shots 9-7, but with only 3 on target which were all saved by the Georgetown goalkeeper, the Hoyas’ ability to take just one of their chances led to victory. Anastasia McCleary came off the bench in both games, but as has become the norm, played only 10 minutes or so in each game.

Colorado (Kahlia Hogg, Alexandra Huynh)

This week’s result: lost to Stanford 3-0

Colorado were always expected to be up against it in this match against Stanford, and that expectation came to fruition on the field as the Buffaloes fell to a heavy 3-0 defeat against Stanford which dealt a blow to their national tournament bid hopes. Stanford weren’t able to open the scoring until the 39th minute, but with Colorado unable to register a shot in the first half, the Cardinal had all the momentum leading into the second half. Whilst the Buffaloes were able to register four shots in the second half, they could only manage one on target (which, interestingly, came from goalkeeper Kate Scheele), whilst Stanford knocked home two more in the 59th and 89th minutes to cruise to a win. Kahlia Hogg started for the Buffaloes and played 79 minutes, and had one header almost make its way into the back of the net, but was cleared by a Stanford defender. Alexandra Huynh was once again out through injury – she remains unlikely to play again in the regular season, but should be back if Colorado reach the national tournament.

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)

This week’s result: defeated Eastern Illinois 1-0

One game this week for Murray State, and they managed to grab the win to keep themselves in equal second position in the Ohio Valley standings, but they made it harder for themselves than it should have been against second-last placed Eastern Illinois. With Harriet Withers starting and notching up four shots, and Nyomi Devine in defence, Murray State had 20 shots to Eastern Illinois’ 9, with 10 on target to 3. However, the Eastern Illinois goalkeeper was like a brick wall for the most part. In the 84th minute, however, just when it was looking like the Racers’ domination would all be for nought, Pavlina Nepokojova whipped home a free kick for the winning goal which sees Murray State stay right in the hunt for regular season conference supremacy.

Nicholls State (Jess Coates)

This week’s results: lost to Northwestern State 2-1, lost to Stephen F. Austin 3-1

With a game against last-placed Northwestern State this weekend, Nicholls State should have secured at least one win this weekend and kept themselves locked into a conference tournament position. Instead, their expected loss to league leaders Stephen F. Austin was coupled with an upset loss to Northwestern State which leaves the Colonels on the outside looking in at the tournament positions as they now languish in eighth position in the Southland Conference. The stats against Northwestern State suggest that the game was a very even affair, with the shot count being tied at 17 apiece, and Northwestern State leading the shots on target 11-10. However, Northwestern State were able to grab two first half goals, with a couple of long passes landing in perfect positions to tee up their strikers, as they tallied goals in the 22nd and 42nd minutes to grab a 2-0 lead. Nicholls State hit back almost immediately after the second goal to make things 2-1 shortly before halftime, but the second half saw the attacking chances, and the goals, dry up and the game finished 2-1 to give Northwestern State their first conference win of the season. Stephen F. Austin were expected to be a much tougher opponent, and indeed they were, as just a short lapse in play by Nicholls State saw their opponents notch two goals within 46 seconds of each other in the 20th minute to go up 2-0 early on. Nicholls State once again hit back quickly, as they did in the Northwestern State game, scoring just 3 minutes later to bring them back into the game at 2-1. Despite outshooting Stephen F. Austin 11-9, including 5-4 in the second half, it was Nicholls State who conceded the only goal of the second half, a third goal for Stephen F. Austin on the hour mark extending their lead back to two goals, which is how things stayed until the final whistle. Jess Coates started in both games for Nicholls State, but was not able to have the same impact she has had in many games this season.

Alabama State (Shelbi Vienna-Hallam)

This week’s results: defeated Jackson State 2-1, defeated Southern 2-0

Alabama State finally kicked into gear a couple of weeks ago and they kept it up this week, defeating nemesis Jackson State 2-1 before defeating Southern 2-0 to move into third place in the SWAC standings. Shelbi Vienna-Hallam and Aaliyah Lewis combined for the sixth straight game against Jackson State, with Aaliyah setting up Shelbi for the equaliser after Jackson State’s opener before Shelbi returned the favour for the winner just before halftime. Unfortunately, their streak came to an end at that point, but it was of little consequence as both players managed plenty of shots, but two other Alabama State players tallied goals to grab another win for the Hornets.

