Summer Soccer Update #2

A mixed week for the offseason Aussies this week, with some solid wins offset by some unfortunately-timed losses.

First up, our American-based players. Anastasia McCleary made her debut for Issaquah in a 1-0 win over THUSC Diamonds that Anastasia herself admitted could have been a bigger win if not for the side’s profligacy in attack. Moving south down the west coast, Colorado Rush played out a 2-2 draw at Bay Area Breeze, but unfortunately Kahlia Hogg did not play for the Rush.

Back in Australia, Candace Sciberras and Alexandra Huynh were part of Marconi’s 2-1 win over Blacktown Spartans in NPLNSW Women’s 1, with Candace scoring the opening goal. Georgia Rowntree and Sydney Uni were not so fortunate, however, going down 3-2 to Northbridge.  The weekend’s results leave Sydney Uni in 3rd place, six behind second placed Manly, whilst Marconi move up one position in to 8th.

There was more bad news in NPLNSW2, with Maddy Cornell and Southern Branch going down 1-0 to Sydney Olympic. This result leaves Southern Branch in 6th place, but only 4 points off 3rd and 6 points off 2nd place. With only 9 of 21 games played, Southern Branch can still easily make a move up the table.

In Queensland, Ellie Papalexiou and Palm Beach found two top-of-the-table clashes in a week to be a bridge too far, going down 4-2 to The Gap. The result means that Palm Beach are now relying on The Gap to slip up, as Palm Beach remain one point ahead but have only two games to play whereas The Gap have three to play.

Coming up this week (all dates local):

Colorado Rush (Kahlia Hogg) v Colorado Pride, June 4
Issaquah (Anastasia McCleary) v THUSC Diamonds, June 5
Issaquah (Anastasia McCleary) v Eugene Timbers FC Azul, June 6
Sydney Uni (Georgia Rowntree) v Marconi (Alex Huynh, Candace Sciberras) v June 8
Southern Branch (Maddy Cornell) v Sutherland Shire, June 8
Issaquah (Anastasia McCleary) v Fuerza FC, June 9

The most intriguing game of the week is obviously the Sydney Uni v Marconi game. If Rowntree gets the start in goal for Sydney Uni, Candace and Georgia will be fighting it out for not only 3 points, but bragging rights when they get back to Wyoming (or just get to Wyoming in Georgia’s case!). No game for Ellie Papalexiou and Palm Beach this weekend; the SEQWPL appears to be taking a break for the Queen’s Birthday Holiday long weekend.

Alabama State’s McCleary Makes Creighton Move

The Australian contingent at Alabama State has been halved, with All-SWAC sophomore Anastasia McCleary today confirming her transfer to Creighton for her final two years of college. McCleary, currently playing club soccer with Issaquah in the WPSL, made clear her intention to transfer several months ago, and today announced her choice of destination.

McCleary had been one of the top players in both the Alabama State side and the entire SWAC from the moment she stepped on the field for the Hornets, picking up the SWAC Freshman Of The Year, and being named to the All-SWAC First Team in her first season with the Hornets. This was then followed up by another All-SWAC First Team selection in her sophomore year. In her two seasons in Montgomery, Anastasia played 38 games, making 33 starts, tallying 8 goals and 13 assists, with 3 game winning goals.

The move to Creighton sees Anastasia moving to one of the premier conferences in college sports, the Big East. This will no doubt provide Anastasia with a much tougher challenge on the field than she would have experienced in the SWAC, but one that she will definitely be up for. Creighton have only recently moved into a power conference, having been based in in the Missouri Valley Conference until 2012, so there are some definite parallels between McCleary and the side itself with regards to making jumps to bigger challenges.

College Matildas would like to wish Anastasia the best of luck with the transfer, and congratulations on becoming a Bluejay!

Summer Soccer Update #1

More of a winter soccer update this week, as the US-based players wait until this weekend to play, whilst the Australian-based players got on with playing over the last week.

Georgia Rowntree and Sydney University had two games over the weekend – firstly on Saturday against the Football NSW Institute, then on Sunday against Blacktown Spartans. Uni went down 2-1 to the Institute youngsters, but managed a win against Blacktown, notching up a 2-0 victory.

