2016 Player Previews

2016 will see a massive 33 Australians suiting up in NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer, an increase of 6 on last year and nearly double the number of players we saw in 2014. Ten of these players are freshmen, whilst one newcomer, Isobel Dalton, is an NAIA transfer from Lindsey Wilson College. With no less than 13 players, including 4 freshmen, possessing W-League experience and several others featuring for youth national teams, there is definitely plenty of Aussie talent in the college ranks this season.

Claire Urquhart (Sophomore, Defender, Albany, Brisbane)

Claire was used sparingly at Albany in 2015, but returns in 2016 ready to have more of an impact in defence. The Albany defence is exceedingly young this season, with four sophomores and one freshman comprising the five natural defenders in the squad, so opportunities may just open up for the sophomore from Brisbane. Claire played 5 games last season, starting in 2 of these contests, as Albany won the America East title before going down to eventual national champions Penn State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Isobel Dalton (Sophomore, Midfielder, Colorado, Sunshine Coast)

Isobel adds to the Australian contingent at Colorado following a season playing NAIA soccer in Kentucky with Lindsey Wilson College, helping the Blue Raiders to a national championship final berth. A former Brisbane Roar W-League player, Isobel has also played in England’s Women’s Super League for Bristol Academy before making the move to the US. Isobel played in 23 games for Lindsey Wilson, scoring 7 goals and also contributing a pair of assists for the Blue Raiders.

Kahlia Hogg (Senior, Defender/Midfielder, Colorado, Canberra)

Kahlia had an excellent first season for Colorado in 2014 after transferring from Florida State, and looked set to continue in the same vein in her senior season. Unfortunately, after starting in six games and playing an average of 85 minutes, Kahlia suffered an injury and was forced to sit out the remainder of the season. Fortunately, Kahlia has been awarded an additional season and will compete again as a senior in 2016, looking to make amends for 2015. One of the fittest players in the team, Kahlia averaged over 85 minutes of playing time per game in 2015, playing a full 90 minutes in four of her six games as Colorado conceded less than 0.7 goals per game with Kahlia on the pitch.

Emma Heckenberg (Sophomore, Midfielder, Drexel, Melbourne)

Emma made a reasonable if not spectacular start to her college career last season, featuring in 8 matches. The Victorian forward also started two of these games, both of which were conference games. The Drexel forward line is young, but features Vanessa Kara, who scored 11 goals last season, which represented almost half of the team’s offensive output. With Kara a lock to start again this season, Emma and the remaining forwards will be fighting for the other spot up front. Emma was a star in the classroom last season though, picking up the CAA Commissioner’s Academic Award.

Isabel Hodgson (Sophomore, Defender, East Tennessee State, Adelaide)

Isabel enjoyed a fantastic first season at East Tennessee State, quickly establishing herself as the team’s starting right back. A product of Adelaide United’s W-League team, Isabel played in all 19 games for the Buccaneers in 2015 as the team finished with a respectable 9-9-1 record. With star midfielder and Austrian national team player Sarah Zadrazil having graduated following the 2015 season, the returning starters will all have to step up if the Buccaneers are to be competitive again in 2016 and Isabel is no different.

Sam Roff (Freshman, Midfielder, Fairleigh Dickinson, Canberra)

One of four players from the same ACT Academy of Sport class to make the move to Division I this year, Sam links up with a fellow Australian at Fairleigh Dickinson, with assistant coach Julia Bazi hailing from Sydney. Primarily a midfielder but also with the ability to play in defence, Sam has been a member of the ACT Academy of Sport for three seasons and also trained with W-League club Canberra United before making the move to Fairleigh Dickinson. The Knights went 16-6 last season, winning the Northeast Conference title and only narrowly losing to Rutgers in the first round of the national tournament, going down 1-0. However, they have lost a massive ten seniors to graduation and star Canadian forward Rachel Hoekstra is transferring to Georgia Southern, taking with her 16 of the side’s 50 goals from last season, so expect this to be a rebuilding season for the team.

Emily Hulbert (Junior, Defender/Midfielder, Hofstra, Melbourne)

An instrumental part of Hofstra’s side for two seasons, Emily will again be part of a solid Hofstra side that will look to limit the damage of the graduation of English international and NWSL player Leah Galton, who was the star of the Pride team last season. Emily’s chances last season were slightly down from 2014, starting just 4 matches in comparison to the 14 she started two seasons ago. Nonetheless, the fullback was able to contribute enough to earn the 2015 College Matildas Defender of the Year award. With another season under her belt, she may just have enough in her locker to win the same award again.

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

An integral part of Canberra United’s W-League squad since 2014, Julia will no doubt be one of the top Australian freshmen in college this season as she joins an Indiana side desperate to improve on last seasons 3-10-6 record. Julia has represented Australia at several youth team levels and was also named Canberra United’s Rising Star in both 2014 and 2015. With a pair of midfield spots opening up in 2016 following the graduation of two players, Julia will certainly have the chance to earn a starting spot from the outset.

Kiri Dale (Sophomore, Defender, Iona, Mullumbimby)

One of no less than five Palm Beach products playing in Division I this season, Kiri unfortunately did not see any playing time in her freshman year, but that will surely just make her hungrier to make an impact in her sophomore year. Iona are yet to reveal their freshman class for 2016, but with only four natural defenders returning from last season, this may just be Kiri’s chance to shine and establish herself going forward for Iona. With the Gaels only winning 3 games last year and giving up 49 goals in 19 games, that defence is going to have to stand up this season if the team is to compete.