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert)

This week’s results: defeated College of Charleston 5-0, tied with UNC Wilmington 2-2 (2OT)

An undefeated weekend kept Hofstra well within touching distance of the top of the Colonial Athletic Association standings. First up, Hofstra faced second-last College of Charleston in a game that the Pride couldn’t afford to drop, and they dealt with those expectations beautifully, as goals in the 6th and 7th minute gave the side an exceptional start. The goals were not quite as forthcoming for the next 45 minutes or so, until two more in the 52nd and 56th minutes ended the match as a contest. Then, in the 64th minute, Aussie freshman Emily Hulbert notched her second goal of the season with an shot from just inside the area which went across the keeper and into the bottom corner of the net. A loss to UNC Wilmington in the side’s second game of the weekend would not have proven fatal to their tournament hopes, but it would have let their opponents catch right up and put real pressure on Hofstra. It was UNC Wilmington, however, who scored first, on 32 minutes, but Hofstra hit back 10 minutes later to tie things up, before taking the lead in the 63rd minute. As the old saying goes, though, you’re most vulnerable after you score, and UNC Wilmington scored an equaliser just 90 seconds later. Hofstra outshot UNC Wilmington 30-15 for the game, but couldn’t manage to beat the goalkeeper in the final 45 minutes of the game despite having the run of the play for the majority of the game. Emily Hulbert also started against UNC Wilmington and played the whole 110 minutes, registering two shots.

Southeast Missouri State (Jenna Collingridge, Maddy Cornell, Bridget Sankey)

This week’s results: defeated Eastern Kentucky 1-0, defeated Morehead State 2-1

After splitting last weekend’s matches, Southeast Missouri State stormed back into form this week with two wins that put them alongside two other teams at a game behind the Ohio Valley conference lead. Unfortunately, neither Bridget Sankey nor Maddy Cornell saw game time this weekend, but Jenna Collingridge started in her usual midfield position as the Redhawks fought to victory against Eastern Kentucky. The Redhawks enjoyed attacking dominance in this match, but their shooting was less than impressive, with only four shots on target from the twelve that they had. It took, however, until the 86th minute for Southeast Missouri State to finally knock a goal home, as Breana Beine latched onto a pass and beat a defender before slotting the ball past the Eastern Kentucky goalkeeper for a late winner. Collingridge again lined up against Morehead State, and in a 2-1 win the goals came slightly earlier for the Redhawks, with goals in the 32nd and 38th minutes putting Southeast Missouri State into a commanding position. Morehead State grabbed one back shortly before halftime, and then came out firing in the second half, tallying 11 shots with 5 on target. Southeast Missouri State’s defence held firm, however, and the Redhawks escaped with a much-needed win.

Wyoming (Alisha Bass, Georgia Rowntree, Candace Sciberras)

This week’s results: defeated Fresno State 2-0, defeated San Jose State 2-0

Wyoming moved into top spot in the Mountain West conference, and also secured a conference tournament berth, with two wins this weekend over Fresno State and San Jose State on a trip to Northern California. The game against Fresno State saw the Cowgirls trail in shots 15-9, but with Fresno State choosing quantity over quality and Wyoming choosing the opposite, it was Wyoming who scored in the 11th and 88th minutes, with Kaitlyn Lomsnes scoring on both occasions. Alisha Bass started against Fresno State, whilst Candace Sciberras came off the bench for 2 shots in 71 minutes of play. Against San Jose State, all three Australians started, with Georgia Rowntree back between the sticks from the outset, and Sciberras being rewarded for her good performances. Rowntree kept a clean sheet before being subbed at halftime, whilst Bass and Sciberras both had multiple shots, but it was Lomsnes again, along with Kasey Curtis, who notched the goals for the Cowgirls in their second win of the weekend, with goals in the 3rd minute through Curtis’ penalty, and an empty net goal in the 89th minute for Lomsnes.

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

This week’s result: lost to Santa Clara 2-0

It’s been a tough conference season for Pacific this season, and not a lot changed as the Tigers travelled 70 miles down I-205W to take on national powerhouse Santa Clara. With the Tigers unable to register a shot on target for the entire game, the best they were ever going to achieve was a 0-0 draw. Pacific’s defence was breached, however, in the 21st minute as Santa Clara opened the scoring, but the Broncos were wasteful for most of the first period, only managing to get 3 of their 11 shots on target. The Broncos were just as wasteful in the second half, managing eight shots but only getting three on target. One of those three, however, did find the back of the net and secured the win for Santa Clara. Ellie Papalexiou came off the bench once again for Pacific as she continues her efforts to break into the starting side.

