2017 Week 1 Preview

Preseason is in the books and it’s time for the 2017 NCAA Division I women’s soccer season to commence. All bar one team featuring Australians kicks off their season this week, with Priya Gakhar forced to wait until next week to make her official debut for Grambling State. There will also be two Aussie v Aussie matchups on the opening weekend, adding a bit of extra spice to the occasion.

Stanford come into the 2017 season as one of the favourites to secure a national title, and kick off their campaign with a tough away trip to face Marquette and Wisconsin, both Top 50 RPI teams in 2016. Two wins here would be a great start to the season for the Cardinal, but from an Australian perspective it will be fascinating to see if Beattie Goad slots in at fullback or in a more attacking role out wide, and also which side of the field the sophomore plays on. Meanwhile, fellow Pac-12 powerhouse UCLA and their Australian goalkeeper, Teagan Micah, will stay closer to home, taking on San Diego State and Long Beach State in their opening two games. Micah was one of the Bruins’ stars in her freshman year, but with US Under 17 national team goalkeeper Lauren Brzykcy joining the squad, it will be fascinating to watch how coach Amanda Cromwell splits playing time between the pair, as well as senior Siri Ervik, who served as backup to Micah in 2016.

Hofstra have doubled their number of Aussies with Monique Iannella transferring from Texas to join fellow Victorian Emily Hulbert at the Pride. The Long Island-based team start their season with a trip to Pittsburgh before taking on Penn State for the third consecutive season. The Pride have lost both of the previous two fixtures against the Nittany Lions, and things don’t stand to get any easier against a stacked Penn State side that is expected to run roughshod over most of the Big Ten this season. Look for a fully fit Emily Hulbert to make her mark on things after last season’s interrupted campaign, whilst Monique Iannella’s involvement will also be watched closely as the senior looks to make an immediate impact for Hofstra.

Two Aussie v Aussie matchups will make for a double delight for fans, as Sandra Hill and Grand Canyon take on Demi Koulizakis and Texas Tech, whilst Claire Urquhart and Albany take on Gaby Bentley and Old Dominion. The game against Texas Tech will be Hill’s official college debut, whilst Koulizakis will be looking to begin her transformation from impact bench player to regular starter. Meanwhile, Urquhart and Bentley will both want to increase their playing time after only seeing scarce minutes in 2016.

Five more freshmen will also potentially be given the chance to make their debuts this week. W-League trio Claudia Jenkins, Lorena Bugden, and Olivia Ellis, as well as Tenille Harberger and Lauren Featherstone could all see their opening minutes of NCAA Division I playing time across the weekend. Meanwhile, junior college transfer Jemma House will be hoping to continue her goalscoring exploits for Wyoming as the Cowgirls take on Baylor in their only game of the weekend.

Speaking of Wyoming, their remaining four Australians have solidified their places as vital cogs in the Cowgirls’ team. Alisha Bass is one of the stars of the Mountain West Conference, whilst Georgia Rowntree is coming off an outstanding season between the sticks. Annika Clayton was outstanding in an interrupted campaign in 2016, whilst Jessie Gentle has been solid wherever she has been used throughout the season, and all four will surely play a part in Wyoming’s campaign. A win against Baylor would certainly provide a massive boost to the Cowgirls’ resume this season.

Full Schedule:

(All game times are in Sydney time)

Albany (Claire Urquhart)

This week: at Old Dominion – 8am, Monday August 21

Central Connecticut State (Lauren Featherstone)

This week: at Massachusetts – 6am, Saturday August 19

Colorado (Isobel Dalton)

This week: at Colorado State – 9am, Saturday August 19; v Colorado College – 7:30am, Monday August 21

Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)

This week: at Maryland – 9am, Saturday August 19; v Quinnipiac – 9am, Tuesday August 22

East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson)

This week: v South Carolina State – 9am, Saturday August 19; v Tennessee Tech – 9am, Monday August 21

Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)

This week: v Temple – 9am, Saturday August 19; v Hartford – 2am, Monday August 21

Grand Canyon (Sandra Hill)

This week: v Texas Tech – 8am, Saturday August 19; v New Mexico – 2:30am, Monday August 21

Hawaii (Kiri Dale)

This week: v Utah Valley – 3pm, Saturday August 19; v Fairfield – 1pm, Monday August 21

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert, Monique Iannella)

This week: at Pittsburgh – 9am, Saturday August 19; at Penn State – 3am, Monday August 21

La Salle (Claudia Jenkins)

This week: v St. John’s – 9am, Saturday August 19; at Temple – 3am, Monday August 21

LSU (Caitlin Cantrill)

This week: v Mississippi Valley State – 9am, Saturday August 19; at Colgate – 9am, Monday August 21

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)

This week: v Marshall – 5am, Monday August 21

Nicholls State (Tenille Harberger, Kristy Helmers)

This week: at Southern Miss – 7am, Saturday August 19; v Mississippi Valley State – 4am, Monday August 21

Old Dominion (Gaby Bentley)

This week: v George Mason – 9am, Saturday August 19; v Albany – 8am, Monday August 21

Oregon State (Olivia Ellis)

This week: v Kansas State – 12pm, Saturday August 19; at Seattle – 12pm, Monday August 21

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

This week: v Fresno State – 12pm, Saturday August 19; at Cal State Northridge – 7am, Monday August 21

Saint Francis (Shelby Milton)

This week: at Miami (FL) – 9am, Saturday August 19; at Florida Atlantic – 3am, Monday August 21

Southeast Missouri State (Maddy Cornell)

This week: at Evansville – 10am, Saturday August 19; v Illinois-Springfield – 9:30am, Monday August 21

Stanford (Beattie Goad)

This week: at Marquette – 10:30am, Saturday August 19; at Wisconsin – 8am, Monday August 21

Texas Southern (Paige Hayward)

This week: at Houston – 10am, Saturday August 19; v St Thomas – 9am, Monday August 21

Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis)

This week: v Grand Canyon – 8am, Saturday August 19; v San Francisco – 5am, Monday August 21

UCLA (Teagan Micah)

This week: v San Diego State – 12pm, Saturday August 19; at Long Beach State – 12pm, Monday August 21

Western Carolina (Kate Swartwout)

This week: v Morehead State – 9am, Saturday August 19

William & Mary (Lorena Bugden)

This week: v Providence – 6:30am, Saturday August 19; v Boston College – 1:30am, Monday August 21

Wyoming (Alisha Bass, Annika Clayton, Jessie Gentle, Jemma House, Georgia Rowntree)

This week: at Baylor – 9am, Monday August 21

2017 Player Previews

34 players will represent Australia in NCAA Division I women’s soccer this year, down one from 2016. With players spread as far north as New York and Connecticut all the way to Los Angeles and even Hawaii, you’re never far from a College Matilda if you’re in the US, and we take a look at each and every one of them in this comprehensive preview.

Claire Urquhart (Junior, Midfielder, Albany, Brisbane)

Claire Urquhart has had an interesting, albeit possibly frustrating, college career at Albany to this point. In each of her first two seasons, the Queenslander was afforded a couple of starts early in the campaign, but was then rarely seen throughout the remainder of the schedule. With previous coach Caitlin Cucchiella stepping down from college coaching altogether, a new coach may allow Urquhart more playing time as she heads into her penultimate college season. With just six natural defenders on the roster, and two of those being freshmen, Urquhart may even be thrown in the deep end from the outset as she becomes one of the more senior members of the defensive corps.

Lauren Featherstone (Freshman, Midfielder, Central Connecticut State, Sydney)

Following the likes of Erin Herd, Nikola Deiter and Leah Blayney, Lauren Featherstone continues the pathway between Australia and Central Connecticut State, joining as a freshman in 2017. An Australian Schoolgirls representative, Featherstone is a product of the Macarthur Rams program, one of the most successful NPL programs in New South Wales over recent years. Adept at fullback or in midfield, Featherstone’s versatility will no doubt serve her well as she looks to settle into the lineup at Central Connecticut State in her freshman year.

Isobel Dalton (Junior, Midfielder, Colorado, Caloundra)

dalton-and-micah
Isobel Dalton and Teagan Micah will again face off in Pac-12 play.

The lone remaining Australian at Colorado following Kahlia Hogg’s graduation, Isobel Dalton comes into her second season with the Buffaloes looking to make more of an impact than in her initial campaign. The former Brisbane Roar midfielder featured in seven matches in 2016, but averaged only 11 minutes per contest as the likes of star freshman Taylor Kornieck saw most of the available minutes not already allocated to the previous year’s starters. However, with minutes in midfield opening up following the graduation of a number of starters, Dalton will have a chance to fight for increased playing time in 2017.

