2017 Week 9 Wrap

Once again, it was a week of assists for the Aussies, with a number of players teeing up teammates for goals. However, the top performance of the week belonged to Paige Hayward, who rewrote the Texas Southern record books with some outstanding play.

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Paige Hayward was the undisputed star of the week, leading her Texas Southern team to a pair of comprehensive wins. In a game where all four goals came inside the first 31 minutes, Hayward scored the final of goal of the contest in a 3-1 win over Alcorn State after the Braves had earlier pulled back an early Texas Southern lead. However, it would be Hayward’s performance against Mississippi Valley State that would be the pièce du résistance. The senior knocked home two goals and set up a third in the first half, before completing a hat-trick just inside the hour mark in an 8-1 demolition of the Delta Devils. Hayward’s efforts over the weekend secured her the Texas Southern career records for assists and points, and leaves her tied for the career record in goalscoring.

Emma Heckenberg’s performances in her time in college have more often than not suggested that her role is a no-nonsense one where the Drexel junior gets her job done without the limelight that others may receive. However, one moment in Drexel’s win over College of Charleston could not have been more antithetic to that storyline. With the teams locked at 0-0 in the second minute of golden goal overtime, Heckenberg delivered an assist on the winning goal to lock up a senior day win for the Dragons and in the process clinch back-to-back conference tournament berths for the first time in program history.

Staying in the Colonial Athletic Association, Hofstra continued their domination of the league this week with a pair of wins over Northeastern and Elon, with Monique Iannella yet again vital to the team’s success. With Hofstra being outshot by Northeastern but managing to keep the game tied at 0-0, Iannella delivered in a corner that was met first by Jenn Buoncore before being directed home by Lucy Porter for the game’s only goal as the Pride secured a 1-0 win. Emily Hulbert also played 85 minutes against Northeastern despite suffering a world-class black eye, and both Iannella and Hulbert played the full 90 minutes in the win over Elon, with each registering shots.

Grand Canyon freshman Sandra Hill also popped up with an assist this week. In a 7-0 demolition of Chicago State, Hill was afforded a season-high 51 minutes, and delivered the assist on the team’s final goal of the game, sending in a cross which was promptly sent into the back of the net to cap a quite spectacular day of goalscoring for the Antelopes. Hill also came off the bench in the team’s second game of the week, playing ten minutes in a 1-0 win over UMKC.

It was a tough weekend for Wyoming, who went down 3-1 to both Utah State and Boise State, but there was still a taste of personal success for senior Alisha Bass. Things looked good for Wyoming after Bass set up Michaela Stark for the opener against Utah State in the 13th minute, but a 54th minute equaliser coupled with two late goals condemned the Cowgirls to defeat. Bass then delivered a cross for Summer Halle’s 62nd minute equaliser against Boise State. Unfortunately, Boise State re-established their lead just 45 seconds later, and put the game to bed with a third goal in the 80th minute.

Harriet Withers surprisingly went all weekend without a goal, but that didn’t mean the senior didn’t have an impact for Murray State. With 11 minutes to play against Austin Peay, the score remained 0-0 and the game looked destined for overtime. However, Withers delivered in a corner which was met by Miyah Watford and directed into the back of the net for a late lead which the Racers were able to preserve until the final whistle.

Player Of The Year Points:

3: Paige Hayward (Texas Southern)
2: Alisha Bass (Wyoming)
1: Monique Iannella (Hofstra)

Complete Results:

Albany (Claire Urquhart)

This week: defeated Vermont 1-0; defeated Maine 4-1

Claire Urquhart started and played 66 minutes against Vermont, registering a single shot, but did not feature in the win over Maine.

Central Connecticut State (Lauren Featherstone)

This week: defeated St Francis 1-0; defeated Robert Morris 1-0

Lauren Featherstone did not feature in either game for Central Connecticut State this week.

Colorado (Isobel Dalton)

This week: lost 2-0 to USC

Isobel Dalton did not feature for Colorado in their loss to USC.

Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)

This week: defeated College of Charleston 1-0 (OT)

Emma Heckenberg started for Drexel, played all 91 minutes, and delivered the assist for the overtime game winner in a Senior Day win for the Dragons.