Player Of The Year Points:

3: Shelbi Vienna-Hallam (Alabama State)
2: Emily Hulbert (Hofstra) 
1: 
Harriet Withers (Murray State)

Week 10 Wrap

In what was undoubtedly the top week of the season so far, five different players scored goals, whilst another notched an assist. Shelbi Vienna-Hallam tallied an amazing four assists plus a goal for the week, whilst Kahlia Hogg and Alisha Bass led their sides to thrilling victories.

UMBC (Lilly Rydon)

This week’s results: drew with New Hampshire 0-0, defeated Maine 1-0

With a draw and a win this week, UMBC have put together a 3 game winning streak, although the first two of those three have been draws, meaning they are still slightly behind the eight ball in the America East. The game against New Hampshire saw the Retrievers outshot 19-10 over 110 minutes of pulsating football that somehow culminated in a 0-0 draw, with UMBC having their goalkeeper to thank, as Jen Nance came up with 11 saves whilst UMBC could only manage two shots on target, with Lilly Rydon uncharacteristically wayward in her shooting, as all three of her shots ended up off target. Fortunately, things were slightly better against Maine as one of the side’s ten shots managed to find the back of the net, the goal coming just two minutes after halftime. Lilly Rydon also started in this game, managing one shot, which was on target but was not the shot to find the goal.

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)

This week’s results: defeated Morehead State 5-0, defeated Eastern Kentucky 2-0

An absolutely tremendous week this week for Murray State, as they demolished Morehead State before soundly defeating Eastern Kentucky to move to the top of the Ohio Valley Conference standings. Harriet Withers played a large part in the victory over Morehead State, scoring the fourth goal and picking up an assist on the fifth against Morehead State after Julie Mooney had picked up a hat-trick to put the side up 3-0, whilst Nyomi Devine started in defence and helped the side to a clean sheet. Both players started against Eastern Kentucky as the side cruised a 2-0 win, notching 19 shots to Eastern Kentucky’s 7, of which Harriet Withers had 3, but could not manage a goal.

Colorado (Kahlia Hogg, Alexandra Huynh)

This week’s results: defeated Oregon State 1-0, defeated Oregon 2-1

It took some real fight from Colorado, but the Buffaloes managed to escape this week with two wins against the Pac-12’s Oregon pair. Colorado were never really in danger of losing to Oregon State as the Beavers only managed one shot on target, but Colorado were stopped by the Oregon State goalkeeper for the entire first half. Just a minute into the second half, however, Brie Hooks knocked home the only goal of the match. Kahlia Hogg started in this match, but it was the game against Oregon in which the junior from Canberra came to the fore. With Colorado down 1-0 after 74 minutes courtesy of Oregon’s 7th minute opener, Kahlia tallied Colorado’s opener to equalise. But she wasn’t done there. With just three minutes to play, Madison Krauser’s shot rebounded into Kahlia’s path, and she buried it for a brilliant comeback win for Colorado.

Wyoming (Alisha Bass, Georgia Rowntree, Candace Sciberras)

This week’s results: defeated Colorado College 3-2 (2OT), defeated Air Force 5-2

After almost blowing a win in their first game, Wyoming stormed home in both games this weekend to move up to equal second in the Mountain West conference standings. With Alisha Bass starting and Candace Sciberras coming off the bench to play all bar 9 minutes of the game, Wyoming came back from 1-0 down against Colorado College to take a 2-1 lead, before Colorado College hit back with a 76th minute penalty to send the game into overtime. Wyoming weren’t to be denied, however, and in the 2nd minute of the second half of overtime, they managed to notch the winner. Bass and Sciberras were again heavily involved in the game against Air Force, but with 20 minutes to go, Air Force were up 2-1 and Wyoming’s chances of a win were slipping away. Enter Alisha Bass. 73rd minute – assist. 78th minute – goal, assisted by fellow Aussie Sciberras. 86th minute – assist. 4 goals for Wyoming in the last 17 minutes, and Alisha Bass was involved in three of them.

Southeast Missouri State (Jenna Collingridge, Maddy Cornell, Bridget Sankey)

This week: lost to Austin Peay 1-0, defeated Belmont 1-0

This week saw Southeast Missouri State cop an unexpected poor loss to Austin Peay, before notching a vital mid-table win over Belmont to put a gap between themselves and the chasing pack in the Ohio Valley Conference. The Redhawks had only themselves to blame against Austin Peay – they led the shot count 13-4, but didn’t manage a single strike in the five minutes of overtime that were played between regulation finishing at 0-0 and Austin Peay’s winner with their fourth shot of the game. With that win putting Southeast Missouri State right back amongst the pack, a loss to Belmont would see the Redhawks fall back out of the tournament places. After 85 minutes, it looked as if the game might go to overtime, but Southeast Missouri State managed to find a late goal to get a vital win for the side. Jenna Collingridge started both games, whilst Maddy Cornell came off the bench against Belmont.