Emma Heckenberg (Junior, Midfielder, Drexel, Melbourne)

A move from the frontline into a deeper position worked wonders for Emma Heckenberg in her sophomore season in 2016, with a spectacular transformation from fringe player to vital part of a Drexel side that reached the Colonial Athletic Association championship game before going down 3-0 to Northeastern. Heckenberg played in 19 of the Dragons’ 20 games, starting on 13 occasions. This allowed the Victorian to increase her playing time from a paltry 246 minutes in 2015 to a comparatively mind-boggling 1378 minutes in 2016. With the Dragons losing a couple of major pieces but returning even more, continuity may be key to another deep conference tournament run, with Heckenberg seemingly vital to these chances.

Isabel Hodgson (Junior, Midfielder, East Tennessee State, Adelaide)

A move into the attack paid dividends for Isabel Hodgson in 2016. (Photo Credit: Dakota Hamilton)

A move out of the backline into a more advanced role worked wonders for Isabel Hodgson last year, culminating in five goals and a tie for team high with nine assists, including the opening goal of the Southern Conference championship game in which East Tennessee State eventually fell 2-1 to Samford to come agonisingly close to securing an NCAA Tournament berth. Hodgson had the most assists of any Australian in NCAA Division I last season, and also picked up the Breakout Player of the Year and Sophomore of the Year awards, and a share of the Midfielder of the Year award with Nicholls State senior Jess Coates. Hodgson is once again listed as a defender on the East Tennessee State roster, but if last season’s successes are anything to go by, the South Australian won’t be spending much time in the backline.

Sam Roff (Sophomore, Defender, Fairleigh Dickinson, Canberra)

Adept in either defence or as a holding midfielder, Sam Roff slotted straight into the Fairleigh Dickinson lineup as a freshman and enjoyed a quite outstanding first season in college. The former Canberra United training partner started 18 of the 19 games in which she played, and her defensive work saw the freshman named to the Northeast Conference All-Rookie team, a just reward for her work in a solid Fairleigh Dickinson defence. The Knights do lose one defensive starter from 2016 to graduation, meaning that Roff will pick up more responsibility in 2017, but it is a challenge that Roff has already shown glimpses of being capable of undertaking.

Priya Gakhar (Junior, Forward, Grambling State, Canberra)

Priya Gakhar comes into the college ranks a little later than some players, joining Grambling State for her junior year. Primarily a reserve team player for Woden-Weston FC in the ACT National Premier League Women, Gakhar has also stepped up at times for the first team, and also has experience playing in the F-League futsal competition. In a shortened 11 game schedule last season, Grambling State managed just one win, and scored just eight goals, three of which came in their win over Alcorn State. Gakhar will be one player tasked with improving the team’s scoring output, especially as only one player who even scored a goal will be returning to the side in 2017.

Sandra Hill (Freshman, Defender, Grand Canyon, Canberra)

One of five freshman amongst the eight defenders on Grand Canyon’s roster in 2017, Sandra Hill will commence her college career with an immediate battle for a starting spot as the Antelopes head into their first season as a full member of NCAA Division I. A fairly regular fixture in Tuggeranong United’s NPL side over the last two seasons, Hill played alongside Nicholls State’s Kristy Helmers at club level, as well as former Sydney FC and Canberra United player Meg McLaughlin. Hill joins a team that has compiled seven wins in each of the past two seasons, so it is certainly becoming time for Grand Canyon to kick on and put together a 10 win season, especially now as the team is eligible for the postseason for the first time.

Kiri Dale (Sophomore, Midfielder, Hawaii, Mullumbimby)

Following two seasons at Iona, Kiri Dale has transferred to Hawaii for a challenge at a higher level, which she will certainly receive playing for the Rainbow Wahine. After redshirting her first season at Iona, Dale slotted straight into the lineup for the Gaels, starting in nearly every game of 2016. Earning that level of playing time will certainly be tougher in Honolulu, but Dale’s versatility as a defender with a certain attacking prowess may see her gain time in different positions throughout the season. However, that remains to be seen, and as is the case with any transfer student-athlete, there are a lot of questions that will be answered as the season progresses.

Emily Hulbert (Senior, Defender, Hofstra, Melbourne)

A mainstay for her first two seasons at Hofstra, Emily Hulbert’s junior season was unfortunately cut short due to injury. The former Melbourne Victory player played in 20 or more games in each of her first two seasons, but was restricted to just nine appearances in 2017. However, Hofstra compiled a 6-2-1 record with Hulbert on the pitch, a significant contrast to their rather indifferent 4-5 record whilst the Australian was out. Able to play either in defence or midfield and on either flank, Hulbert’s ability to get forward has seen her chip in three goals and an assist, including two game-winners, as she heads into her final season of college soccer.

Monique Iannella (Senior, Defender, Hofstra, Melbourne)

Originally recruited by Hofstra before eventually choosing Texas for 2016, Monique Iannella has transferred to the Pride, where she will play alongside fellow Victorian, Emily Hulbert. Despite injury, Iannella enjoyed a relatively successful first college season, starting 12 of the 13 matches in which she played and tallying over 900 minutes of playing time as Texas finished with an 8-9-1 record in a perhaps slightly disappointing season for the Longhorns. Iannella now moves to Hofstra, where her presence will no doubt be cherished among a roster with just seven other recognised defenders, many of whom are likely to slot into the midfield at times.

And so preseason begins 🙌🏽 ..stay tuned for the attractive soccer facials to come out 🙃 ft baby bib #HUWS 🦁⚽️

A post shared by 🍍M O N I 🌊Q U I N 🌞E L L A ⚓️ (@moniqueiannella) on

Julia De Angelis (Sophomore, Midfielder, Indiana, Canberra)

Touted as one of the best Australian freshmen in 2016, Julia De Angelis has unfortunately suffered through a frustrating run of injuries since arriving at Indiana. The Young Matildas and Canberra United midfielder had the start of her college career delayed, but did manage to accumulate 15 appearances, albeit on apparently restricted minutes. Whilst on field though, De Angelis, looked right at home in the Big Ten, one of the premier conferences in NCAA Division I. However, yet another injury will see De Angelis miss out on playing this season after undergoing surgery in March.

Claudia Jenkins (Freshman, Goalkeeper, La Salle, Adelaide)

For a couple of years, there had been just one Australian goalkeeper in NCAA Division I: Georgia Rowntree. Last year, Teagan Micah doubled that number, and now Claudia Jenkins has made it a trio by joining La Salle University in Philadelphia. The former Adelaide United W-League player, who spent 17 games on the bench for the Lady Reds, has been ever-present for Fulham United in NPL South Australia over the last two seasons. Jenkins helped her side to a 2016 preliminary final appearance where they forced Adelaide City all the way to penalties, eventually going down 5-4 in the shootout. Jenkins was among a number of players with college experience in that side, including East Tennessee State’s Isabel Hodgson, former Colgate midfielder Dylan Holmes, and former Middle Tennessee State defender Nenita Burgess. Jenkins will have a challenge on her hands attempting to unseat redshirt senior goalkeeper Larisa Zambelli from the starting job at La Salle, but even if her freshman season is more of a learning experience, the South Australian will be in the box seat for a starting spot between the sticks going forward.

Caitlin Cantrill (Sophomore, Midfielder, LSU, Canberra)

The lone Australian on a power conference team without W-League playing experience, Caitlin Cantrill nonetheless made her mark at LSU in her freshman season after training with Canberra United in previous years. The midfielder started the first four games of her college career and made 12 appearances in total, also picking up the first goal of her career against Julia De Angelis’ Indiana side, albeit in a game that De Angelis missed through injury. Cantrill will have to fight off the challenge of LSU’s handful of incoming freshman midfielders, but with a season of experience under her belt, the Canberran is certainly in the box seat to continue to receive playing time in her sophomore year.

Nyomi Devine (Senior, Defender, Murray State, Beaudesert)

The rock at the back for Murray State, Nyomi Devine has been a vital part of the Racers’ defence since her freshman season. From starting 13 of her 17 appearances in her freshman season, Devine started all 21 games in Murray State’s Ohio Valley Conference championship run in 2015 before 2016’s campaign was hindered slightly due to injury. As well as being an outstanding defender, Devine also added an attacking string to her bow in 2016. The Queenslander tallied the first assist of her career, whilst her only goal of the season – and her career to this point – was the game-winner against Tennessee-Martin. With 7 of her 11 shots for the season on target, her 64% clip is certainly a number worthy of any attacking player.

Harriet Withers (Senior, Forward, Murray State, Murwillumbah)

If Nyomi Devine is a defensive rock for the Racers, then Harriet Withers is an attacking weapon, and will be hoping to lead the line as the Racers look to atone for last year’s disappointing 2-1 overtime loss to SIU-Edwardsville in the Ohio Valley Conference tournament that cut their almost two-season long unbeaten streak at the worst possible time. An exceptional goalscorer, Withers has tallied 25 goals and 13 assists in her 58 games for the Racers to this point. A ten goal this season would not only cap an outstanding college career for Withers, but deliver the Palm Beach product the all-time goalscoring record for Murray State.