Caitlin Cantrill (Freshman, Midfielder, LSU, Canberra)

One of the first Australians to commit to a college amongst this year’s freshmen, Caitlin joins an LSU side looking to progress from last season’s SEC semi-final berth and a first round loss to South Alabama in the NCAA Tournament. They do have a slight issue though, that being the loss of nine players to graduation after the 2015 season. Whilst this may be a transition season of sorts for LSU, it also offers Caitlin the chance to see plenty of playing time from the outset. A former member of the Australian Under 17 national team, Caitlin is yet another of the ACT Academy of Sport graduates in this year’s freshman class.

Laura Johns (Senior, Forward, Massachusetts, Adelaide)

The 2015 College Matildas Breakout Player of the Year, Laura tallied the first goal of her college career last season and also notched four assists, a marked improvement on the total of one she managed in the previous two years. More notably, Laura transitioned from what had mainly been a rotational role off the bench to a starter for the majority of the 2015 season. One of four Australian seniors this year, Laura’s continued rise at Massachusetts may just make her the dark horse for the College Matildas Senior of the Year award this season.

Nyomi Devine (Junior, Defender, Murray State, Gold Coast)

A starter from the outset at Murray State, Nyomi was instrumental in keeping things tight at the back during last season’s perfect conference slate as Murray State won the Ohio Valley conference title. Whilst fellow Palm Beach product Harriet Withers may have received the accolades in 2015, there is no doubting that Nyomi was one of the key parts of the Racers’ defence which conceded just 22 goals in 21 games in 2015. Nyomi was also named to the Ohio Valley Conference All-Tournament team to go along with her championship ring.

Jade Horcicka (Freshman, Midfielder, Murray State, Gold Coast)

The newest member of the Palm Beach contingent at Murray State, Jade has not featured for the senior Palm Beach team nearly as much as both Nyomi Devine and Harriet Withers did before they moved on to college, but that doesn’t mean Jade doesn’t come with a solid pedigree. After a single appearance in the Palm Beach first team in 2015, Jade was a regular with the team in 2016 before leaving for college, and was also a mainstay of the Under 20s team last season. Jade has also played for the Queensland Schoolgirls side in 2014 and 2015. The Murray State midfield is burgeoning with players, but many are young and others are employed in other roles, so there may just be some playing time available for Jade early on. The early non-conference games will be telltale, though.

Harriet Withers (Junior, Forward, Murray State, Gold Coast)

Harriet enjoyed a solid first season for Murray State in 2014, scoring six goals and contributing 2 assists in 20 games. That was simply a precursor for an exceptional 2015 season which saw the striker win College Matildas Player Of The Year honours. Harriet banged home 11 goals and also tallied 7 assists as the Racers enjoyed a perfect Ohio Valley conference season before going down in a 1-0 loss to Ole Miss in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Harriet will need to have another season of similar ilk if Murray State are going to have a chance of repeating, as they lose 11 goals and 11 assists from last season through the graduation of Taylor Stevens and Marissa Burroughs.

Jess Coates (Senior, Midfielder, Nicholls State, Sydney)

A broken wrist put paid to what should have been a glorious senior season for Jess, but after a long wait has been awarded an additional season and will get the chance to play out a proper senior campaign. Jess’ attacking partner, Spencer Valdespino, has now graduated but that may open up a chance for Jess to combine with a fellow Australian, freshman Kristy Helmers, in her senior season. With seven assists in her junior year in 2014, expect Jess to once again be feeding the strikers perfectly – the only question from there is whether they can step up to fill the void left by Valdespino.

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

Kristy Helmers will be one of the Nicholls State forwards tasked with making up Spencer Valdespino’s 14 goal tally from last season. With only four recognised forwards in the Nicholls State squad this season, Kristy will no doubt be thrust into the action from the outset. One of four recent ACTAS graduates to be starting college this season, Kristy scored 12 goals in 14 appearances in last season’s Capital Football WPL, following up with 7 goals in 7 appearances this season.

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

A dreaded ACL injury put paid to Ellie’s season in 2015, but the fullback returns this season as a redshirt sophomore looking to showcase the kind of form that saw her enjoy a successful 2014 season with Pacific. With a new coach on board in Stockton, Ellie will be forced to prove herself once again, but was able to do this as a freshman and there’s no reason she won’t be able to do so again. Able to play either at left back or on the wing, this versatility should stand Ellie in good stead as she looks to earn back her starting position.

Price Keogh (Sophomore, Defender, San Francisco, Charlotte)

Price represents a slight change of pace amongst the 34 Australians in NCAA Division I this season in that she is actually from Charlotte, North Carolina. The 5’4 defender played in just the one game in her first season in San Francisco, but with two of the team’s starting defenders finishing their careers in 2015, opportunities will surely open up for Price. San Francisco had a reasonably solid year in 2015, finishing 13-4-3 and finishing in 2nd place in the West Coast Conference. Unfortunately, the WCC does not play a postseason tournament, denying the Dons an opportunity to secure a bid to the national tournament, with the team well out of the at-large picture.