East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson)

This week: lost 3-0 to Wofford; lost 5-0 to Furman

Isabel Hodgson started both games for East Tennessee State this week, rattling off 8 shots, of which four were on target, in a 90 minute performance against Wofford, before playing 79 minutes in the loss to Furman.

Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)

This week: defeated Bryant 2-0

Sam Roff started and played her regular full game in defence for Fairleigh Dickinson, helping the team to its fourth clean sheet in five games.

Grambling State (Priya Gakhar)

This week: defeated Alabama State 2-0; defeated Alabama A&M 4-0

Priya Gakhar came off the bench in both games this week, playing 11 minutes against Alabama State and a healthy 51 minutes against Alabama A&M.

Grand Canyon (Sandra Hill)

This week: defeated Chicago State 7-0; lost 1-0 to UMKC

Sandra Hill came off the bench in both games this week, playing 51 minutes against Chicago State and tallying the first assist of her college career on Grand Canyon’s final, before making a 10 minute cameo against UMKC.

Hawaii (Kiri Dale)

This week: defeated UC Santa Barbara 2-1; lost 2-1 to Cal State Northridge

Kiri Dale played the full 90 minutes in both contests this week, registering a shot against Cal State Northridge.

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert, Monique Iannella)

This week: defeated Northeastern 1-0; defeated Elon 2-0

Both Emily Hulbert and Monique Iannella started both games this week. Hulbert played 85 minutes against Northeastern and the full 90 minutes against Elon, registering two shots in the latter contest. Iannella played the full 90 minutes on both occasions, tallying an assist against Northeastern and a shot on target against Elon.

La Salle (Claudia Jenkins)

This week: defeated St. Bonaventure 2-0; defeated Fordham 1-0

Claudia Jenkins did not feature in either game for La Salle this week.

LSU (Caitlin Cantrill)

This week: lost 1-0 to Arkansas; lost 4-0 to UCF

Caitlin Cantrill did not feature against Arkansas, but came off the bench to play 30 minutes against UCF.

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)

This week: defeated Austin Peay 1-0; defeated Belmont 1-0

Nyomi Devine played the full 90 minutes for Murray State in both games this week, registering a shot against Austin Peay and three attempts at goal in the win over Belmont. Harriet Withers unleashed three shots against Austin Peay in 73 minutes, and tallied an assist in a 79 minute effort against Belmont.

Nicholls State (Tenille Harberger, Kristy Helmers)

This week: drew 0-0 with Sam Houston State; lost 3-0 to Stephen F. Austin

Kristy Helmers started both games this week, playing 65 minutes and registering two shots against Sam Houston State, before playing 28 minutes in the loss to Stephen F. Austin. Tenille Harberger did not feature in either game this week.

Old Dominion (Gaby Bentley)

This week: drew 1-1 with Southern Miss; drew 1-1 with Louisiana Tech

Gaby Bentley came off the bench for Old Dominion on both occasions this week, registering a shot in each contest.

Oregon State (Olivia Ellis)

This week: lost 2-0 to Arizona

Olivia Ellis did not feature for Oregon State in the loss to Arizona.

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

This week: lost 2-0 to BYU

Ellie Papalexiou came off the bench for Pacific in the loss to BYU, making a short 3 minute cameo as the senior continues her return to full fitness.

St. Francis (Shelby Milton)

This week: lost 1-0 to Central Connecticut State (OT); lost 2-0 to Wagner

Shelby Milton did not feature for St. Francis in the loss to Central Connecticut State, but came off the bench to play 12 minutes against Wagner.

Southeast Missouri State (Maddy Cornell)

This week: defeated Eastern Illinois 3-0; defeated SIU Edwardsville 4-1

Maddy Cornell started both games this week, playing 44 minutes against Eastern Illinois and 49 minutes against SIU Edwardsville, also tallying a shot in the latter contest.

Stanford (Beattie Goad)

This week: defeated Washington 1-0

Beattie Goad did not feature for Stanford in the win over Washington.

Texas Southern (Paige Hayward)

This week: defeated Alcorn State 3-1; defeated Mississippi Valley State 8-1

Paige Hayward played the full 90 minutes against Alcorn State, slotting a goal in the process, before tallying a hat-trick and an assist against Mississippi Valley State on her way to securing career records for both goals and points for Texas Southern.

Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis)

This week: lost 1-0 to Oklahoma State

Demi Koulizakis came off the bench for Texas Tech in the loss to Oklahoma State, playing two minutes.

UCLA (Teagan Micah)

This week: defeated Utah 2-1

Teagan Micah played the full 90 minutes for UCLA but was only forced into a single save.

Western Carolina (Kate Swartwout)

This week: lost 2-1 to Furman (OT); defeated Wofford 4-0

Kate Swartwout did not feature for Western Carolina against Furman, but came off the bench in the win over Wofford, playing 33 minutes.

William & Mary (Lorena Bugden)

This week: defeated UNC Wilmington 2-1; lost 4-2 to Northeastern

Lorena Bugden did not feature for William & Mary this week as she continues to return to fitness following injury.

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

This week: lost 3-1 to Utah State; lost 3-1 to Boise State

Georgia Rowntree was between the sticks for all 180 minutes this week, making seven saves against Utah State and another one against Boise State. Alisha Bass was outstanding, tallying an assist on both of Wyoming’s goals this week, playing 85 minutes against Utah State and 74 minutes against Boise State. Annika Clayton started both games this week, playing 44 minutes against Utah State and 48 minutes against Boise State. Jessie Gentle started and played 75 minutes against Utah State before coming off the bench against Boise State to play 59 minutes and register a shot, whilst Jemma House came off the bench to play 45 minutes against Utah State and 59 minutes against Boise State, tallying a shot in the process.

2017 Week 9 Preview

As we move into the final few weeks of the regular season, teams are scrambling for position in their respective conferences, and the teams featuring Aussies are no exception. Hofstra and Murray State attempt to continue their run towards regular season titles, whilst Wyoming endeavour to move back into the title race in a tight Mountain West Conference.

Five points clear, nine points to play for. The equation is simple for Hofstra – win both of their games this week and they will be Colonial Athletic Association regular season champions. The Pride have opened their league schedule with six straight wins, and with Emily Hulbert back in the starting lineup after a couple of weeks coming off the bench after recovering from a knock, the Pride are back to full strength. Hofstra face third-placed Northeastern first up, with the Huskies holding a game in hand but sitting seven points behind the Pride. On paper, this will be the toughest opponent Hofstra face in conference play – Northeastern are also undefeated in league play, but have two draws to their name. Hofstra then host Elon on senior day, with the Phoenix having won just one of their six conference games to this point. With that in mind, four points should be the absolute minimum Hofstra take from this weekend, which would earn our Aussie duo of Monique Iannella and Emily Hulbert no worse than a share of the regular season title, even if fellow Australian Emma Heckenberg and Drexel were to win all of their remaining games and Hofstra were to lose next weekend.

UCLA and Stanford remain the top two teams in the coaches’ poll, but after UCLA’s unexpected 2-2 draw with Arizona, their positions have switched and it is now the Cardinal who sit atop the poll, as well as the Pac-12 standings. Whilst there are very few easy games in the Pac-12, both sides would be expected to win their sole game this week, especially UCLA, who host a Utah side that is yet to tally a single goal in their five league games so far and sit second from bottom in the standings. That bodes well for Teagan Micah’s clean sheet numbers, but maybe not her total saves number as the Utes won’t be expected to trouble the Australian sophomore particularly often. Stanford, on the other hand, face a slightly more difficult challenge as they host fifth placed Washington. The Huskies possess one of the tighter defences in the league, giving up just six goals all season and only one in their five conference games this season. However, there is a counterpoint: Stanford’s defence has given up only five goals all season, and the Cardinal have banged home 54 goals in 13 games. Short of drafting in someone like Becky Sauerbrunn to help out, any defence would find it tough against this Stanford attack, and hopefully we can see Beattie Goad afforded more playing time in this classy outfit, having been used only sparingly in recent games.