Alabama State (Shelbi Vienna-Hallam)

This week’s results: defeated Arkansas-Pine Bluff 7-0, defeated Grambling State 4-0

35 minutes played, three assists. That was the story of Shelbi Vienna-Hallam’s performance against Arkansas-Pine Bluff as Alabama State comprehensively demolished their lowly opponents. Shelbi had assists on the first, third, and fourth goals as the Hornets went up 4-0 inside half an hour, before many of the side’s starters, including Shelbi, were subbed off before or at halftime. Things were almost as good against Grambling State in the side’s second game, as Shelbi knocked in a goal of her own, as well as two more assists to chalk up 7 points for the weekend. Shelbi has teamed up really well with the player considered one of the best in Alabama State’s history, Aaliyah Lewis, as the pair has combined for four straight games – against Grambling State, both of Shelbi’s assists were on goals to Aaliyah, whilst Aaliyah provided the assist for Shelbi’s goal.

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

This week: lost to Loyola Marymount 3-1, lost to Pepperdine 5-0

Pacific once again showed that they can mix it with the best, but once again also showed that a 90 minute performance of that ilk is just out of reach. Pacific were right in the game against Loyola Marymount for the first half, even showing some attacking flair as they notched up 4 shots in the first half, although their opponents tallied 7. A two minute lapse from Pacific in the second half, however, ruined the game for them as Loyola Marymount knocked home goals in the 53rd and 55th minutes, and whilst the Tigers grabbed a goal in the 83rd minute, this was negated by Loyola’s 3rd two minutes later. The first half against Pepperdine was also promising, as it almost mimicked the first half of Pacific’s game against USC a few weeks ago, with the only difference being that Pepperdine managed one first half goal to lead 1-0 at halftime. The score stayed this way until the 75th minute, but 4 goals in ten minutes to the Waves was more than enough proof of the side’s class. Ellie Papalexiou unfortunately didn’t get to play against Loyola Marymount, but did come off the bench for Pepperdine.

Creighton (Anastasia McCleary)

This week’s result: lost to DePaul 2-0

A tough Big East conference slate continued this week for Creighton as they went down 2-0 to nationally ranked DePaul in possibly their toughest match this season. DePaul weren’t given the free reign of the pitch that had been predicted by some, but were still able to tally 12 shots, of which four were on target, with their goals coming in the 38th and 56th minutes. Their defence, however, did a brilliant job of shutting down the Creighton attack, limiting the Bluejays to just two shots. Once again, Anastasia McCleary saw limited minutes, managing just four minutes at the end of the first half and ten minutes at the end of the second half. This appears to have been the modus operandi for the Creighton coach, but five and ten minute stints are just not long enough to let a player get into their groove and show their true worth.

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert)

This week’s result: defeated Northeastern 1-0

Hofstra came into this game looking to reel in undefeated conference leaders Northeastern, and they managed to do just that in a 1-0 win. Northeastern had the better of the play, taking 12 shots to Hofstra’s six, but could only force the Hofstra goalkeeper into a single save, a statistic that would come back to haunt them via the head of Australian freshman Emily Hulbert, whose first career goal via a redirected header in the 65th minute was enough to give Hofstra the win as they held on for the final 25 minutes to secure a vital win which keeps them in the mix for top spot in the Colonial Athletic Association standings.

Nicholls State (Jess Coates)

This week’s result: Game Postponed v Central Arkansas

Unfortunately, there was no game for Jess Coates this week, as the scheduled game against Central Arkansas has been postponed.

Player Of The Year Points:

3: Shelbi Vienna-Hallam (Alabama State)
2: Alisha Bass (Wyoming)
1: Kahlia Hogg (Colorado)

Week 10 Preview

We’re just about hitting the home straight now, with this week signalling the halfway point for most teams’ conference schedules. With automatic bids being the only way most of our Aussies are going to see national tournament play this year, these next few games are quickly becoming vital.