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

Three becomes two with regards to the number of Australians at Southeast Missouri State following midfielder Jenna Collingridge’s graduation. Maddy Cornell is the more senior of the two, with the versatile fullback moving into her junior season in 2016. Maddy featured in 18 games in 2015, starting six of these, which is double the number of both appearances and starts that she saw in 2014. Maddy’s goal now will be to convert those 12 appearances off the bench into starts this year as Southeast Missouri State attempt to make a return trip to the Ohio Valley Conference championship game, with the aim this year to go one better than last year’s overtime loss to Murray State.

Siena Senatore (Sophomore, Defender, Southeast Missouri State, Canberra)

An Under 17 Australian representative before making the move to college, Siena took a few games to find her groove last season, but eventually became a vital part of the defence before suffering an injury late on in the season. After starting the first three games of the season, Siena came off the bench for a few weeks before being returned to the starting lineup as the Redhawks kept 4 clean sheets in a row in the space of 9 days. Siena sat for a couple of weeks with injury, but returns in 2016 ready to slot straight back into the starting lineup in the centre of defence.

Beattie Goad (Freshman, Midfielder, Stanford, Melbourne)

The undoubted star of the 2016 freshman class, Beattie already has a W-League title under her belt, having been an instrumental part of a Melbourne City side that finished undefeated in 2015/16. One of the best young Australian players, Beattie combined those football skills with outstanding academic achievement to open up the chance to play for Stanford, one of the most successful programs in NCAA women’s soccer. A pacy winger with excellent technical abilities, Beattie will face stiff competition for playing time from the likes of United States youth national team representatives Jordan DiBiasi and Andi Sullivan. However, Beattie has spent the year learning from some of the best players in the world, including Lisa De Vanna, and will push all the way for a spot in the lineup.

Alexandra Huynh (Senior, Defender, Troy, Sydney)

After three outstanding seasons at Colorado, Alexandra has this season made the move south to Troy for her senior year. A three year starter at Boulder, the centre back was almost ever-present for the Buffaloes save for an injury midway through her sophomore year. As a member of a Colorado defence that set school clean sheet records in 2015, Alexandra will no doubt be a vital part of the back line in her new team. Troy kept 10 clean sheets in winning 14 of 20 games last season, and with Alexandra now set to replace graduating stalwart Payton Donley in defence, Troy will be well placed to use defence as the foundation of a successful season in 2016.

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

The lone Australian player in the SWAC this season following the graduation of Alabama State’s Shelbi Vienna-Hallam, Paige transferred to Texas Southern in 2015 after a season of NAIA play, and immediately slotted into the team. Hayward played a full 90 minutes on six occasions last season, starting on all 17 occasions that she played. Hayward contributed 2 goals and 5 assists in 2015 as Texas Southern compiled an 8-11 record, going down to Alabama State in the first round of the SWAC Tournament. With no seniors amongst the forwards in 2015, Paige and her fellow strikers will have the opportunity to improve on last year’s output. They may have to if the team is to stay competitive, with last season’s starting goalkeeper and two defenders graduating after the 2015 season.

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

The scorer of the W-League’s 900th goal, Demi saw regular playing time for Western Sydney Wanderers last season but has now made the move to the Lone Star state to become Australia’s sole representative in the powerful Big 12 conference this season. Able to play in the midfield or up front, Demi is likely to be used in a more attacking role at Texas Tech. Demi will be part of the group tasked with replacing graduating Canadian national team player Janine Beckie, who is now playing with the NWSL’s Houston Dash.

Teagan Micah (Freshman, Goalkeeper, UCLA, Brisbane)

Teagan made the move from Brisbane to Western Sydney this past W-League season, but that was nothing in comparison to the jump the goalkeeper has made in 2016. UCLA have been one of the most successful programs of the last decade, winning a national title and producing players such as Lauren Holiday, Sydney Leroux, Samantha Mewis, Megan Oyster, Caprice Dydasco, Abby Dahlkemper, Sarah Killion, McCall Zerboni, Zakiya Bywaters, Lauren Barnes, and Katelyn Rowland. Teagan will have to fight for every minute of playing time, but with last season’s backup Arielle Schechtman making the move to Georgetown, it will now be a fight between 3 rather than 4 players for the starting spot.

Lulu Pullar (Freshman, Defender, USC, Brisbane)

Lulu had been on USC’s radar for over a year, and made the move to Los Angeles in January to get a headstart on her college career. Set to be used in either the back line or anchoring the midfield, Lulu has represented Australian Schoolgirls and has trained with Brisbane Roar’s W-League squad before moving to college. Having already seen plenty of playing time in USC’s spring friendlies, Lulu is well-placed to hit the ground running when competitive play starts in late August.

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

Originally from the Gold Coast but having learned her trade in Lake Norman, North Carolina, Kate’s new college isn’t actually all that far from home for the freshman. In a young side, but one that only lost a single defender to graduation after 2015, Kate’s ability to also play in midfield looks as if it may stand her in good stead as she vies for playing time in her freshman year. Not without goalscoring ability either, Kate once banged home a hat-trick in a single half playing up front for her club team in Lake Norman.