Tenille Harberger (Freshman, Midfielder, Nicholls State, Mackay)

A five-sport athlete at St. Patrick’s College in Mackay, Tenille Harberger becomes the latest in what is becoming a long line of Australians to join Nicholls State. Aside from representing her school, Harberger has developed into a goalscoring midfielder in the Mackay regional competition, with 18 goals in her 22 appearances for Mackay Lions in 2016. Harberger will no doubt be hoping to pick up some of the minutes that have opened up following the graduation of fellow Australian Jess Coates, but there will be quite a fight for that spot amongst what is a young midfield corps for the Colonels.

Kristy Helmers (Sophomore, Forward, Nicholls State, Canberra)

An instant sensation at Nicholls State, Kristy Helmers comes into her sophomore season in Thibodaux on the back of an outstanding freshman year. The Canberra product was behind only fellow Australian Jess Coates in terms of attacking output, tallying six goals and five assists and starting all 16 of the Colonels’ games. Helmers received a share of the College Matildas Freshman of the Year award in 2016, and if she can handle the additional responsibility that will surely come her way following Coates’ graduation, she may just parlay that into a Sophomore of the Year award in 2017.

Gaby Bentley (Sophomore, Midfielder, Old Dominion, Adelaide)

Gaby Bentley was used sparingly in her first season at Old Dominion, and will certainly be hoping to increase her playing time in 2017. The former Adelaide United W-League midfielder featured in just two games in 2016, but was used far more in the team’s 2017 spring exhibition games, playing both in midfield and up front. A number of attacking options from the 2016 season have since graduated, leaving some playing time on the table, but Bentley will still have to fight off the challenge from the incoming freshmen if she is to pick up those additional minutes.

Olivia Ellis (Freshman, Defender, Oregon State, Melbourne)

Lulu Pullar and Kahlia Hogg may be gone from the Pac-12’s Aussie contingent, but Melbourne City fullback Olivia Ellis has shored up the numbers by joining Oregon State. Whilst Ellis featured just twice for Melbourne City in her two seasons with the club, the young fullback featured 19 times for FC Bulleen in NPL Victoria in 2016 as the Lions finished third before going down to Geelong Galaxy United in the first week of the finals. Ellis was also involved with the Young Matildas at the 2016 AFF Women’s Championship, picking up two goals in the team’s 20-0 demolition of Timor-Leste’s full national team. With the Oregon State roster featuring just seven defenders, there will certainly be chances for Ellis to play, either as an immediate starter or off the bench, as Oregon State look to improve on last season’s 3-8 record in Pac-12 play, as well as their overall record of 8-10-2, their fifth consecutive season under .500.

Ellie Papalexiou (Senior, Defender, Pacific, Gold Coast)

After an extended stint on the sidelines in 2016 with yet another knee injury, Ellie Papalexiou returns for her senior year at Pacific desperate to make an impact on her final season in college soccer. Papalexiou’s freshman season saw her play in 17 games and become a vital part of the Tigers’ side, before injury cruelly struck the Palm Beach product down and forced her to miss the entire 2015 season. 2016 saw Papalexiou play seven games, before succumbing to injury for a second time. In her brief stints on the pitch, Papalexiou has exuded class, and it will now be a matter of putting that together for a full season for the first time since 2014 for the predominantly left-sided utility player.

Maddy Cornell (Senior, Defender, Southeast Missouri State, Nowra)

After starting her college career as a utility player who slotted in where required, Maddy Cornell has well and truly cemented her spot in the rotation up front for Southeast Missouri State heading into her final season. Cornell has played in 18 games in each of the last two seasons, and earned three starts in her junior year on her way to averaging 40 minutes per contest. Despite playing over 700 minutes, Cornell failed to find the back of the net in 2016, and this will be one facet in which she will need to improve if she is to increase that playing time yet again in 2017. Junior Lauren Kaempfe will lead the line for the Redhawks following the graduation of 12-goal striker Natasha Minor, but with Minor taking nearly half of the team’s goals with her, all of the forwards, including Cornell, will have to step up and take on more of the scoring load in 2017.

Shelby Milton (Sophomore, Defender, St. Francis, Wollongong)

After a year playing in NCAA Division II with St. Joseph’s in Indiana in 2015, Shelby Milton got out just in time as the university suspended operations earlier this year. Milton then transferred to St. Francis University in Pennsylvania, and hit the ground running with the Red Flash, making 19 appearances in her first season, and starting 9 games. Whilst the St. Francis defence was in the bottom half of the national rankings for goals conceded in 2016, they were certainly a young group last season. With a year of experience under their belts, they should see their defensive numbers improve this season and potentially improve on their 10-12 record from 2016.

Beattie Goad (Sophomore, Midfielder, Stanford, Melbourne)

Beattie Goad made the most of a shift to fullback in her freshman year. (Photo Credit: Hector Garcia-Molina/ISIPhotos.com)

Probably the most well-known of the Australian college players among the wider football community, Beattie Goad came to Stanford as a winger but reinvented herself as a fullback in the opening stages of her career with the Cardinal. Making her debut at left fullback, Goad was utilised on both sides of defence before making a move to a more attacking role later in the season for a Stanford side whose chances for a title were hindered by an injury to US national team midfielder Andi Sullivan and then extinguished by Santa Clara in a penalty shootout in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Victorian also picked up her first goal with literally the last kick of the regular season, tying a bow on a 4-1 win over arch rivals California. Having shown her ability to play in a number of positions, there will almost certainly be a spot for Goad somewhere after she made 10 starts in 21 appearances in 2016.

Paige Hayward (Senior, Forward, Texas Southern, Sydney)

The reigning College Matildas Player of the Year, Paige Hayward was recently named to the All-SWAC preseason second team, a nod to her supreme goalscoring ability amongst all players in the conference. The Sydneysider banged home 13 goals in 2016, including a perfect five of five from the spot and three game-winning goals, as well as chipping in five assists in 19 appearances  to secure a spot in the All-SWAC Second Team. Alongside her College Matildas Player of the Year award, Hayward was also the top goalscorer amongst Australians, and was awarded Junior of the Year, Forward of the Year, and Most Consistent Player.

Demi Koulizakis (Sophomore, Forward, Texas Tech, Sydney)

Demi Koulizakis returns to Lubbock in 2017 looking to make just as many appearances as she was able to in 2016, but perhaps turn those into more extended stints on the pitch. The former Sydney University forward featured 18 times for Texas Tech in her freshman year, but averaged only just over 20 minutes per contest despite starting on three occasions. In spite of this, things did start looking up for Koulizakis late in the season, as she played 47 minutes against TCU before rounding out the regular season with 69 minutes of playing time in a final day win over Oklahoma that clinched a Big 12 Tournament berth for the Red Raiders. The former Western Sydney Wanderers W-League player will now be aiming to ensure those extended outings become the norm, rather than the exception in 2017.

Teagan Micah (Sophomore, Goalkeeper, UCLA, Brisbane)

Teagan Micah came to UCLA seemingly set for a major battle for the starting goalkeeper berth at UCLA, but instead slotted seamlessly into the Bruins’ lineup, playing the whole season for a team that eventually went down to national runner-up West Virginia in a penalty shootout (that Micah didn’t take part in) in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. The freshman won two College Matildas awards for an outstanding season, earning a share of the Freshman of the Year award with Nicholls State’s Kristy Helmers, as well as a share of the Goalkeeper of the Year award with Wyoming’s Georgia Rowntree. Micah became the first true freshman to start a game for UCLA since 2004, and was also named Pac-12 Goalkeeper of the Week three times in an outstanding first season in Westwood. Recently, Micah was an emergency call-up to the Matildas squad that won the Tournament of Nations against the United States, Japan, and Brazil, filling a spot on the bench for the 6-1 win over Brazil after regular starter Lydia Williams suffered an injury.

Kate Swartwout (Sophomore, Defender, Western Carolina, Gold Coast)

Gold Coast born but North Carolina raised, Kate Swartwout slotted straight into the lineup at Western Carolina, a college that could almost be considered local for the Lake Norman product. Swartwout featured in 16 games for a Catamounts side that finished with an 8-12 record, not flash by any means, but certainly something to build on in 2017. Although primarily a defender, Swartwout does have the ability to play in midfield, and did pop up with one assist last season, helping Western Carolina to a 3-2 win over Kennesaw State. Assists are nice, but Swartwout’s main focus is keeping the ball out of the net rather than putting it in the one at the other end.

Lorena Bugden (Freshman, Midfielder, William & Mary, Sydney)

Lorena Bugden links up with Australian assistant coach Vanessa Mann at William & Mary this season. (Photo Credit: Eric Berry)

William & Mary’s first Australian recruit since fellow Australian, Vanessa Mann, became assistant coach for the Tribe, Lorena Bugden arrives at Williamsburg with significant club experience. With a season of W-League experience at Western Sydney Wanderers under her belt, and two NPLNSW titles, one each with FNSW Institute and Sydney University, Bugden has carved out quite a career even at this early stage. Having played everywhere from fullback to up top, the freshman can certainly slot in wherever she is required, but will hopefully play in her preferred advanced midfield position. An Australian Schoolgirls representative and national youth team camp invitee, Bugden will certainly be one to watch this upcoming season.