UMBC (Lilly Rydon)

This week: at New Hampshire – 10am, Friday October 10; v Maine – 4am, Monday October 13

The expected dominance of UMBC in America East this season failed to materialise in the side’s first two games of the season, but they have more than a chance to get things back on track this weekend against New Hampshire and Maine. New Hampshire will not be an easy side to take care of, however, as they defeated the same Vermont side that beat UMBC last week, whilst Maine have been the Juventus of New England, with all three of their wins coming in 1-0 matches. Maine have made a habit of keeping score lines low in most of their games, meaning Lilly Rydon will have the task of breaking down the Black Bears’ defence and also preventing counter attacks from starting out of the Maine back line.

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)

This week: v Morehead State – 7am, Saturday October 11; v Eastern Kentucky – 5am, Monday October 13

After going down 2-1 twice last week, including to fellow Aussie-laden side Southeast Missouri State, Murray State come up against conference leaders Morehead State before facing off against Eastern Kentucky in a pair of in-state conference battles. Morehead State have been in cracking form so far this year, racking up 8 wins and 4 draws in their 14 games. In Murray State’s favour is the disparity in Morehead State’s records at home and on the road – they are 6-0-0 at home, and 2-2-4 away. Eastern Kentucky appear on paper to be a less daunting proposition, but Murray State will still need to be wary of a side that has managed to get their shooting boots on recently after a dismal four game scoreless streak. Nyomi Devine and Harriet Withers have been alternating between the bench and starting recently, but expect both players to see game time in both games this week.

Colorado (Kahlia Hogg, Alexandra Huynh)

This week: at Oregon State – 8am, Saturday October 11; at Oregon – 7am, Monday October 13

Deep in the fight for an at-large bid, Colorado did their chances no harm with their win over USC last week, and this week they take on Oregon State and Oregon in a couple of games that could really set the Buffaloes up for the rest of the year. First up, Oregon State, who are surprisingly poor for a Pac-12 side this season, ranked sub-200 in RPI. Therefore, this match is one that Colorado really need to make sure they win as failing to pick up the result in this one could be a real resume-killer, as it would be Oregon State’s FIRST win of the season. On the flip side, Colorado’s game against Oregon can be one that sets them apart from their rivals for an at-large bid; Oregon are probably just out of the running for an at-large bid of their own, but sitting in a solid enough position that a win against them is valuable. The Buffaloes would have to fancy themselves in this one; Oregon are sitting half a game ahead of Colorado in the Pac-12 standings, but Colorado have played California, USC, and UCLA, whilst Oregon have played some of the less fancied sides in the league. Alexandra Huynh is still out through injury, but Kahlia Hogg will almost certainly take up her starting spot in the front line as usual.

Wyoming (Alisha Bass, Georgia Rowntree, Candace Sciberras)

This week: v Colorado College – 8am, Saturday October 11; v Air Force – 6am, Monday October 13

Wyoming welcome two teams from across the state line to Laramie this week as the teams immediately behind them in the Mountain West standings try to get the jump on the Cowgirls. First up are conference newcomers Colorado College, who have gone 2-1-1 in their first 4 league games. There is little to pick between these two teams – Colorado College may be the favourites on a neutral field, but with Wyoming at home, this really looks like a toss-up. Air Force are also 2-1-1 in league play, but this represents more of a turnaround in form than a continuation; their record outside league play is 3-4-0. This weekend should see Wyoming pick up at least one win, and two would not be out of the question, especially if the likes of Alisha Bass and Candace Sciberras continue the attacking prowess they conjured up last week.

Southeast Missouri State (Jenna Collingridge, Maddy Cornell, Bridget Sankey)

This week: v Austin Peay – 10:30am, Saturday October 11; at Belmont – 6am, Monday October 13

Fresh off their victory in the Aussie derby against Murray State, Southeast Missouri State look to improve on their current league standing in two very winnable matches this week. First up are Austin Peay, who sit down in 304th position (of 332) in the Division I RPI with just two wins. Southeast Missouri State, on the other hand, have two wins in conference play already, and five for the season. Austin Peay haven’t had trouble scoring lately, with goals in each of their last 4 games, but in three of those, they’ve conceded even more, and Southeast Missouri State should be able to register a win in this one. Belmont, however, will be a tougher test. With these two sides considered approximately equal, this match could be a large factor in deciding which of these teams finishes higher in the Ohio Valley standings. Belmont have somehow put together a 4-3-4 record, with the side seemingly oblivious to the idea of overtime goals. Southeast Missouri State’s cause may be aided by the fact that Belmont play league leaders SIU Edwardsville two days prior to this fixture. Jenna Collingridge set up a goal last week for Southeast Missouri State, and hopefully she can continue her recent good form, whilst Maddy Cornell continues to provide solid support off the bench for the Redhawks.