Wyoming currently sit on the cusp of the Mountain West Conference tournament spots in a league that is incredibly close at the top with five games to play. To that point, this weekend could be pivotal for the Cowgirls, who play the lowly Utah State before facing fellow mid-table team Boise State. With Wyoming hosting both games this week, this is certainly one pair of games that the Cowgirls will be seeing as one that they can take the full six points from to strengthen their position in the conference standings. After making 14 saves in 135 minutes of play last week, Georgia Rowntree is in some of the best form she has exhibited in her time at Wyoming, which will no doubt boost the confidence of her teammates, including Alisha Bass and Jemma House, who have both been involved in the team’s attacking output recently, chalking up a goal and an assist respectively last week.

Due to a combination of a couple of draws and holding a game in hand at this point, Murray State are surprisingly in third in the Ohio Valley Conference heading into this week’s games. However, the Racers are unlikely to be worried by their current position in the standings, especially with the opportunity to knock off the current top team, Belmont, this week. However, they first have to take on rivals Austin Peay in their first game of the week. Whilst Australian senior Harriet Withers has only gone one game without scoring a goal, due to Murray State’s schedule that now equates to 12 days, and there is no doubt that the Palm Beach product will be itching to get out and bang home a hatful, whilst at the other end, Nyomi Devine remains ever reliable as part of a Racers defence that has given up just two goals in six conference games.

Full Schedule:

Albany (Claire Urquhart)

This week: at Vermont – 10am, Friday October 13; v Maine – 4am, Monday October 16

Central Connecticut State (Lauren Featherstone)

This week: v St Francis – 10am, Saturday October 14; v Robert Morris – 3am, Monday October 16

Colorado (Isobel Dalton)

This week: at USC – 10am, Saturday October 14

Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)

This week: v Charleston – 4am, Monday October 16

East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson)

This week: at Wofford – 10am, Saturday October 14; at Furman – 5am, Monday October 16

Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)

This week: v Bryant – 3am, Monday October 16

Grambling State (Priya Gakhar)

This week: v Alabama State – 8am, Saturday October 14; v Alabama A&M – 5am, Monday October 16

Grand Canyon (Sandra Hill)

This week: v Chicago State – 1pm, Saturday October 14; v UMKC – 7am, Monday October 16

Hawaii (Kiri Dale)

This week: v UC Santa Barbara – 4pm, Friday October 13; v Cal State Northridge – 2pm, Monday October 16

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert, Monique Iannella)

This week: at Northeastern – 9am, Friday October 13; v Elon – 4am, Monday October 16

La Salle (Claudia Jenkins)

This week: at St. Bonaventure – 10am, Friday October 13; v Fordham – 4am, Monday October 16

LSU (Caitlin Cantrill)

This week: v Arkansas – 10am, Saturday October 14

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)

This week: v Austin Peay – 7am, Friday October 13; at Belmont – 6am, Monday October 16

Nicholls State (Tenille Harberger, Kristy Helmers)

This week: at Sam Houston State – 11am, Saturday October 14; at Stephen F. Austin – 5am, Monday October 16

Old Dominion (Gaby Bentley)

This week: v Southern Miss – 7am, Saturday October 14; v Louisiana Tech – 4am, Monday October 16

Oregon State (Olivia Ellis)

This week: v Arizona – 1pm, Saturday October 14

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

This week: at BYU – 1pm, Friday October 13

St. Francis (Shelby Milton)

This week: at Central Connecticut State – 10am, Saturday October 14; at Wagner – 4am, Monday October 16

Southeast Missouri State (Maddy Cornell)

This week: v Eastern Illinois – 10:30am, Saturday October 14; v SIU Edwardsville – 6am, Monday October 16

Stanford (Beattie Goad)

This week: v Washington – 2pm, Saturday October 14

Texas Southern (Paige Hayward)

This week: v Alcorn State – 11am, Saturday October 14; v Mississippi Valley State – 5am, Monday October 16

Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis)

This week: v Oklahoma State – 11am, Saturday October 14

UCLA (Teagan Micah)

This week: v Utah – 2pm, Friday October 13

Western Carolina (Kate Swartwout)

This week: at Furman – 10am, Saturday October 14; at Wofford – 5am, Monday October 16

William & Mary (Lorena Bugden)

This week: at UNC Wilmington – 10am, Friday October 13; at Northeastern – 4am, Monday October 16

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

This week: v Utah State – 8am, Saturday October 14; v Boise State – 6am, Monday October 16

2017 Week 8 Wrap

Scoring goals has been a theme throughout the season for the Australians in college this season, but this week was all about assists, as four players combined for five assists. There was one goal for Alisha Bass though, and one player set a little-known NCAA Division I all-time record.