Alisha Bass (Senior, Midfielder, Wyoming, Sydney)

Alisha Bass has been a vital part of the Wyoming lineup for her entire college career. (Photo Credit: Ted Brummond)

Whether it’s in the centre of defence, up front, or in behind the strikers as an attacking midfielder, Alisha Bass has been one of the standout players in the Mountain West Conference for the last few seasons. Having redshirted her first year at Laramie, this will be Bass’s fifth year with the Cowgirls, but the senior has long been one of the leaders of the team. Bass topped the Cowgirls in minutes played and assists in 2016, tallying four of the latter in addition to three goals, which included a stunning header with 10 seconds remaining in double overtime against Utah Valley. A highly technically adept player, Bass put nearly 60% of her shots on target last season to also lead Wyoming in that category.

Annika Clayton (Junior, Midfielder, Wyoming, Sydney)

Alisha Bass may be the creative force of the Wyoming attack, but Annika Clayton provides an industrious counterpoint in midfield for the Cowgirls. Ever-present in the middle of the park in her freshman season, 2016 was a slightly more stop-start campaign for the former Sydney University midfielder. Clayton was only able to garner one start in her 11 appearances as injury forced her to sit out at various times. However, Clayton was able to tally three assists for the season, which were enough for third in the team, and tallied a goal against Idaho State. With 2016’s injury problems hopefully behind her, 2017 looks to be far more promising for the Sydneysider.

Jessie Gentle (Junior, Midfielder, Wyoming, Woolgoolga)

An occasional starter but a regular fixture in the side, Jessie Gentle has carved out a position for herself within the Wyoming roster, being deployed in a number of positions over the last couple of years. Whether up front on the wing or in a fullback role, Gentle is now one of the mainstays of the Cowgirls’ lineup, playing 39 games over her first two seasons, 22 of those as part of the starting lineup. Although Gentle tallied just one goal last season, it was an important one: the game winner against Fresno State which earned Wyoming its first away win in conference play of the 2016 season.

Jemma House (Junior, Forward, Wyoming, Newcastle)

Already a star of college soccer in Wyoming after two emphatically successful years at Laramie County Community College, Jemma House has made the 50 mile journey to the state’s flagship university for the final two seasons of her college career. With 47 goals and 14 assists in 44 junior college games, House was a two-time All American at LCCC, and was also named to the NJCAA All-Tournament team in both 2015 and 2016. Now, House comes to Wyoming ready to fight for the chance to lead the line and potentially be on the end of some of the magical passes that fellow Australian Alisha Bass has delivered time and again for Cowgirls strikers over the last few seasons.

Georgia Rowntree (Senior, Goalkeeper, Wyoming, Sydney)

Georgia Rowntree has firmly established herself between the sticks for Wyoming. (Photo Credit: Ted Brummond)

Georgia Rowntree came into the 2016 season fighting for a starting berth, but emerged as the primary option between the sticks for the entire season to play all but seven minutes of the season and also earn a share of the 2016 College Matildas Goalkeeper of the Year with UCLA’s Teagan Micah. Having started games since her freshman year, Rowntree sits firmly in the Wyoming top 10 lists for minutes played and career shutouts, and is also second all-time for goals against average. Her eight clean sheets in 2016 also set a single-season record for the Cowgirls, and the Sydneysider needs just four more to move into the top 3 all time for career shutouts at Wyoming. Although Rowntree will face competition from the other two goalkeepers in the Cowgirls’ squad, she certainly has the inside running at this point.

Lorena Bugden – Wandering To William & Mary

With a season of W-League experience under her belt, former Western Sydney Wanderers player Lorena Bugden has decided to take her talents to Virginia to play for William & Mary. Bugden will link up with fellow Australian, assistant coach Vanessa Mann, and play in the Colonial Athletic Association, a conference that already features a pair of Australians. Emily Hulbert is entering her senior season at Hofstra, whilst Emma Heckenberg is about to start her junior year at Drexel, making for plenty of matchups between the Aussies in 2017.

The process began early for the young star from Glenmore Park in Western Sydney, who had her eye on college from day 1.

“Well, going to college in America has always been a dream of mine throughout my high school years. But, it first started to become a reality when I was in Year 9,” Bugden explained. “I was approached at a Combined High Schools tournament by a scout from Wyoming who was impressed by my game and gave my coach a business card to give to my parents. That then led to them getting in contact with me and coming to watch me play twice a year.”

The University of Wyoming is certainly one of the premier destinations for Australians looking to make the move to college. Through previous coach Danny Sanchez and current coach Pete Cuadrado, the school has lured several players with W-League experience to the United States. These names include Alisha Bass, Georgia Rowntree, Candace Sciberras, Liz O’Reilly, Loren Mahoney, and 2017 recruit Brooke Miller. Bugden would talk to Sydney University NPL teammate O’Reilly about playing in college, but the new Tribester’s journey would take a turn of its own as she began to promote herself more actively.

“In April last year, I put together a highlight video of myself playing and uploaded it to YouTube. I also forwarded the link to my friends in the USA so they could show their coaches,” Bugden revealed. “I didn’t realise my video was going to have the impact it had. It resulted in me receiving a number of offers to attend college in the US.”

Suddenly, there was competition for the Sydneysider’s signature. Several schools that have featured Australians on their roster took an interest in Bugden. Fairleigh Dickinson and Albany, two schools which currently have Australians on their rosters in the form of Samantha Roff and Claire Urquhart, both saw something in the former W-League player. Troy University in Alabama also tried to keep their link to Western Sydney alive following Alex Huynh’s graduation, but William & Mary soon had the inside running.

“[William & Mary Head Coach] John Daly got in contact with me after watching my video and we spoke over Skype. He told me he was coming to Sydney to watch me play.

“He came 2 weeks later and was impressed with how I played and asked if I wanted to be a Tribester!”

Soon after, Bugden had made the decision to make the move to Williamsburg to continue her football career, with her reasons for making the change crystal clear.

“I chose to go to the US as it is an unbelievable opportunity for me as a player and person to experience life in another country,” Bugden explained. “I will be playing football at the highest level and I will be studying at a fantastic college. I believe I will be a better player when I return to Australia.”

“My long term goals in football are to represent my country, continue to develop my game and be the best player I can be. I also want to be drafted to a professional team in the NWSL.”

Bugden spent the 2014/15 W-League season with Western Sydney Wanderers. (Photo credit: Eric Berry)

William & Mary is certainly a college that brings an excellent balance of academics and athletics, especially in non-revenue sports such as women’s soccer. The Colonial Athletic Association is one of the better mid-major conferences in the sport, and is referred to as a “public Ivy” for its academic standing and ability to attract high level students in a similar manner to the Ivy League schools such as Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. Bugden certainly has her sights set on securing her future beyond football, and moving to an academically elite university is one of the best ways to set about doing exactly that.

“Having a degree is very important; whilst I love football I won’t always be able to play so I need to have a degree and profession to fall back on,” Bugden explained. “I want to major in psychology.”

(Photo credit: Eric Berry)

“Off the pitch I want to be the best student I can be.”

On the field, the Tribe women’s soccer team will be looking to bounce back in 2017, having slipped from 14 wins in 2015 to just scraping by with 10 wins from their 20 games in 2016 to continue their NCAA record-equalling streak of consecutive winning seasons. It is often tough to judge just how much playing time a freshman will get, especially coming in from overseas, but Bugden believes she has a skillset that can assist her team from the outset.

“Firstly I pride myself as being a team player, I am creative and skillful and I have a style of play that is very versatile,” the Sydneysider outlined. “I believe I will be an asset for William and Mary and my goal is to be part of a team that will win their conference and the NCAA Championship.”

An NCAA Championship is an incredibly lofty goal for any mid-major side, but winning a Colonial Athletic Association title is one that is on William & Mary’s agenda every season, with ten conference titles and 25 NCAA Tournament appearances already in the books.

Bugden won’t be the only Australian in the program – former Nevada player Vanessa Mann is now assistant coach at William & Mary. Bugden is understandably happy to have another Australian around, but never let the fact cloud her judgement when choosing a school.

“[Having another Australian at the program] didn’t influence my decision to choose William and Mary but it certainly is a bonus to have a fellow Australian at the college.”

However, Bugden is certainly hopeful that William & Mary can become a destination for Australian players in the same way that programs like Wyoming, Colorado, and Nicholls State have become.

“I can only speak for myself but I will definitely be promoting the college every chance I get. So hopefully in the future other Australian players will have the opportunity to attend William and Mary.”