Jai Jackson (Sophomore, Midfielder, Winthrop, Toowoomba)

A rotational player early on in 2015, Jai finished her freshman season with a flourish, playing full games in each of Winthrop’s last six games as the Eagles finished with a 6-9-3 record, falling to Liberty in the first round of the Big South tournament. Primarily employed deeper in midfield, Jai has also shown a knack for getting forward when required, with her footballing IQ clearly amongst the best in the Winthrop squad. There is little doubt that Jai will reprise her role as an integral part of the Winthrop midfield going forward, with the Queenslander well placed to be a vital cog for her remaining three seasons.

Alisha Bass (Junior, Defender/Midfielder, Wyoming, Sydney)

Is she a midfielder? Is she a defender? Well, ask most people in the Sydney women’s soccer community and they’ll tell you Alisha is an attacking midfielder every day of the week and twice on Sunday. But ask people in Wyoming and they’ll tell you she’s a vital part of the Cowgirls’ defence that helped the team compile a 10-6-4 record before falling in the first round of the Mountain West tournament to Colorado College. Alisha also tallied a pair of goals last season and notched an assist, proving that she still has the attacking instincts that saw her represent Australia at youth level. With no seniors in the 2015 squad, Wyoming have a real chance to build on last year’s successes and become a real force in the Mountain West this season.

Annika Clayton (Sophomore, Midfielder, Wyoming, Sydney)

A starter in 14 games in 2015, Annika featured in all 20 of Wyoming’s contests last season, notching two goals and an assist from midfield in her freshman campaign. Whilst her tangible stats are not out of this world, Annika certainly did enough to average over an hour of playing time per game by the end of last season, with the Wyoming coaching staff clearly impressed by the Sydneysider. With Wyoming’s squad barely changing from last season, Annika should see at least as much time on the field in 2016 as the Cowgirls attempt to build on last season’s 10 wins.

Jessie Gentle (Sophomore, Forward, Wyoming, Woolgoolga)

Like Annika Clayton, Jessie joined Wyoming last season and played in all 20 games, starting in 16. Lining up on the wing for the most part, Jessie averaged over 70 minutes per game, tallying a single assist on Laurel Ramer’s opener against Hawaii in a 2-2 draw early on in the season. Jessie will be looking to create a more tangible impact this season, but has clearly shown that she has the ability to be a major part of the Wyoming side in 2016.

Georgia Rowntree (Junior, Goalkeeper, Wyoming, Sydney)

A starter in 16 games in 2015, Georgia shared the goalkeeping responsibilities with local player Cassidy Entsminger last season and things appear set to stay the same in 2016. Conceding an average of just a single goal per game, Georgia notched a .786 save percentage in 2015, representing an improvement on 2014’s 1.20 goals conceded per game, but with an identical save percentage. However, the most notable of Georgia’s stats was her minutes played. After playing 9 games and earning 451 minutes of playing time in 2014, Georgia played 810 minutes in 2015 as she and Entsminger established themselves as an excellent pairing in goal. Running unopposed for Goalkeeper of the Year for the last two seasons, Georgia has competition for the first time, in the form of UCLA’s Teagan Micah.

Candace Sciberras (Junior, Midfielder, Wyoming, Sydney)

Candace came to Wyoming in 2013 alongside Alisha Bass, but has followed a slightly different course since that time. The winger suffered an ACL injury and was forced to sit out most of the 2015 season after a promising start to the season which saw Candace start the first five games of the campaign. With very little change to the Wyoming roster, expect to see Candace back in the rotation this season and hopefully earning back that starting spot that she had rightfully claimed before last season’s injury.


Week 8 Wrap

The big Aussie v Aussie matchup between Colorado and Washington State didn’t disappoint, as Tia Gavin scored her second goal of the season, and it was a cracker. Elsewhere, Murray State set a school record for best start to a conference season and Alabama State put themselves right in the mix for the conference regular season title.

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert)

This week’s results: defeated Towson 2-1 (2OT), drew with James Madison 1-1 (2OT)

Hofstra’s campaign for an at-large national tournament bid took a hit this weekend with a draw against James Madison, but the side remain well in the hunt at this stage thanks to a win against Towson. It didn’t come easy though, as the lowly rated Towson scrapped and held on and forced overtime against the more favoured Pride. Early on, it looked as if it would be smooth sailing for Hofstra as Jenn Buoncore scored in the 19th minute. However, despite outshooting Towson 10-4 in the first half, Hofstra couldn’t find a second goal. It would go on to cost them, too, as an even more lopsided shot count in the second half only served to see the Pride waste a number of chances and Towson score an equaliser in the 75th minute. Thankfully, Hofstra were not punished for their inefficiency as Jill Mulholland netted a winner in the 102nd minute. It was an oddly similar story against James Madison, as Hofstra once again outshot their opponents, this time 19-8. However, this time neither team could score until late, and it was James Madison who opened the scoring in the 82nd minute. You can never count out a team with Leah Galton though, and the English striker tied things up just two minutes later. Overtime couldn’t split them, and it finished 1-1, a result that will surely frustrate Hofstra. Emily Hulbert came off the bench in both games, playing 19 minutes against Towson and a solid 40 minutes against James Madison.