Staying in NPLNSW Women’s 1, Alex Huynh and Marconi played a part in what was the game of the week in the state’s premier league, with the Stallions going up 2-0 by halftime, Alex getting amongst the goals with a free kick. However, the second half saw the Macarthur Rams came storming back to win 3-2 courtesy of goals from W-League players Amy Harrison, Renee Rollason, and Georgia Yeoman-Dale. Despite the loss, Marconi remain the only team to take points off the league-leading Rams, and also the only team to really test the side.

Moving on to NPLNSW Women’s 2, and it was an unfortunate case of feeling the sting of revenge for Maddy Cornell and Southern Branch, who went down 1-0 to the same Northern Tigers side that Maddy scored 2 goals against as part of a 6-0 victory earlier in the season.

Up in Queensland, Ellie Papalexiou and Palm Beach demolished University of Queensland in the second half of their top of the table clash, claiming a 4-1 victory after being 1-0 down at halftime. Palm Beach backed up on Monday, taking on the touring College of William and Mary, but unfortunately went down 3-0 to the Tribe. With several other Palm Beach players potentially lined up to play in college, this game will have been a great experience for both Ellie and her teammates.

This weekend sees the US-based players on the field, with Kahlia Hogg and Colorado Rush taking on Bay Area Breeze on Saturday morning (AEST), whilst Anastasia McCleary and Issaquah take on THUSC Diamonds on Sunday morning (AEST).

Closer to home, Ellie Papalexiou and Palm Beach take on The Gap in yet another top of the table clash, as The Gap jumped UQ over the weekend. A win for Palm Beach will put them within 3 points of winning the Southeast Queensland Women’s Premier League title, whilst a loss would see The Gap able to jump Palm Beach, as they have a game in hand.

In NPLNSW Women’s 1, Alex Huynh and Marconi have the opportunity to jump Blacktown Spartans and into 7th place, and could rise 3 places to 5th if other results go their way. Meanwhile, Georgia Rowntree and 3rd placed Sydney Uni face a tricky match as they welcome 6th placed Northbridge FC.

Finally, in NPLNSW Women’s 2, Maddy Cornell and Southern Branch could jump from their current position of 5th into a share of second place, but will have to overcome a long trip to Sydney to play Sydney Olympic. The two sides are separated only by goal difference at the moment, so this should be a very tight match.

Good luck to all the players, and a special congratulations to Anastasia McCleary, who is set to make her WPSL debut this weekend.

Summer Soccer Preview

As the college season only runs from August to November, many players play club soccer when not with their college teams. This off-season, several current College Matildas are playing club soccer at one place or another. Currently, two are at clubs in the US, whilst one is playing back in Australia.

In the US, Kahlia Hogg is playing for Colorado Rush in the USL W-League. This is Kahlia’s second stint in the W-League, after previously playing for Pali Blues. The Rush kicked off their season on May 19, winning 8-0 against local rivals Colorado Storm, with Kahlia picking up 2 goals and 2 assists in a demolition job. Tougher games are sure to come for the Rush, though, with teams such as Seattle Sounders Women and LA Blues (a merger of Pali Blues and LA Strikers) sure to provide much sterner tests in a stacked W-League Western Conference. The Rush’s next game, however, will be away to the Bay Area Breeze of northern California.

Further north, Anastasia McCleary has joined Issaquah Soccer Club of Seattle in the WPSL. Issaquah are an interesting club as they serve as the reserve team for the Seattle Reign of the NWSL, who currently lead the league. Of course, college eligibility rules mean Anastasia can’t actually play for the Reign first team, but she will be playing alongside many players in the Reign system. Issaquah’s WPSL campaign kicks off on May 31 at home to THUSC Diamonds, with the team playing 10 games in about 6 weeks before conference and then national playoffs. Issaquah qualified for the playoffs last season by topping their division, and will be hoping to do the same this year.

Closer to home, Kahlia Hogg’s Colorado teammate, Alexandra Huynh, will be spending her off-season playing for Marconi Stallions of the National Premier Leagues NSW Women’s 1. Alexandra already played in the side’s midweek exhibition game against a touring College of William and Mary side, and if she plays this weekend, will come up against a Macarthur Rams side that has only dropped points in one game this season; ironically, a draw against Marconi Stallions.