Slightly ironically, Lorena has another university program to thank for helping her get to college in the US. Having moved to NPL NSW club Sydney University in recent seasons, it was this club that assisted Lorena in bouncing back after suffering a knee injury last season.

Bugden was a member of the championship winning Sydney University NPL side in 2016.

“I sustained a contact ACL injury last year in June which has been the only major injury I have had in my career. My ACL rehab is being managed here by highly qualified surgeon, physiotherapists and also by a great strength and conditioning coach and team from Sydney University,” Lorena explained. However, she also has full confidence in the William & Mary program to ensure she returns to her best.

“The facilities at William and Mary are world class and I am sure they will manage my return to full fitness.”

Many players who have played in the W-League have found success at the college level, and Bugden is well placed to become another, with many coaches of high pedigree in her corner to this point providing her with outstanding guidance, including Australian football legend Heather Garriock and former Matildas player Catherine Cannuli.

“I would like to thank Catherine Cannuli, [Sydney University coach] Heather Garriock and [Westfield Sports High School coach] Rob Bradshaw for their ongoing mentorship and support,” Bugden revealed. “And to thank everyone else involved in this process as this is truly a dream come true.”

Week 10 Wrap

It was a nervy week for a few Aussies this week as teams relied on other results going their way. It worked out for Alex Huynh and Troy, who snuck into the Sun Belt tournament, but the news was not so good for Emily Hulbert and Hofstra, who missed the CAA tournament despite defeating the top two teams in the league. Elsewhere, other teams were in control of their own destiny, with Murray State and Wyoming amongst teams to solidify their position with victories.

Paige Hayward was the undoubted star of the week, making an impact on both games as Texas Southern earned two wins from two this week. In a 1-0 win over Southern, Paige tallied the assist on the winner, and then scored the equaliser after the Tigers went down 1-0 early against Southern in a game that would see Texas Southern storm home for a 2-1 victory.

Isabel Hodgson has been enjoying her move into midfield for East Tennessee State, and made yet another tangible impact on a game. In a 4-0 demolition of Wofford in the Buccaneers’ first game of the weekend, Isabel played a neat pass for Molly Collinson who tucked home the opener inside 5 minutes to give the South Australian yet another assist for the campaign.  East Tennessee State would go on to defeat Furman 2-0 in their second game of the weekend to jump the Paladins and finish 2nd in the Southern Conference and earn a favourable draw for the conference tournament, of which they will host the final weekend.

Georgia Rowntree was in exemplary form this weekend for Wyoming as the junior kept two clean sheets in some vital games for Wyoming. A draw and a win kept the Cowgirls in the hunt for a spot in the Mountain West tournament, and eight saves from Rowntree formed the backbone of Wyoming’s performance. At the other end, Alisha Bass tallied an assist in the team’s 3-0 win over New Mexico as the SYdneysider continued to enjoy playing in a more advanced role than in previous weeks.

Teagan Micah might be well-known as one of the top young goalkeepers in the nation, but this week she showed that she’s more than just an excellent shot-stopper. Compiling nine saves in two wins over Washington and Washington State, Teagan was also able to tally an assist against Washington State as the Queenslander played the ball long to a teammate who was able to tuck it home.

Player Of The Year Points:

3: Paige Hayward (Texas Southern)
2: Georgia Rowntree (Wyoming)
1: Teagan Micah (UCLA)

Complete Results:

Massachusetts (Laura Johns)

This week: drew 0-0 with Duquesne; defeated Virginia Commonwealth 3-0

Laura Johns came off the bench to play 11 minutes against Duquesne, and started on senior day against VCU, playing 41 minutes.

USC (Lulu Pullar)

This week: defeated Washington State 3-0; defeated Washington 1-0

Lulu Pullar did not feature for USC this week.

Albany (Claire Urquhart)

This week: defeated Maine 21; defeated UMBC 2-0

Claire Urquhart did not feature for Albany this week.

LSU (Caitlin Cantrill)

This week: lost 2-1 to Auburn; drew 0-0 with Alabama

Caitlin Cantrill did not feature for LSU this week.

UCLA (Teagan Micah)

This week: defeated Washington 3-2 (OT); defeated Washington State 2-1

Teagan Micah played two complete games this weekend, finishing with five saves against Washington, and four saves plus an assist against Washington State.

Stanford (Beattie Goad)

This week: defeated Colorado 2-0; defeated Utah 2-0

Beattie Goad came off the bench in both games, playing 23 minutes against Colorado and 2 minutes against Utah, tallying a shot on target against Colorado.

Colorado (Isobel Dalton, Kahlia Hogg)

This week: lost 2-0 to Stanford; defeated California 3-2 (OT)

Neither Isobel Dalton nor Kahlia Hogg featured for Colorado this week.

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Jade Horcicka, Harriet Withers)

This week: defeated Jacksonville State 1-0 (OT); defeated Belmont 1-0

Nyomi Devine was forced to sit out this week with a minor flare-up in her ankle, but Harriet Withers featured in both games, playing all 184 minutes across the weekend and tallying a total of five shots.

Troy (Alexandra Huynh)

This week: lost 3-2 to Louisiana-Monroe; lost 2-0 to Arkansas-Little Rock

Alexandra Huynh played a full 90 minutes in each game, tallying a shot on both occasions as Troy scraped into the Sun Belt conference tournament thanks to other results despite losing both games this week.

Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)

This week: lost 1-0 to Robert Morris; defeated Central Connecticut State 2-0

Sam Roff started in both games this week and played a full 90 minutes on both occasions as Fairleigh Dickinson kept in touch with the leaders in the Northeast Conference.

East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson)

This week: defeated Wofford 4-0; defeated Furman 2-0

Isabel Hodgson started both games, playing 57 minutes and registering an assist on the opener against Wofford, before playing 86 minutes in the vital win over Furman which moved East Tennessee State into second spot in the Southern Conference at the conclusion of league play.

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert)

This week: defeated James Madison 4-1; defeated Towson 1-0

Emily Hulbert started both games for Hofstra, playing 83 minutes against James Madison and the full 90 minutes against Towson, but Hofstra were narrowly eliminated from CAA tournament contention as other results went against them on the final day of league play.

Western Carolina (Kate Swartwout)

This week: lost 3-1 to Furman; defeated Wofford 4-0

Kate Swartwout did not feature against Furman, but came off the bench in the win over Wofford as the Catamounts finished 8th in the Southern Conference, but easily claiming the last quarter final berth, nine points clear of 9th placed The Citadel.

Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis)

This week: lost 2-0 to Texas; lost 1-0 to TCU

Demi Koulizakis started against Texas and played 26 minutes, before playing 47 minutes off the bench against TCU, registering a shot.

Texas Southern (Paige Hayward)

This week: defeated Jackson State 1-0; defeated Southern 2-1

Paige Hayward was again the leader for Texas Southern, tallying an assist against Jackson State and netting the equaliser in the win over Southern.

Nicholls State (Jess Coates, Kristy Helmers)

This week: drew 0-0 with Northwestern State; lost 3-0 to Central Arkansas

Jess Coates played 98 minutes against Northwestern State, registering an amazing 8 shots but was unable to find the back of the net, before putting in a 39 minute shift against Central Arkansas. Kristy Helmers played 44 minutes against Northwestern State and 35 minutes against Central Arkansas.

Texas (Monique Iannella)

This week: defeated Texas Tech 2-0; lost 1-0 to West Virginia – 9am, Monday October 24

Monique Iannella came off the bench against Texas Tech to play 14 minutes, but did not feature against West Virginia.

Wyoming (Alisha Bass, Annika Clayton, Jessie Gentle, Georgia Rowntree, Candace Sciberras)

This week: defeated New Mexico 3-0; drew 0-0 with San Diego State

Georgia Rowntree played two complete games this week, making 5 saves against New Mexico and 3 saves against San Diego State. Alisha Bass played 83 minutes against New Mexico and tallied an assist, and played 106 minutes in the draw with San Diego State. Annika Clayton came off the bench to play 34 minutes against New Mexico and 51 minutes against San Diego State, whilst Jessie Gentle played 40 minutes against New Mexico and 20 minutes against San Diego State.

San Francisco (Price Keogh)

This week: lost 3-2 to Loyola Marymount; lost 1-0 to Pepperdine

Price Keogh did not feature for San Francisco this week.

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

This week: lost 2-0 to Portland; lost 4-3 to Gonzaga

Ellie Papalexiou did not feature for Pacific this week due to injury.

Iona (Kiri Dale)

This week: lost 2-1 to Niagara

Kiri Dale started for Iona in the loss to Niagara, registering a shot on target.

Indiana (Julia De Angelis)

This week: drew 2-2 with Purdue

Julia De Angelis started for Indiana but played only 20 or so minutes as her playing time continues to be managed after her return from injury.

Winthrop (Jai Jackson)

This week: defeated Presbyterian 2-1

Jai Jackson started for Winthrop and played 66 minutes in the win over Presbyterian.

Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)

This week: drew 0-0 with Delaware

Emma Heckenberg started for Drexel and played all 110 minutes in the draw.

Southeast Missouri State (Maddy Cornell, Siena Senatore)

This week: defeated Morehead State 3-1

Maddy Cornell came off the bench to play 45 minutes in the win over Morehead State, but Siena Senatore was forced to sit out with an injury.

Week 9 Wrap

Assists were the order of the week for the Australians this week, as no less than six players combined for nine over the course of the weekend. Three of those were assists for their fellow Australians to score goals, so it was a massive weekend of attacking output across the country.

It was a tough old week for East Tennessee State as the Buccaneers took just one point from the weekend to drop out of the Southern Conference regular season title race and back into 5th spot. Isabel Hodgson was able to make an impact on a personal level though, as her assist against Chattanooga helped salvage what could still be a vital point in the race for seedings in the conference tournament.

It was a spectacular weekend for the Aussies at Wyoming. Despite losing 3-1 to San Jose State, Annika Clayton was able to tally the assist on the Cowgirls’ solitary goal of the game, before Alisha Bass and Jessie Gentle took charge against Fresno State. Alisha was the main contributor, registering assists on both goals in Wyoming’s 2-1 win, but assists don’t come unless someone puts the ball in the back of the net, which is exactly what Jessie Gentle did for the first time in her college career, knocking hime the game winner in the 69th minute.

It may have been Jess Coates’ Senior Day down in Thibodaux, but the Nicholls State midfielder was the one dishing out the gifts in a 3-0 hammering of Sam Houston State. After defeating Sam Houston State 1-0 in an upset win in their first game of the weekend, spirits were sure to be high in the Colonels’ camp, and it proved as much in the demolition of lowly Sam Houston State. Jess Coates assisted on all 3 Nicholls goals, with fellow Australian Kristy Helmers was the recipient of two of those assists to finish with a brace as the Aussies continued what has been an excellent partnership in attack this season.

Alexandra Huynh also celebrated her Senior Day this weekend and, like Jess Coates, delivered for her teammates. After a disappointing 2-0 loss to Coastal Carolina in the weekend’s first game, it was Alex’s corner that led to a Troy goal which would secure victory and send Alex and her fellow seniors out on a high.

Murray State kept themselves atop the Ohio Valley Conference with a win and a draw, but two dropped points to SIU Edwardsville means the chasing pack is right on the Racers’ heels. Harriet Withers surprisingly didn’t manage a goal in a 3-0 win over Eastern Illinois, but did tally an assist in the win. More surprisingly, four shots on target from the reigning OVC Offensive Player Of The Year against SIU Edwardsville didn’t lead to a goal from Harriet as the goalkeepers at both ends played spoiler in a 1-1 draw between the top two teams in the league. Nyomi Devine was ever-present at the back for Murray State as a top defensive effort saw the Racers concede a solitary goal in 200 minutes of play.

Texas Southern came up against Howard this weekend in a top of the table clash in the SWAC, coming within 45 seconds of salvaging a point and giving the ladder leading Bison something to sweat over in the latter stages of the season. After going down 1-0, Australian striker Paige Hayward equalised for the Tigers, but a Howard goal in the final minute of overtime broke Texas Southern hearts and, combined with Arkansas-Pine Bluff’s results this weekend, dropped the Tigers to 3rd in the SWAC with 3 games remaining in the league schedule.

Player Of The Year Points:

3: Jess Coates (Nicholls State)
2: Kristy Helmers (Nicholls State)
1: Alisha Bass (Wyoming)

Complete Results:

Indiana (Julia De Angelis)

This week: defeated Ohio State 3-2; defeated Maryland 1-0

Julia De Angelis started both games for Indiana, but only played around half the minutes of the weekend as Indiana continues to manage her playing time following injury.

Massachusetts (Laura Johns)

This week: lost 1-0 to Davidson; drew 1-1 with Rhode Island

Laura Johns came off the bench in both games, playing 18 minutes against Davidson and 9 minutes against Rhode Island.

UCLA (Teagan Micah)

This week: defeated Arizona 2-1 (OT)

Teagan Micah played all 101 minutes in the overtime win, making 3 saves including one just 45 seconds from the end of the first overtime period to keep the game tied at 1-1 before Sunny Dunphy’s winner in the second overtime period.

Wyoming (Alisha Bass, Annika Clayton, Jessie Gentle, Georgia Rowntree, Candace Sciberras)

This week: lost 3-1 to San Jose State; defeated Fresno State 2-0

Georgia Rowntree played the full 90 minutes in both games, making three saves against San Jose State and four against Fresno State. Alisha Bass played 57 minutes against San Jose State, tallying a shot, before notching assists on both goals against Fresno State in an 87 minute effort. Jessie Gentle played just 4 minutes off the bench against San Jose State, but tallied Wyoming’s second goal against Fresno State in a half-hour stint. Annika Clayton tallied an assist on Wyoming’s only goal against San Jose State and played 46 minutes off the bench against Fresno State.

Southeast Missouri State (Maddy Cornell, Siena Senatore)

This week: lost 1-0 to Tennessee Tech; lost 2-1 to Eastern Kentucky (OT)

Maddy Cornell came off the bench in both games this week, playing 13 minutes against Tennessee Tech and 27 minutes against Eastern Kentucky. Siena Senatore also came off the bench in both games, playing 48 minutes against Tennessee Tech and 31 minutes against Eastern Kentucky.

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Jade Horcicka, Harriet Withers)

This week: defeated Eastern Illinois 3-0; drew 1-1 with SIU Edwardsville

Nyomi Devine played all 200 minutes of action for Murray State this week, remaining a rock at the back for the Racers. Harriet Withers tallied an assist in 80 minutes of action against Eastern Illinois, and did everything but score as she tallied 4 shots on target in 104 minutes of playing time against SIU Edwardsville.

Nicholls State (Jess Coates, Kristy Helmers)

This week: defeated Stephen F. Austin 1-0; defeated Sam Houston State 3-0

Kristy Helmers played 60 minutes against Stephen F. Austin, before tallying two goals against Sam Houston State. Jess Coates played the full 90 minutes against Stephen F. Austin, then tallied assists on all 3 goals against Sam Houston State, playing 75 minutes on Senior Day.

Colorado (Isobel Dalton, Kahlia Hogg)

This week: defeated Washington 2-1

Neither Kahlia Hogg nor Isobel Dalton featured for Colorado in the win over Washington.

Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)

This week: drew 0-0 with Elon; lost 2-1 to William & Mary

Emma Heckenberg started both games for Drexel, tallying a shot on target in the draw with Elon.

East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson)

This week: drew 2-2 with Chattanooga; lost 3-0 to Samford

Isabel Hodgson played all 110 minutes against Chattanooga and tallied an assist, before playing 70 minutes against Samford.

Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)

This week: drew 0-0 with Sacred Heart; defeated Bryant 2-1

Sam Roff played all 110 minutes against Sacred Heart, and all bar four minutes of the win over Bryant.

Western Carolina (Kate Swartwout)

This week: lost 2-1 to Samford; lost 1-0 to Chattanooga

Kate Swartwout started against Samford, but came off the bench against Chattanooga to register a single shot.

Troy (Alexandra Huynh)

This week: lost 2-0 to Coastal Carolina; defeated Texas State 2-1

Alex Huynh started both games, playing 69 minutes against Coastal Carolina and the full 90 minutes against Texas State, tallying an assist against Texas State on Senior Day.

LSU (Caitlin Cantrill)

This week: lost 1-0 to Mississippi State

Caitlin Cantrill did not feature for LSU in the loss to Mississippi State.

Texas (Monique Iannella)

This week: lost 2-0 to Iowa State

Monique Iannella started and played 45 minutes in the loss to Iowa State.

Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis)

This week: lost 1-0 to West Virginia

Demi Koulizakis came off the bench but only played 2 minutes against West Virginia.

Stanford (Beattie Goad)

This week: defeated Oregon State 3-2

Beattie Goad started and played 59 minutes in the win over Oregon State, registering a shot.

Iona (Kiri Dale)

This week: lost 4-1 to Canisius

Kiri Dale started for Iona in the loss to Canisius, tallying a single shot on target.

Winthrop (Jai Jackson)

This week: lost 2-1 to Gardner-Webb

Jai Jackson started for Winthrop and played 73 minutes in the loss to Gardner-Webb.

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert)

This week: defeated Northeastern 2-1

Emily Hulbert started for Hofstra and played all 90 minutes in the upset win, tallying a shot.

USC (Lulu Pullar)

This week: defeated Arizona State 2-0

Lulu Pullar did not feature for USC against Arizona State.

Texas Southern (Paige Hayward)

This week: lost 2-1 to Howard (OT)

Paige Hayward started for Texas Southern in the overtime loss, scoring the Tigers’ equaliser.