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

This week’s results: drew with New Mexico 0-0, lost to San Diego State 2-1

It was always going to be a tough week for Wyoming this week, but the Cowgirls did manage to secure a draw from their first game. Remarkably, Wyoming came out of the gates firing, outshooting New Mexico 8-1 in the first half, but were unable to find a goal. Things really tightened up in the second half, with neither team managing many quality chances and at the end of the day, a draw was always the most likely result as the sides largely cancelled each other out. San Diego State offered more of a challenge to the Cowgirls, and it showed as Wyoming were only able to manage four shots in 90 minutes, compared to the Aztecs’ 12. Despite this, all the scoring came in a 13 minute period early in the game. Angela Mitchell opened the scoring for San Diego State in the 12th minute, before Aussie freshman Annika Clayton steered home Shaina Ashouri’s corner for the equaliser just 8 minutes later. It didn’t stay even for long though, as Mitchell put San Diego State ahead in the 24th minute, and the score remained 2-1 until fulltime. All four available Aussies started both games, with Georgia Rowntree playing the first 45 minutes in both games and the others playing the majority of minutes in both games, with Alisha Bass playing all 200 minutes of game time over the weekend.

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)

This week’s results: defeated Belmont 1-0, defeated Jacksonville State 1-0

Murray State moved to 5-0 in Ohio Valley Conference play for the first time in their history thanks to victories this weekend over Belmont and Jacksonville State. It was one of the most fortunate victories you’ll see all season against Belmont, too. The Racers had just seven shots to Belmont’s 14, only two of them were on target, and the chance that led to the lone goal came from a deflection off a Belmont defender, an 18th minute goal to Taylor Stevens. Still, Murray State were the side that took their chance, whereas Belmont couldn’t convert on any of their 14 chances. The more dominant Murray State side that we’ve come to see this season was back in action against Jacksonville State. The Racers had 16 shots, and Jacksonville State could only trouble the Racers’ goalkeeper three times throughout the entire match. It did take until the 68th minute for Murray State to break the deadlock courtesy of a goal to Marissa Burroughs, but they were rarely troubled in this one. Nyomi Devine played the full 90 minutes in both games this weekend, whilst Harriet Withers had an oddly quiet weekend, but played 66 minutes against Belmont and 56 minutes against Jacksonville State.

Colorado (Kahlia Hogg, Alexandra Huynh)

This week’s results: drew with Washington 1-1 (2OT), lost to Washington State 3-0

Colorado welcomed the two Washington Pac-12 schools to Boulder this weekend, but the guests were less than gracious as the Buffaloes finished the weekend without a win. Colorado perhaps just edged the run of play against Washington, but were left chasing an equaliser early as they conceded a goal to Kimberley Keever in just the 11th minute. Still down 1-0 at halftime, the Buffaloes peppered the Washington goal in the second half, and it paid dividends as Heather Ward scored from a Joss Orejel corner in the 58th minute. 11 shots in the second half for Colorado couldn’t find a second goal, and the game proceeded to overtime. Washington then came out and gave Colorado some of their own medicine, but couldn’t find a winner and it finished 1-1. Things weren’t quite so close against Washington State, an Aussie v Aussie matchup between Alex Huynh and Tia Gavin. The Cougars took their chances early, scoring in the 15th and 17th minutes through Kaitlyn Johnson and Kourtney Guetlein. The Buffaloes outshot Washington State 20-9, but it was Washington State who put their shots out of the keeper’s reach, and there wouldn’t be many goalkeepers in college soccer who could have saved Tia Gavin’s curling effort into the top corner in the 71st minute to seal a 3-0 win for Washington State. Alex Huynh played all 110 minutes against Washington, before playing 53 minutes against Washington State.

Washington State (Tia Gavin)

This week’s results: defeated Utah 1-0, defeated Colorado 3-0

Washington State kept their stellar season going with two shutout victories on the road this weekend. First up, they played Utah in a game that saw the Cougars play a game of “score early and hang on”. A looping header from Kaitlyn Johnson in the 9th minute was enough to give Washington State a win as they could only get 4 shots on target for the entire game. Fortunately, Utah could only get five on target and goalkeeper Ella Dederick was up to the task on all occasions. Then came the game against Colorado, where Tia Gavin faced off against fellow Colorado’s own Aussie, junior defender Alex Huynh. A slightly leaky Washington State defence gave up 11 shots on target to Colorado, but once again Dederick was up to the task. Two goals in three minutes early on from Kaitlyn Johnson and Kourtney Guetlein put the Cougars out to an early lead, and with Dederick appearing to turn herself into a human wall of some sort, two seemed to be enough. But Tia Gavin was having none of that – a curling effort from the top left corner of the box into the top right corner left Colorado goalkeeper Scout Watson with zero chance, and took the score to 3-0, which is how the game finished. That goal came as part of a 29 minute cameo off the bench for Tia, after playing just 7 minutes against Utah.

Winthrop (Jai Jackson)

This week’s result: lost to Coastal Carolina 5-1

Winthrop were always the underdogs in this game against Coastal Carolina, but nobody quite expected the Chanticleers to rack up five goals in an absolute drubbing. After going down 1-0 on the 15 minute mark, Winthrop really shot themselves in the foot as they gave up a penalty just three minutes later, which was duly converted by Coastal Carolina’s Darbie Kelley. A third goal before the half-hour mark for Coastal Carolina meant the game was slipping away from Winthrop’s grasp at a rapid rate, but a goal in just the second minute of the second half gave the Eagles life. Unfortunately, that was as close as the Eagles would come, as Coastal Carolina once again scored two quick goals in the 73rd and 74th minutes to seal a 5-1 win. Jai Jackson came off the bench for Winthrop as usual, but was limited to just 27 minutes in this match.

Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)

This week’s result: lost to Delaware 1-0

Drexel slipped to their second consecutive loss and to a 1-4 record in conference play with this loss to Delaware in a match they had more than their fair share of chances in. Unfortunately, despite outshooting Delaware 6-5 in the first half, the Dragons couldn’t actually test the opposition goalkeeper but some good work from the defence kept the score tied at 0-0 going into the break. Delaware did eventually break the deadlock in the 58th minute as Drexel’s attempts to stop Natalie Zelenky could only last so long as she buried her 9th goal of the season. Drexel did manage to test the Blue Hens’ goalkeeper three times in the second half, but the game fairly petered out and finished 1-0. Emma Heckenberg’s topsy-turvy season continued as the freshman saw 22 minutes of playing time, registering a single shot.

East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson)

This week’s results: drew with Mercer 1-1 (2OT), defeated The Citadel 8-0

East Tennessee dropped their first result of the conference season with a draw against Mercer, but remain undefeated at 5-1 thanks to an 8-0 dismantling of The Citadel in their second match of the weekend. All the scoring came in the early parts against Mercer, as the Buccaneers went down 1-0 in the 13th minute despite dominating the play. East Tennessee State bounced back quickly though as a 21st minute goal from Molly Collinson tied things up. East Tennessee State dominated throughout the match, outshooting Mercer 19-7 but somehow couldn’t find another goal. To be fair, they didn’t give themselves as many chances as they should have, with only 7 shots on target. Perhaps they were saving their goals for the second game of the match, as the Buccaneers scored four goals in the first 10 minutes to put the result out of The Citadel’s grasp early on. An own goal in the 38th minute took the score to 5-0, and then, just for good measure, ETSU knocked home another three in the second half to give the side an 8-0 win on Senior Day. Isabel Hodgson played all 110 minutes against Mercer, but with some of the seniors being given more of a run on their big day, played 45 against The Citadel.

Alabama State (Shelbi Vienna-Hallam)

This week’s results: defeated Southern 6-0, defeated Jackson State 2-0

After last week’s slightly underwhelming performance in a loss to Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Alabama State hit back in the best way possible with two solid wins. The Hornets were always expected to put Southern to the sword, but a 6-0 win is a turn-up for the books in anyone’s language. Aaliyah Lewis opened the scoring in the 10th minute, before Aussie senior Shelbi Vienna-Hallam headed home for the Hornets’ second seven minutes later. Souhern were able to keep Alabama State out for the remainder of the first half, but the Hornets came out firing again in the second half. Larissa White scored just two minutes after the break, before Aaliyah Lewis added her second in the 53rd minute. Ariela Lewis and Mooregan Elder added to the Jaguars’ misery later in the second half to give the Hornets a 6-0 victory. Beating Southern 6-0 is one thing, but beating James Madison is another story entirely. In a match that saw the two sides combine for 38 shots, it was Emily Fleming who did the damage for Alabama State. The Canadian freshman scored twice in the first 15 minutes of the second half, assisted both times by Ariela Lewis, to give the Hornets a vital victory as they continue their hunt for the SWAC regular season title. Shelbi Vienna-Hallam played 90 minutes in both games, scoring the second goal against Southern.

Massachusetts (Laura Johns)

This week’s result: lost to George Washington 1-0

Massachusetts managed to keep things close as underdogs against George Washington, but in the end they couldn’t quite manage to get the win and saw their record fall to 4-5-3. It was a very even contest for the majority of the first half, but as things wound down, George Washington scored the only goal of the game as Nicole Belfonti directed a corner home in the 41st minute for the only goal of the game. Massachusetts found chances hard to come by in the second half as they chased an equaliser as they were only able to get three shots away in the final 45 minutes. Laura Johns came off the bench but only saw 22 minutes of playing time, managing to register one shot on target.

Player Of The Year Points:

3: Shelbi Vienna-Hallam (Alabama State)
2: Tia Gavin (Washington State)
1: Annika Clayton (Wyoming)

Week 6 Wrap

It was a good week for our Pac-12 Aussies, as Washington State and Colorado both picked up big wins to kick off conference play. The biggest result of the weekend, however, may have come in Montgomery where Alabama State knocked off conference favourites Howard where the only boilover bigger than the result was the emotional boilover.

East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson)

This week’s results: defeated VMI 2-0, defeated UNC Greensboro 3-1

East Tennessee State started conference play 2 from 2 with clinical victories over VMI and UNC Greensboro. The Buccaneers demolished VMI everywhere but on the scoresheet, with 25 shots only leading to 8 on target, and only 2 goals, which came in the 13th and 60th minutes. The Buccaneers were slightly more accurate in their second match of the weekend, unleashing 28 shots at UNC Greensboro, with 13 on target. It’s no surprise that they managed 3 goals, scoring early on through Simona Koren before notching two more in the second half. UNC Greensboro did manage one of their own, but this game belonged to ETSU. Isabel Hodgson registered three shots, but was forced off after 62 minutes against VMI after copping an elbow to the ribs, The freshman shook it off to play a full match against UNC Greensboro though, tallying another shot in that match.