It’s not every day that someone sets an all-time NCAA Division I record, but that’s exactly what Monique Iannella did in Hofstra’s win over James Madison, taking a mind-boggling 25 corners for the Pride, more than any player – or team for that matter – had ever taken in one game. More importantly though, two of those corners became assists as teammates were on hand to guide Iannella’s deliveries home as part of a 3-0 win for Hofstra which takes the Long Island-based team within a couple of results of securing the league title. Earlier in the week, Iannella played 75 minutes, earning an early rest as Hofstra knocked off Towson 3-0. Fellow Australian Emily Hulbert returned to the starting lineup for Hofstra in the game against James Madison, completing a successful return from a minor knee injury suffered a few weeks ago.

Staying in the Colonial Athletic Association, Drexel’s Emma Heckenberg continued her successful move into defence as the Dragons slotted into second spot with a pair of wins. Heckenberg and the Drexel defence kept two clean sheets, with the Victorian playing 68 minutes in a 2-0 win over Delaware and 48 minutes in a 1-0 win over UNC Wilmington. Drexel are now the only team that can keep Hofstra from winning the regular season title, but will need to keep winning and hope that Hofstra slip up if they are to have any real chance of stealing the silverware.

It was a mixed weekend for Wyoming, finishing with a win and a loss from their two games in Nevada. Georgia Rowntree did her Great Wall of Laramie nickname justice in the Cowgirls’ 4-2 win over Nevada, making seven saves in the first half as Wyoming earned a 3-0 halftime lead and the Australian goalkeeper earned herself an early rest. Alisha Bass, on the other hand, came back out for the second half and slotted home Wyoming’s fourth goal just after the restart. Rowntree made another seven saves in a complete game effort against UNLV, but Wyoming fell to a 2-1 loss after conceding two early goals. Once again though, an Australian was involved in the scoring, with Jemma House providing the assist on Summer Halle’s headed goal shortly before the hour mark. However, with no second goal coming for the Cowgirls, the team headed back to Laramie with three points from a possible six.

Maddy Cornell has imposed herself on the game a lot more in her senior season at Southeast Missouri State than in past years, and once again reaped a tangible reward for her work. After putting in a solid shift against Austin Peay in a 1-1 draw, Cornell crossed for the assist in Southeast Missouri State’s second goal against Belmont, but unfortunately the Redhawks fell to a 4-2 loss following a crazy second half in a game that was 0-0 at halftime.

Priya Gakhar has been given precious little playing time in which to impress herself upon the Grambling State team, but used what she was given well in a 3-3 draw with Prairie View A&M. After being afforded just 8 minute in the team’s 2-0 win over Texas Southern earlier in the week, Gakhar popped up with an assist for Grambling State’s second goal during a 21 minute stint off the bench as the Tigers gave up a 2 goal lead before securing an equaliser with a penalty 19 seconds (yes, seconds) before time.

Player Of The Year Points:

3: Monique Iannella (Hofstra)

2: Georgia Rowntree (Wyoming)

1: Alisha Bass (Wyoming)

Complete Results:

Albany (Claire Urquhart)

This week: drew 1-1 with Hartford; lost 2-1 to Massachusetts-Lowell

Claire Urquhart did not feature for Albany in the draw with Hartford, but came on for the final 19 minutes in the loss to Massachusetts-Lowell.

Central Connecticut State (Lauren Featherstone)

This week: defeated Sacred Heart 1-0

Lauren Featherstone did not feature for Central Connecticut State in the win over Sacred Heart.

Colorado (Isobel Dalton)

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

Isobel Dalton did not play in Colorado’s loss to California, but came off the bench to play the final four minutes against Stanford.

Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)

This week: defeated Delaware 2-1; defeated UNC Wilmington 1-0

Emma Heckenberg started both games for Drexel, playing 68 minutes against Delaware and 48 minutes against UNC Wilmington.