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

This week: lost 2-0 to Loyola Marymount

Ellie Papalexiou did not feature for Pacific this week due to injury.

Albany (Claire Urquhart)

This week: defeated Vermont 3-0

Claire Urquhart did not feature for Albany against Vermont.

Week 8 Wrap

This week saw some thrilling games, plenty of goals from Aussies, and a huge upset win in the Sun Belt for one Aussie that really shook things up in that particular conference. Colorado kept their perfect conference record intact, but Kahlia Hogg unfortunately went down injured early in the Buffaloes’ first match of the weekend and did not return for their second game.

Stanford v UCLA had all the makings of an absolute heartstopper on paper, and the game didn’t disappoint as fans were treated to an overtime thriller. With both teams dropping points in their first games of the weekend, the pressure was on to secure a result and keep pace with the leaders in the Pac-12. Amber Munerlyn opened the scoring for UCLA in the 12th minute, but recent US National Team call-up Andi Sullivan equalised just 90 seconds later. Michelle Xiao put Stanford ahead just after the hour mark, but Canadian Olympian Jessie Fleming would equalize for UCLA yet again just 4 minutes from time. Teagan Micah made six saves for UCLA, but in the end Beattie Goad would be the Aussie celebrating as Maddie Bauer managed to tuck home the winner for Stanford after a scramble from a corner. The win keeps Stanford just 3 points off the pace in the Pac-12, whilst UCLA sit 5 points off leaders Colorado.

Murray State needed to win twice this weekend to keep themselves atop the Ohio Valley Conference standings, and with a lot of help from Harriet Withers and Nyomi Devine, they did exactly that. Nyomi tallied the assist on the Racers’ only goal in their 1-0 win over Tennessee Tech, before Harriet Withers whipped home a free kick to put Murray State ahead against Eastern Kentucky, with the Racers going on to win 3-0.

Wyoming came into the weekend sitting just shy of .500, with a 5-6-1 mark. That all changed with two victories that took the Cowgirls to a 7-6-1 record and extended their winning streak to three games. Alisha Bass was the star amongst the five Aussies in Laramie. Playing in a more advanced role than her usual defensive position, Alisha tallied an assist in a 4-2 win over Air Force, and then headed home a goal in a 2-0 win over Colorado College as Wyoming moved up to 7th in the Mountain West Conference.

South Alabama had not lost a conference game in 3 seasons, with 33 opponents coming and going in that time. Enter Alexandra Huynh and Troy. In their only game of the week, the Trojans scored in the 7th minute and then hung on for dear life as South Alabama unleashed 13 shots. But Alexandra and the Troy defence ensured that only 5 of those shots would end up on target, and with Mikki Lewis resembling a brick wall in front of the net, Troy emerged with a massive upset win against their in-state rivals. The win also lifted Troy off the bottom of the Sun Belt standings, and they now sit just two points behind a logjam of six teams tied for 3rd.

Paige Hayward has been at the top of her game for most of the season so far, and little changed in a pair of wins for Texas Southern. Paige wrapped up the scoring on both occasions for the Tigers, who defeated Mississippi Valley State 3-1 before knocking off Alcorn State 3-0 in their second game of the week to keep pace with Howard at the top of the Southwestern Athletic Conference standings.

Player Of The Year Points:

3: Alisha Bass (Wyoming)
2: Paige Hayward (Texas Southern)
1: Harriet Withers (Murray State)

Complete Results:

Massachusetts (Laura Johns)

This week: lost 2-1 to George Mason (OT); lost 2-0 to George Washington

Laura Johns did not feature against George Mason, but played 27 minutes off the bench against George Washington.

Colorado (Isobel Dalton, Kahlia Hogg)

This week: defeated Oregon 3-1; defeated Oregon State 3-0

Kahlia Hogg was forced off after just 5 minutes against Oregon and did not return for the game against Oregon State. Isobel Dalton did not feature against Oregon, but came off the bench to play 27 minutes in the win over Oregon State.

Albany (Claire Urquhart)

This week: defeated Binghamton 1-0; drew 2-2 with Hartford

Claire Urquhart did not feature for Albany in either game this week.

Stanford (Beattie Goad)

This week: lost 3-0 to USC; defeated UCLA 3-2 (OT)

Beattie Goad started both games for Stanford this week, playing 83 minutes against USC and 56 minutes in the win over UCLA.

Indiana (Julia De Angelis)

This week: drew 1-1 with Penn State; drew 2-2 with Rutgers

Julia De Angelis started both games for Indiana this week, with her minutes increasing markedly this week as the freshman continues to make progress since her return from injury.

USC (Lulu Pullar)

This week: defeated Stanford 3-0; lost 1-0 to California

Lulu Pullar did not feature for USC this week.

LSU (Caitlin Cantill)

This week: lost 3-1 to Tennessee; lost 3-0 to Georgia

Caitlin Cantrill did not play against Tennessee, but came off the bench against Georgia to play part of the first half and the entire second half.

UCLA (Teagan Micah)

This week: drew 1-1 with California; lost 3-2 to Stanford (OT)

Teagan Micah played two complete games for UCLA this week, making five saves against California and six saves in the loss to Stanford.

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Jade Horcicka, Harriet Withers)

This week: defeated Tennessee Tech 1-0; defeated Eastern Kentucky 3-0

Nyomi Devine played two complete games this week, and also tallied an assist on the only goal in the win over Tennessee Tech. Harriet Withers played 66 minutes against Tennessee Tech, tallying four shots, before registering a superb goal from a free kick as well as an assist against Eastern Kentucky.

Wyoming (Alisha Bass, Annika Clayton, Jessie Gentle, Georgia Rowntree, Candace Sciberras)

This week: defeated Air Force 4-2; defeated Colorado College 2-0

Georgia Rowntree played two complete games this week, but made just the one save, against Colorado College. Alisha Bass played 82 minutes against Air Force, tallying an assist on Summer Halle’s hat-trick goal, before heading home a goal of her own against Colorado College in a 75 minute effort. Annika Clayton tallied an assist against Air Force on the game-tying goal, and played 41 minutes off the bench against Colorado College in her return from a concussion sustained a few weeks ago. Jessie Gentle came off the bench in both games, playing 15 minutes on each occasion.

Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis)

This week: lost 1-0 to Oklahoma State; lost 1-0 to Baylor

Demi Koulizakis did not feature for Texas Tech in either game this week.

East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson)

This week: defeated UNC Greensboro 1-0; defeated VMI 3-0

Isabel Hodgson played 74 minutes against UNC Greensboro, registering two shots. Isabel came off the bench on Senior Day against VMI, playing 67 minutes and setting up Thomai Vardali for East Tennessee State’s third goal.

Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)

This week: defeated College of Charleston 3-0; drew 1-1 with UNC Wilmington

Emma Heckenberg started both games for Drexel this week, playing 82 minutes against College of Charleston and 65 minutes against UNC Wilmington.

Western Carolina (Kate Swartwout)

This week: defeated VMI 1-0; lost 1-0 to UNC Greensboro

Kate Swartwout started both games for Western Carolina this week as the Catamounts split their games.

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert)

This week: defeated Elon 3-1; lost 1-0 to William & Mary

Emily Hulbert finally made her return from a foot injury sustained over a month ago, starting both games and playing a total of 107 minutes across the weekend.

Southeast Missouri State (Maddy Cornell, Siena Senatore)

This week: lost 2-1 to Jacksonville State (OT); drew 0-0 with Belmont

Maddy Cornell came off the bench in both games, playing 57 minutes against Jacksonville State and 43 minutes against Belmont, but Siena Senatore did not feature this week.

Nicholls State (Jess Coates, Kristy Helmers)

This week: lost 4-0 to McNeese State

Jess Coates and Kristy Helmers both started for Nicholls State. Jess played 79 minutes whilst Kristy put in a 50 minute shift.

Troy (Alexandra Huynh)

This week: defeated South Alabama 1-0

Alexandra Huynh played the full 90 minutes for Troy in a massive upset win over South Alabama.

Texas Southern (Paige Hayward)

This week: defeated Mississippi Valley State 3-1; defeated Alcorn State 3-0

Paige Hayward played 69 minutes against Mississippi Valley State, scoring Texas Southern’s third goal, before tallying the Tigers’ final goal against Alcorn State.

Texas (Monique Iannella)

This week: defeated Kansas State 2-0

Monique Iannella played the full 90 minutes for Texas in their victory, also tallying a shot.

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

This week: lost 3-0 to Santa Clara; lost 1-0 to San Francisco

Ellie Papalexiou did not feature this week as she continues to recover from an injury.

San Francisco (Price Keogh)

This week: defeated Saint Mary’s 2-0; defeated Pacific 1-0

Price Keogh did not feature against Saint Mary’s, but played 54 minutes against Pacific, 6 more than her combined total minutes for the rest of the season.