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

This week’s results: lost to San Jose State 1-0 (OT), defeated Fresno State 3-0

Wyoming split a pair of games this week, but to put a positive spin on it, the win was far more convincing than the loss. The Cowgirls were outshot 13-7 by San Jose State, but managed to hold on for overtime courtesy of three saves each from Georgia Rowntree and Cassidy Entsminger. However, they couldn’t hang on for the extra period, giving up the game winner in the 97th minute. The game against Fresno State brought much more positivity, and it was Aussie freshman Annika Clayton who opened the scoring with her first collegiate goal in the 17th minute. Summer Halle added a second just before halftime as the Cowgirls outshot the Bulldogs 7-0 in the first half. Fresno State did manage 4 shots in the second half, but only two managed to trouble the goalkeeper, whilst Taylor Burton added a third goal for Wyoming in the 68th minute to seal the win. Three of the four available Aussies started both games, whilst Annika Clayton did enough against San Jose State to secure a starting spot against Fresno State, and given her performance, she may have secured it for a few games to come.

Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)

This week’s results: lost to UNC Wilmington 3-2, lost to College of Charleston 2-1

Drexel may have lost both games this weekend, but can still hold their heads high after close battles in both. Coming into the game against UNC Wilmington as distinct underdogs, and a slow start from the Dragons proved to be their downfall, with their opponents scoring twice in the first 7 minutes to set up the victory. Drexel got the margin back within one on two occasions, but couldn’t find an equaliser. It was the opposite story against College of Charleston – the Dragons scored in the fourteenth minute but gave up two second half goals and the win despite outshooting their opponents 12-9. Most importantly though, Emma Heckenberg started both games and played a total of 140 minutes. Prior to this weekend, Emma had come off the bench in only five of the Dragons’ games and played a total of 84 minutes.

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert)

This week’s results: defeated William and Mary 2-1, defeated Elon 2-0

Hofstra got their conference title-chasing campaign off to a solid start with two wins against a couple of the better sides in the CAA. First up were William and Mary, and Hofstra showed their intentions early as Leah Galton scored the opener just 11 minutes in. Galton added a second early in the second half, but William and Mary weren’t going to lie down and got one back in the 61st minute. That was as close as they would come, though, as the Pride managed to hold on for the win. Elon also provided a challenger, but Hofstra were slightly more clinical in this one. After taking the lead after a goal line scramble in the 2nd minute, the Pride never let up and allowed Elon just two shots on target throughout the entire game. Leah Galton’s 9th goal of the season just after an hour of play sealed the win for the Pride. Emily Hulbert came off the bench in both games, playing 23 minutes against William and Mary and 33 minutes against Elon.

Southeast Missouri State (Jenna Collingridge, Maddy Cornell, Siena Senatore)

This week’s results: drew with SIU Edwardsville 0-0 (2OT), defeated Eastern Illinois 5-0

Southeast Missouri State’s defence came to the fore yet again as they made it 3 consecutive clean sheets in Division I play, and four if you include the game against Division II Union. Unfortunately, in a battle of last year’s conference regular season co-champions, the attack didn’t provide quite the same ruthlessness as the Redhawks were outshot 10-6 in a 0-0 draw. Clearly they were saving something for Eastern Illinois as they smashed 23 shots at the Panthers’ goalkeeper, with 12 of those ending up on target. The Redhawks got things started quickly, scoring twice in the first 6 minutes, but couldn’t find another goal for the remainder of the first half. Two of their own, plus an own goal from Eastern Illinois in the second half led to a massive 5-0 win. Siena Senatore played all 200 minutes this weekend, whilst Maddy Cornell came off the bench in both games and Jenna Collingridge also came off the bench against Eastern Illinois.

Alabama State (Shelbi Vienna-Hallam)

This week’s result: defeated Howard 1-0

In a more than surprising result, Alabama State picked up their first win of the season against conference favourites and defending champions Howard. The Hornets had conceded 27 goals in their previous three games, but Gianna Guyot was huge for the home side, making ten saves. The only goal of the game came just shy of the hour mark courtesy of Aaliyah Lewis, but the final 15 minutes brought the real talking points – four players saw red in two separate incidents in the 78th and 81st minutes to leave each team with just 9 players on the field. Shelbi Vienna-Hallam once again played a full 90 minutes, registering two shots but neither was on target.

Winthrop (Jai Jackson)

This week’s result: defeated Gardner-Webb 2-1

Winthrop showed Gardner-Webb why it’s important to take your chances, as they were outshot 19-12 by the Runnin’ Bulldogs, but scored two goals on five shots on target compared with their opponents’ solitary goal on nine shots on target. Gardner-Webb did take the lead after 13 minutes, but let their guard down for just four minutes late in the first half and that was it. Two goals for Winthrop were enough as Gardner-Webb squandered chances throughout. Jai Jackson came off the bench but came on early and ended up playing 57 minutes.

Albany (Claire Urquhart)

This week: drew with UMBC 1-1 (2OT)

Albany gave themselves a reasonable chance to win against UMBC, but couldn’t quite find the goal to break the tie. They really only had themselves to blame for dropping a lead that they earned in the 76th minute, as just two minutes later they allowed UMBC an equaliser. UMBC only had 2 shots on target for the entire game to Albany’s 9, but at the end of the day each team could only get one past the goalkeeper and the spoils were shared. Unfortunately, Claire Urquhart did not see any playing time in this game.