Alabama State (Shelbi Vienna-Hallam)

This week: v Arkansas-Pine Bluff – 11am, Saturday October 11; v Grambling State – 5am, Monday October 13

It hasn’t been the start Alabama State were hoping for, but they have their best chance yet to get things back on track as they take on Arkansas-Pine Bluff in their first match of the weekend before facing winless Grambling State on Monday morning. Arkansas Pine-Bluff have been called one of the poorest Div I college sides in recent years, with their sole win this season being against a small college side, whilst Grambling State remain winless, but they haven’t played a small college side. Alabama State definitely have the class in their ranks to put together a winning run, and should easily be able to account for UAPB and Grambling State, especially since Shelbi Vienna-Hallam’s move up front which has seen her combine superbly with record breaking striker Aaliyah Lewis in recent games. However, this move comes at a price, with the Hornets defence having suffered slightly in recent weeks. Still, Alabama State know they need the win and this hunger should see them make sure they take care of both of these games.

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

This week: v Loyola Marymount – 1pm, Saturday October 11; v Pepperdine – 7am, Monday October 13

Pacific have struggled slightly since returning to the West Coast Conference from the Big West, and things aren’t poised to get any easier this week. Whilst the game against Loyola Marymount might give the Tigers a chance at victory, the second game of the weekend, against nationally ranked Pepperdine, will be possibly Pacific’s toughest game of the season. Much better teams than Pacific have come and gone without a result against Pepperdine, who are 11-1-1 this season. If Pacific can somehow put together a performance like their first half against USC, where they kept the top 15 Trojans scoreless for a half, then they might be able to somehow pull a result out of this weekend.

Creighton (Anastasia McCleary)

This week: at DePaul – 7am, Sunday October 12

Just the one game this week for Creighton, but it’s the toughest one they’ll play all year in the regular season, taking on the still undefeated DePaul side away. DePaul are favourites for the Big East title alongside the Georgetown team they drew with earlier in the season, and whilst Creighton have 9 wins of their own this season, DePaul have faced a much tougher schedule. Expect this to be a high scoring match, with both teams able to score goals fairly freely, although DePaul’s defence has also been strong and may have a bit to say about that.

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert)

This week: v Northeastern – 7:30am, Sunday October 12

Hofstra’s start to the conference season hasn’t been the smooth ride that many were expecting, however they still sit in fifth position in the Colonial Athletic Association standings. Next up, a home game against Northeastern, who currently sit atop the conference with a 3-0-0 record in league play. Northeastern, however, have faced the two lowest teams in the league in their first three games, so this standing may be a bit misleading. Hofstra would still have to be considered slight favourites, especially at home, and a win would really shake things up in the Colonial league. Emily Hulbert has been solid in defence all season for Hofstra, and may well turn out to be one of the finds of the year. Expect her to once again start in defence and play the majority of minutes.

Nicholls State (Jess Coates)

This week: v Central Arkansas – 4am, Monday October 13

This week for Jess Coates and Nicholls State was meant to start with an Aussie v Aussie matchup against Simone Arthur’s Southern side, however two things conspired against that. First, Simone was ruled out for the season. Then the game was cancelled anyway. No reason has been given for the cancellation. Therefore, the Colonels’ only game of the week comes against conference foes Central Arkansas. Nicholls State need a win in this game to keep pace with the conference leaders, but Central Arkansas will be just as hungry for the win to get back in the hunt for a high seed in the conference tournament, something that would become almost impossible if they lost this game. Nicholls State’s goalscoring prowess has been well documented, but even they haven’t put ten goals past a side, which Central Arkansas did against Mississippi Valley State. Nonetheless, this will most probably prove to be a tight fixture that Nicholls State just manages to edge.

Week 9 Wrap

UMBC (Lilly Rydon)

This week: lost to Vermont 2-1, tied with Stony Brook 1-1 (2OT)

An unexpectedly tough week for UMBC this week, as the conference favourites stuttered their way through two games to end with a loss and a draw. Vermont had managed just 2 wins so far this season, but that mattered little as they opened the scoring 23 minutes in, before adding a second 12 minutes after halftime. Aussie senior Lilly Rydon scored a late goal for UMBC, but it proved to be no more than a consolation as the Retrievers were unable to find a second goal which would have sent the game into overtime. Stony Brook also came into this week with just two wins under their belt, but also battled hard, with the sides going into the break tied 0-0. UMBC were able to break the deadlock nine minutes after the interval, but Stony Brook hit back quickly, tallying an equaliser just 4 minutes later. Lilly Rydon also started in this game, and tallied a shot but was not involved in UMBC’s goal.