There are also three future College Matildas playing club soccer as they prepare for the move to the US. Georgia Rowntree is playing for Sydney University, and may yet come up against Alexandra Huynh as both sides play in NPLNSW Women’s 1. In NPLNSW Women’s 2, Maddy Cornell is starring on the left side for a Southern Branch side sitting in 3rd, just one point off second place. Meanwhile, north of the Tweed, Ellie Papalexiou is playing an instrumental role at both left back and left wing for Palm Beach, who currently lead the South-East Queensland Women’s Premier League. Palm Beach come up against University of Queensland this weekend in a top of the table clash. A win for Palm Beach will put them 4 points clear at the top of the table with 3 rounds to play, whilst a loss could see them drop to 3rd once other teams play their games in hand.

Good luck to all of our players this week! We’ll be back next week with all the results and a preview of upcoming games.

Mahoney Makes Div II Switch

Wyoming junior Loren Mahoney will not be seeing out her college career in Laramie, choosing instead to transfer to Division II school University of Mary in North Dakota. Citing injuries and a desire to play out a final season in a less stressful environment, Loren has decided to make the move to Division II in an effort to play her final season of college soccer in a more relaxed atmosphere and also play in her more favoured position further up field, rather than the backline position that she has generally played at Wyoming.

Loren came to Wyoming after playing in the W-League for Sydney FC, Newcastle Jets, and Adelaide United, and played 49 games (39 starts) for the Cowgirls, scoring 5 goals, despite playing in defence in the majority of games. Loren was also named Mountain West Academic All-Conference in all 3 years at Wyoming. College Matildas would like to congratulate Loren on her career at Wyoming and wish her the best of luck on the move to University of Mary.

Ellie Papalexiou Signs With University Of The Pacific

Gold Coast teenager Ellie Papalexiou has brought the total of Australians in NCAA Division I women’s soccer to 16, signing with University of the Pacific in Stockton, California. Ellie becomes the fourth new addition to the Australian contingent, and is also the first new player to join a team that does not already contain an Australian. A left back with NPL Queensland experience at the U/18 level with Palm Beach Football Club, Ellie managed to tally eight goals last season to complement her defensive prowess. Pacific coach Keith Coleman is quoted as being excited to add Ellie to the Tigers’ program as they attempt to improve on last season’s lacklustre 4-12-3 record.

With Pacific playing in the West Coast Conference, Ellie will be afforded the opportunity to play against two of the real heavyweights in college women’s soccer in the form of Portland and Santa Clara. Portland was the college home of players such as Christine Sinclair, Megan Rapinoe, and Tiffeny Milbrett, whilst Santa Clara had two players drafted in the first 12 picks of the 2014 NWSL Draft, including US women’s national team member Julie Johnston. These teams shared the WCC title along with Brigham Young University last season, and strong performances by Ellie against teams such as these could really make people sit up and take notice of the young Queenslander.

Ellie Papalexiou Profile

Hometown: Elanora, Queensland (Gold Coast)
Position: Defender
Year: Freshman
Previous Club: Palm Beach FC (NPL Queensland)

Redhawks Make It An Aussie Trio With Cornell Signing

With two Aussies already on the books, Southeast Missouri State have turned the duo of Bridget Sankey and Jenna Collingridge into a trio, adding Shoalhaven utility player Maddy Cornell to their squad for next season. Cornell, who has the ability to play in defence, midfield, or up front, has previous experience in the US, touring with the NSW Under 17s side in 2011 to San Diego.

Regarding Cornell’s signing, Southeast Missouri State coach Heather Nelson outlined the importance of Cornell’s versatility, with her footballing IQ allowing her to seamlessly integrate into a team in whichever position she is chosen. Looking at the Redhawks’ recruiting class, there appears to be more chance for Maddy to play in a more advanced role, with 3 other defenders amongst the class of 6.

A video showcasing Cornell’s talents is available here.

Maddy Cornell Profile

Hometown: Callala Bay, NSW
Date Of Birth: October 3, 1995
Position: Utility
Previous Club: Southern Branch