East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson)

This week: defeated Citadel 4-2; defeated Mercer 1-0 (OT)

Isabel Hodgson played all 189 minutes across the two games for East Tennessee State this weekend, registering three shots against Citadel, of which one was on target.

Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)

This week: defeated Wagner 4-0; defeated LIU Brooklyn 2-1 (OT)

Sam Roff played all 190 minutes this week as Fairleigh Dickinson completed a perfect weekend with two wins.

Grambling State (Priya Gakhar)

This week: defeated Texas Southern 2-0; drew 3-3 with Prairie View A&M

Priya Gakhar came off the bench for Grambling State in both games this week, playing 8 minutes against Texas Southern and 21 minutes against Prairie View A&M, registering the assist on the team’s second goal against Prairie View A&M.

Grand Canyon (Sandra Hill)

This week: lost 1-0 to UTRGV; lost 2-1 to New Mexico State

Sandra Hill did not feature for Grand Canyon against UTRGV, but came off the bench to play 15 minutes.

Hawaii (Kiri Dale)

This week: lost 3-2 to UC Irvine

Kiri Dale started for Hawaii and played the entire 90 minutes in the loss to UC Irvine.

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert, Monique Iannella)

This week: defeated Towson 3-0; defeated James Madison 3-0

Emily Hulbert came off the bench against Towson to play 47 minutes, before returning to the starting lineup against James Madison to play 71 minutes and register two shots in her first start since suffering a minor knee injury. Monique Iannella played 75 minutes and registered three shots against Towson, before playing the entire 90 minutes and tallying two assists in the win over James Madison as the former Melbourne City defender took an NCAA Division I record 25 corners.

La Salle (Claudia Jenkins)

This week: defeated Davidson 6-0; defeated Massachusetts 6-2

Claudia Jenkins did not feature for La Salle in their demolition of Davidson, but came off the bench to play the final 24 minutes in the win over Massachusetts.

LSU (Caitlin Cantrill)

This week: defeated Georgia 2-1; lost 4-1 to Mississippi

Caitlin Cantrill did not feature in either game for LSU this week.

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)

This week: drew 1-1 with Eastern Kentucky

Nyomi Devine played all 110 minutes in defence for Murray State against Eastern Kentucky, whilst Harriet Withers registered four shots, of which two were on target, in 104 minutes of playing time.

Nicholls State (Tenille Harberger, Kristy Helmers)

This week: lost 2-0 to McNeese State

Kristy Helmers started and played 49 minutes for Nicholls State in the loss to McNeese State, but Tenille Harberger did not feature for the Colonels.

Old Dominion (Gaby Bentley)

This week: defeated Florida International 2-0

Gaby Bentley came off the bench for Old Dominion in the win over Florida International, playing 38 minutes.

Oregon State (Olivia Ellis)

This week: drew 0-0 with Washington; defeated Washington State 1-0 (OT)

Olivia Ellis did not feature for Oregon State in either game this week.

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

This week: lost 3-1 to San Diego


Ellie Papalexiou did not feature for Pacific this week as she continues to return to full fitness following injury.

St. Francis (Shelby Milton)

This week: defeated Robert Morris 3-0

Shelby Milton came off the bench for St. Francis in the win over Robert Morris, playing the final 8 minutes.

Southeast Missouri State (Maddy Cornell)

This week: drew 1-1 with Austin Peay; lost 4-2 to Belmont

Maddy Cornell started both games this week for Southeast Missouri State, playing 95 of the 110 minutes against Austin Peay and 66 minutes against Belmont, tallying the assist for the Redhawks’ second goal in the loss to Belmont.

Stanford (Beattie Goad)

This week: defeated Utah 3-0; defeated Colorado 3-0

Beattie Goad came off the bench in both games for Stanford this week, playing 17 minutes against Utah and 5 minutes against Colorado.

Texas Southern (Paige Hayward)

This week: lost 2-0 to Grambling State; defeated Arkansas-Pine Bluff 4-0

Paige Hayward started both games for Texas Southern this week, playing 90 minutes and registering a single shot on target against Grambling State, then backing up with three shots, of which two were on target, in 66 minutes of action in the win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis)

This week: lost 3-0 to Baylor

Demi Koulizakis did not feature for Texas Tech in their loss to Baylor.