Creighton (Anastasia McCleary)

This week: defeated Providence 2-1 (2OT), tied with Seton Hall 1-1 (2OT)

Two overtime games for Creighton this week, and whilst the Bluejays won the tougher game against Providence, they left a potential win on the field against Seton Hall in a 1-1 tie. The Providence game saw Creighton go 1-0 down in the 35th minute, but managed to win a penalty literally 30 seconds later, which was converted to make the game 1-1, which is how it stayed until the 106th minute, when Creighton managed to tally the winner to seal the upset. The Seton Hall game was notable mainly for a crazy five minute period early in the second half. After the sides failed to tally a goal throughout the first half, a 54th minute penalty saw Seton Hall take the lead. Just four minutes later, however, Creighton won a penalty of their own which was duly converted to tie things up. Despite the sides combining for THIRTY-TWO shots over the 110 minutes of play, these two penalties remained the only goals of the game. Anastasia McCleary played 14 minutes off the bench against Seton Hall, but the Creighton coach’s unwillingness to use substitutes saw Anastasia (along with most of the substitute players) miss out on playing time against Providence.

Wyoming (Alisha Bass, Georgia Rowntree, Candace Sciberras)

This week: lost to Utah State 2-0, defeated Boise State 1-0 (2OT)

A mixed week for Wyoming, but with three wins from four games in conference play, it’s hardly time for panic to set in. The Utah State game saw Georgia Rowntree and Alisha Bass once again start for the Cowgirls, but Rowntree was forced off after half an hour after appearing to roll her ankle. Utah State scored 11 minutes later from a free kick, and then 3 minutes after the break added a second, a deficit from which Wyoming were unable to come back. Rowntree sat out the game against Boise State, but Alisha Bass and Candace Sciberras started, with both players creating numerous chances, tallying four and five shots respectively. Despite Wyoming’s dominance of play, it took 19 shots and 104 minutes before Kaitlyn Lomsnes knocked home a parry from the goalkeeper to give Wyoming the win.

Southern (Simone Arthur)

This week: defeated Alcorn State 3-0, tied with Mississippi Valley State 0-0 (2OT)

Southern remain undefeated after this week, but the record is no longer perfect as a plucky Mississippi Valley State side held out the more fancied Jaguars for 110 minutes for a 0-0 draw. The match against Alcorn State was a much easier affair, with a 3rd minute goal getting things off to a great start, before a second ten minutes before the break put Southern firmly in command. The Jaguars then rounded out the win with a goal shortly before full-time for a 3-0 victory. Unfortunately, Simone Arthur has been ruled out for the season, and with this being her senior year, this signals an end to her college career.

Colorado (Kahlia Hogg, Alexandra Huynh)

This week: defeated USC 1-0, lost to UCLA 1-0

When you’ve been pretty much written off in the weekend’s games, any result is better than no result, and Colorado managed to come away with a win and a loss in two fixtures in which they looked, on paper, to be fairly outmatched. With Alexandra Huynh out through injury, the Colorado defence was a little leakier than usual, allowing USC 19 shots, but the Trojans forced Colorado goalkeeper Kate Scheele into just four saves. This could possibly be chalked up to the pressure applied by Colorado – they had USC chasing the game from the fifth minute after Madison Krauser’s early goal, and that goal proved to be enough. Considering the result against USC, you could argue that Colorado did enough to win against top-ranked UCLA – they managed 7 shots and allowed UCLA only 9, and both teams had 3 shots on target. Allowing Sam Mewis to shoot, however, is never a smart idea, and it was one of her three, in the 64th minute, that saw the deadlock broken to give UCLA a 1-0 win. Kahlia Hogg started up front in both games for Colorado, playing around 75 minutes in each game.

Nicholls State (Jess Coates)

This week: defeated Lamar 2-0

A win in their sole game of the weekend saw Nicholls State move to 3-2 in conference play and get their season back on track after an inconsistent start to the league schedule. The Colonels were always going to be favoured in this game against Lamar, and the Cardinals didn’t help their slim chances when they conceded an own goal on the half-hour mark, which proved to be the only goal of the first half. 9 minutes after halftime, the international pairing of Norway’s Emily Werenskiold and our own Jess Coates combined, with Werenskiold teeing up Coates, who slotted the ball home for Nicholls State’s second, which proved to be two too many for Lamar. Jess started for Nicholls State, and her goal was one of five shots, of which two were on target.