Winthrop (Jai Jackson)

This week: lost 3-2 to Campbell

Jai Jackson started in defence for Winthrop and played all 102 minutes in the overtime loss.

Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)

This week: defeated Wagner 1-0

Sam Roff started for Wagner and played all 90 minutes in the win, tallying a shot.

Week 7 Wrap

It fairly rained goals for the Aussies this week, as no less than four players got on the scoresheet, including one fairly unlikely suspect. But the biggest news of all this week came during USC’s road trip to Oregon, as freshman Lulu Pullar made her college debut with a 10 minute cameo in a 3-1 win over Oregon.

It’s been a long time coming, but after joining USC in January, Lulu Pullar has finally made her college debut a full 9 months after making the move to Los Angeles. With USC up 3-1 with 10 minutes to play, Lulu was given the opportunity to play the final part of the game, replacing star midfielder Morgan Andrews with the game sewn up.

Paige Hayward continued to lead from the front for Texas Southern, making a tangible impact on both games this week as the Tigers took a win and a draw from a trip east. Paige banged home her second penalty in as many weeks to tie the game against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, which ended 1-1, before contributing an assist in a win over Grambling State which helped the Tigers maintain equal top billing in the SWAC.

Jess Coates was also amongst the goals, but it wasn’t quite the weekend that Nicholls State would have hoped for. Jess tallied the opener in a 2-1 victory over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, but that would be the Colonels’ only win of the weekend. Whilst Jess snared another goal against Houston Baptist, it came after a pair of earlier goals from Houston Baptist, and the game finished 2-1.

Harriet Withers and Nyomi Devine had a slightly more encouraging weekend, and it was Harriet at the centre of things for Murray State as they finished with a win and a draw for their troubles this week. In a 2-2 draw with Maddy Cornell and Southeast Missouri State, Harriet got the opener but it was left to Taylor Richerson to score the equaliser with 34 seconds to play for the Racers to salvage a draw after neither team was able to score in overtime. Harriet also tallied the opening goal against Tennessee-Martin, before a shot from Nyomi Devine ended up leading to an own goal which put Murray State two goals clear. Tennessee-Martin scored in the 90th minute but it proved to be little more than a consolation despite outshooting Murray State 20-17.

Despite playing centre back for Wyoming nowadays, one gets the feeling that Alisha Bass has never really lost her attacking instincts, and she proved that yet again as the Sydneysider headed one home just a minute into the game against Nevada. Wyoming quickly went up 2-0, and after dropping the weekend’s earlier game to UNLV 3-1, the win was no doubt gratefully received by all involved with the program. Georgia Rowntree, with a bit of help from Alisha, kept another clean sheet, her fourth of the season.

Isabel Hodgson and Kate Swartwout faced off in an Aussie v Aussie local derby between East Tennessee State and Western Carolina, and it was Isabel who got the chocolates on this occasion. Isabel picked up an assist on the opener, before Western Carolina went 2-1 up with 27 minutes to play. Two late goals to East Tennessee State turned things right around, and the Buccaneers held on for the win, holding Western Carolina to just four shots on target for the game.

Player Of The Year Points:

3: Harriet Withers (Murray State)
2: Jess Coates (Nicholls State)
1: Paige Hayward (Texas Southern)

Complete Results:

Albany (Claire Urquhart)

This week: defeated Stony Brook 4-0

Claire Urquhart did not feature for Albany in the win over Stony Brook.

Massachusetts (Laura Johns)

This week: lost 1-0 to La Salle (OT); lost 1-0 to Richmond

Laura Johns came off the bench in both games this week, playing 42 minutes against La Salle and 56 minutes against Richmond. Laura tallied two shots against La Salle, both of which were on target.

USC (Lulu Pullar)

This week: defeated Oregon 3-1; defeated Oregon State 3-1

Lulu Pullar made her college debut in the win over Oregon, coming off the bench to play 10 minutes.

UCLA (Teagan Micah)

This week: defeated Oregon State 1-0; defeated Oregon 3-2

Teagan Micah played two complete games yet again this week, making two saves against Oregon State, and four saves against Oregon, including a fingertip effort early on to deflect a goal-bound shot wide.

San Francisco (Price Keogh)

This week: lost 3-1 to San Diego; lost 4-0 to BYU

Price Keogh came off the bench to play 6 minutes against San Diego, but did not feature against BYU.

Stanford (Beattie Goad)

This week: defeated Washington State 2-1; defeated Washington 3-0

Beattie Goad started both games this week, playing a full 90 minutes in each game.

Colorado (Isobel Dalton, Kahlia Hogg)

This week: defeated Arizona 1-0; defeated Arizona State 1-0

Kahlia Hogg played two complete games in defence for Colorado this week, but Isobel Dalton did not feature for the Buffaloes.

Texas Southern (Paige Hayward)

This week: drew 1-1 with Arkansas-Pine Bluff; defeated Grambling State 3-2 (OT)

Paige Hayward was on fire this week, scoring the tying goal from the spot in the draw with Arkansas-Pine Bluff and contributing an assist in the overtime win over Grambling State.

Nicholls State (Jess Coates, Kristy Helmers)

This week: defeated Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 2-1; lost 2-1 to Houston Baptist

Jess Coates started both contests and tallied a goal in each game for Nicholls State, whilst Kristy Helmers also started both games for the Colonels, playing 56 minutes against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and 63 minutes against Houston Baptist.

Wyoming (Alisha Bass, Annika Clayton, Jessie Gentle, Georgia Rowntree, Candace Sciberras)

This week: lost 3-1 to UNLV; defeated Nevada 2-0

Georgia Rowntree played two complete games this week, making seven saves against UNLV and three against Nevada, keeping a clean sheet in the latter game. Alisha Bass played 83 minutes against UNLV and 80 minutes against Nevada, and also tallied the opener with a header against Nevada. Jessie Gentle came off the bench in both games, playing 25 minutes against UNLV and 30 minutes against Nevada.

East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson)

This week: defeated Western Carolina 3-2

Isabel Hodgson played a full 90 minutes for East Tennessee State, and continued her recent excellent form with yet another assist, this time on Eleonora Goldini’s opener, but also picked up a late yellow card.

Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)

This week: defeated James Madison 1-0; defeated Towson 2-0

Emma Heckenberg continued her run in the starting lineup for Drexel, being part of the first eleven in both games this week. Heckenberg played 90 minutes against James Madison and 75 minutes in the win over Towson.

Western Carolina (Kate Swartwout)

This week: lost 3-2 to East Tennessee State

Kate Swartwout started for Western Carolina and played the full 90 minutes in the loss to East Tennessee State.

Troy (Alexandra Huynh)

This week: drew 0-0 with Georgia State; lost 2-1 to Georgia Southern (OT)

Alexandra Huynh played 102 minutes against Georgia State, tallying two shots, but did not feature against Georgia Southern.

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert)

This week: lost 1-0 to College of Charleston; lost 4-1 to UNC Wilmington

Emily Hulbert is still recovering from an injury sustained early in the season and unfortunately did not feature this week.

Southeast Missouri State (Maddy Cornell, Siena Senatore)

This week: drew 2-2 with Murray State; drew 1-1 with Austin Peay

Maddy Cornell came off the bench in both games this week, playing 43 minutes against Murray State and 55 minutes against Austin Peay, but Siena Senatore did not play this week.

Indiana (Julia De Angelis)

This week: lost 1-0 to Nebraska

Julia De Angelis started for Indiana and played 32 minutes in the loss to Nebraska.

LSU (Caitlin Cantrill)

This week: lost 3-0 to Florida

Caitlin Cantrill came off the bench for LSU in the loss to Florida.

Texas (Monique Iannella)

This week: lost 2-1 to Oklahoma State; lost 2-1 to Kansas

Monique Iannella started both games for Texas this week, playing 103 minutes against Oklahoma State and 87 minutes against Kansas, registering a shot against Oklahoma State.

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Jade Horcicka, Harriet Withers)

This week: drew 2-2 with Southeast Missouri State; defeated Tennessee-Martin 2-1

Nyomi Devine played two complete games this week, registering a single shot against Southeast Missouri State and two against Tennessee-Martin. Harriet Withers was the star for Murray State this week, scoring a goal in each game. Jade Horcicka did not feature for the Racers this week.

Iona (Kiri Dale)

This week: lost 1-0 to Fairfield

Kiri Dale started for Iona in the loss to Fairfield, registering a single shot.

Winthrop (Jai Jackson)

This week: lost 2-0 to Longwood

Jai Jackson started in midfield for Winthrop, playing the full 90 minutes and tallying a shot.

Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)

This week: defeated St Francis University 3-2 (OT)

Sam Roff started for Fairleigh Dickinson and played all 114 minutes of the overtime victory.

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

This week: defeated Saint Mary’s 1-0

Ellie Papalexiou is recovering from a minor knock and was unfortunately unavailable for selection this week.