Creighton (Anastasia McCleary)

This week’s result: lost to Marquette 5-1

Creighton were always going to be up against it in this match against Marquette, but they will still be disappointed with a heavy 5-1 loss. Especially frustrating for the Bluejays will be the fact that they took the lead in the 8th minute through Ylenia Sachau and didn’t concede an equaliser until the 38th. In fact, with 13 minutes to play it was still 2-1 Marquette. A penalty in the 78th minute made the scoreline 3-1 and from there Creighton really just fell apart, conceding another two as they allowed the scoreline to blow out and make themselves look a lot worse than they really are. Anastasia McCleary did manage to get on the field in this game, but played just the nine minutes.

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)

This week: lost to Saint Louis 2-0

After getting their Ohio Valley slate off to a good start last week, this oddly scheduled non-conference game against Saint Louis unfortunately ended in a loss for Murray State. In what was probably a fair result, the Racers were outshot 16-11, but could only get 3 of those 11 on target. Saint Louis, on the other hand, maybe should have scored more as they put 13 shots on target. As it turned out, though, 2 goals were enough as 28th and 58th minute strikes proved to be decisive. Nyomi Devine and Harriet Withers both played a full 90 minutes, with Harriet managing two shots. However, like most of the Racers’ shots, these were off the mark.

Washington State (Tia Gavin)

This week’s result: defeated Arizona State 2-1

Washington State lost their perfect record last week when they went down to Portland, but bounced right back this weekend with a win over Arizona State. It didn’t come easy though – the Cougars were outshot FIFTEEN TO ONE in the first half, with goalkeeper Ella Dederick making 8 saves. Come the second half, things changed slightly. Two goals in the first seven minutes, both courtesy of Kourtney Guetlein, put things firmly in Washington State’s favour. They made the fans sweat though, as Arizona State got one back in the 66th minute and continued from there to bring wave after wave of attack. The Cougars held on for the win though, and now sit at 8-1. Tia Gavin had 24 minutes off the bench, causing problems for the Arizona State defence but not managing a shot.

Colorado (Kahlia Hogg, Alex Huynh)

This week’s result: defeated California 2-1 (OT)

California came into Boulder as one of the perceived strongest teams in the nation, but left with their tails between their legs as the Buffaloes snatched a 2-1 win in overtime. After a goalless opening to the first half, the visitors opened the scoring in the 38th minute through Lynsey Hromatko, but Colorado hit back almost immediately as Brittney Stark scored her third goal of the season just 75 seconds later. Despite this flurry of goals, no more were forthcoming throughout the remaining 50 minutes of the game and the sides were forced to overtime. The first 10 minutes couldn’t separate the sides, but in the 106th minute Emily Paxton slotted home the winner for the upset win. Alex Huynh played the full game in defence as Colorado denied star California striker Arielle Ship an on-target shot in the 100 minutes she played.

Player Of The Year Points:

3: Annika Clayton (Wyoming)
Harriet Withers (Murray State)*
1: Siena Senatore (Southeast Missouri State)

*Harriet Withers’ points come predominantly from her goalscoring performance against Eastern Kentucky in midweek.

2015 Signing Period Recap

It’s now been three months since National Signing Day, and the majority of teams have released their signing classes. This year, seven new players will replace the three seniors who graduated after the 2014 season, taking the player total to 21 for this season. Four of the six players will be joining teams that either currently or previously have had Australians playing for them, with the remaining two players becoming the first Australians to play for their respective teams.

Wyoming have once again stacked up on the Aussies, with the current trio of Alisha Bass, Georgia Rowntree, and Candace Sciberras being joined by two more Aussies: Sydney University midfielder Annika Clayton, and Jessie Gentle, who hails from Woolgoolga on the NSW Mid-North Coast.

Also adding to their list of Aussies are the Redhawks of Southeast Missouri State, whose trio of Jenna Collingridge, Bridget Sankey, and Maddy Cornell will become a quartet with the addition of Canberra’s Australian Under 17 national team defender Siena Senatore.

One team who is reloading on the Aussie front is Washington State, the former home of ex-Matildas player Rachael Doyle. The Cougars, who play in arguably the best conference in the nation, the PAC-12, have signed Western Sydney Wanderers and Manly United striker Tia Gavin. Tia played on the Football NSW Institute side that won NPLNSW Women’s 1 in 2014, and her form saw her earn a W-League contract for the most recent season.

Claire Urquhart has signed with the University of Albany, and is already over in the US training with her new team, whereas most other players will not be joining until August. The age group national team midfielder is the first Australian to play for Albany.

Adelaide’s Dylan Holmes, who has represented the Young Matildas and played for Adelaide United in the W-League, has committed to Colgate, a team that is definitely on the rise despite being controversially omitted from the NCAA Tournament last season. Players like Dylan will only help Colgate’s cause over the next four years.

Our final addition to the college scene this year is Melbourne’s Emma Heckenberg, who will be joining Drexel in Philadelphia. Emma spent the 2014 season playing alongside Hofstra’s Emily Hulbert at Monbulk in the Victorian Women’s Premier League, and the two will now be conference rivals as Drexel and Hofstra both play in the Colonial Athletic Association.

We’ll be taking a closer look at the new players soon, but in the meantime, if there are any players we’ve missed, don’t hesitate to let us know!