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert)

This week: lost to James Madison 3-1, defeated Towson 1-0

Another loss for Hofstra in their Friday game this week threatened to derail the Pride’s season, but they got things back on track on Sunday, managing to grind out a 1-0 win over Towson. Hofstra took the lead early against James Madison, scoring just 6 minutes into the match, but the Dukes were unfazed by going down 1-0 early, and equalised on the half-hour mark. James Madison didn’t let up in the second half either, notching another pair to go home with the win. The Towson match was a different event entirely – Hofstra took 19 shots but it was all academic after Sam Scolarici’s 5th minute opener – Towson weren’t unable to get even one shot on target throughout the match, so despite Hofstra’s inability to turn their attacking dominance into goals, they were never in danger of losing their lead. Emily Hulbert started both games and played a majority of minutes in each, moving back to her regular position in defence after a stint in midfield in the last couple of weeks.

Southeast Missouri State (Jenna Collingridge, Maddy Cornell, Bridget Sankey)

This week: lost to Tennessee-Martin 2-1, defeated Murray State 2-1

A week of 2-1 games for the Redhawks this week, with the results going in opposite directions. Southeast Missouri State weren’t expected to pull out a win over Tennessee-Martin, but they looked all but certain of getting a draw after cancelling out Tennessee-Martin’s 76th minute opener with an 85th minute equaliser. Football can be a strange sport at times, however, and Tennessee-Martin were able to score with just two minutes remaining to clinch the victory. Jenna Collingridge proved to be top of the five-Aussie pile in the match against Murray State, as she notched an assist on Southeast Missouri State’s opening goal, delivering a corner that would be headed in by Kasey Crowden. Murray State managed an equaliser, but the Redhawks managed to grab the lead with 11 minutes to go and hang on. As well as Jenna Collingridge’s efforts in the second game, she also started against Tennessee-Martin, whilst Maddy Cornell came off the bench against Murray State.

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)

This week: lost to SIU Edwardsville 2-1 (2OT), lost to Southeast Missouri State 2-1

Two losses this week for Murray State saw them fall back to .500 in conference play, as a tight match against league leaders SIU Edwardsville ended in a heartbreaking overtime loss before going down in the Aussie v Aussie matchup against Southeast Missouri State. The first game of the weekend saw SIU Edwardsville go up just 6 minutes in, before Murray State nabbed an equaliser shortly before the hour mark. With Nyomi Devine returning to her starting spot, the defence was able to hold SIU Edwardsville out until just six minutes before the end of overtime, when the home side nabbed a winner. The game against Southeast Missouri State once again saw the Racers go down early, just 3 minutes in this time, and again clawing back to equalise, on this occasion ten minutes before halftime. Harriet Withers came off the bench to tally two shots, both on target, but couldn’t grab a winner and in the end it was Southeast Missouri State who did get a winner, 12 minutes before the end.

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

This week: lost to Portland 3-0, lost to Gonzaga 1-0

A trip north this week for Pacific ended in two losses in two admittedly stern tests for the Tigers. First up against Portland, the Tigers were on the back foot early as the home side scored after 17 minutes, but Pacific battled to keep the score 1-0 at halftime. Portland kicked ahead in the 59th minute with their second, and rounded out the win on 73 minutes with a third to put the game to bed. The Gonzaga game was a case of one side having so many chances that eventually one had to go in, and in this case it was Gonzaga who had 18 shots, and managed to nab the only goal of the game on the hour mark despite forcing the Pacific goalkeeper into 7 saves. Ellie Papalexiou came off the bench against Portland, but unfortunately didn’t get to play against Gonzaga.

Alabama State (Shelbi Vienna-Hallam)

This week: lost to Howard 3-2

Alabama State’s tough start to the season continued this week as the Hornets went down 3-2 in a tight contest. Alabama State took the lead after just five minutes through Aaliyah Lewis, with Australian Shelbi-Vienna Hallam providing the assist. Howard hit back with two goals in a six minute span either side of the 20 minute mark, before Lewis popped up again with the equaliser on 28 minutes in a crazy start to the game. Things then slowed right down, with no scoring from either side until, just 4 minutes before the end, a Howard player chipped a shot in to make the score 3-2, which it would remain until the final whistle.

Player Of The Year Points:

3: Jess Coates (Nicholls State)
2: Lilly Rydon (UMBC)
1: Shelbi Vienna-Hallam (Alabama State)