UCLA (Teagan Micah)

This week: defeated Arizona State 3-0; drew 2-2 with Arizona

Teagan Micah played every minute for UCLA this week, making four saves and keeping a clean sheet against Arizona State, and making a single save in the draw with Arizona.

Western Carolina (Kate Swartwout)

This week: lost 3-2 to Mercer; defeated Citadel 2-1

Kate Swartwout started for Western Carolina and played 71 minutes in the loss to Mercer, before coming off the bench to play 14 minutes in the win over Citadel.

William & Mary (Lorena Bugden)

This week: drew 2-2 with Elon; defeated Delaware 2-1 (OT)

Lorena Bugden did not feature for William & Mary this week as she continues her recovery from injury.

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

This week: defeated Nevada 4-2; lost 2-1 to UNLV

Georgia Rowntree was at her best in a 45 minute performance against Nevada, making seven saves to keep a first half clean sheet, earning an early rest with the Cowgirls in complete command. Rowntree then made another seven saves in the loss to UNLV, playing the full 90 minutes. Alisha Bass popped up with one of Wyoming’s four goals against Nevada, slotting home shortly after halftime to take the score to 4-0, and also earned a spell, playing just 53 minutes before backing up with 83 minutes against UNLV. Jemma House played 37 minutes off the bench for no tangible reward against Nevada, but tallied the assist on Wyoming’s solitary goal against UNLV in a 32 minute performance. Annika Clayton started both games, playing 53 minutes against Nevada and 65 minutes against UNLV, whilst Jessie Gentle came off the bench in both games, playing 49 minutes in the win over Nevada and 70 minutes against UNLV.

2017 Week 8 Preview

UCLA and Stanford head in completely opposite directions geographically as the Pac-12 pair continue to keep pace with each other, whilst the Aussie duo at Hofstra look to remain atop the Colonial Athletic Association standings. The story is the same for the Australian pair at Murray State, who face an Aussie assistant coach against Eastern Kentucky in a clash of the titans in the Ohio Valley Conference.

We kick off Week 8 a day earlier than usual, with Isabel Hodgson and East Tennessee State taking on The Citadel on Thursday morning Australian time. The Buccaneers are on a three-game skid and have lost seven of their last eight games as their season threatens to derail, but should still be slightly favoured at home to The Citadel, who have a slightly better record than East Tennessee State, but against a far inferior schedule to this point. It’s been a lean season for the entire East Tennessee State attack, but The Citadel’s defence has been leaky at times this season, so Thursday would be an ideal time for a few confidence-boosting goals. The Buccaneers face Mercer in their second game of the week, an opponent that will pose far more of a challenge. The Bears have the second-best record of any team in the Southern Conference, but East Tennessee State won the last meeting between the teams, notching a 3-1 victory in last year’s conference tournament.

Hofstra sit atop the Colonial Athletic Association standings with four straight wins to start league play, and this week the Pride and their Aussie duo of Emily Hulbert and Monique Iannella face a pair of mid-table teams looking to climb the standings. Towson have won just one of their first three games in conference play, and will need to start winning soon if they are to secure a decent seeding in the conference tournament. However, Hofstra have been dominant so far this season, and with Northeastern right on their tail, will be in no mood to allow Towson even the slightest look. The Pride then face James Madison in their second game of the week. The Dukes have split their first four games in league play to sit at 2-2-0 and 7-6-0 overall. Their attack has produced 25 goals this year in comparison to Hofstra’s 20, but they have also conceded 18 goals in their 13 games. In contrast, the Pride defence, featuring Monique Iannella and shielded by Emily Hulbert in midfield, have conceded just 11 goals in 13 games, with three of those coming in a loss to a powerhouse Penn State team. If the Hofstra defence comes to play this week, one goal in each game may just be enough to secure two victories.

If Hofstra do drop points, Emma Heckenberg and Drexel are right there ready to bridge the gap. The Dragons are 5 points behind Hofstra at the moment in third place in the CAA, but one of those losses is to the Pride. Drexel face Delaware and UNC Wilmington, neither of which will be easy opponents, but both are eminently winnable games for the side from Philadelphia. With Emma Heckenberg shifting between midfield and defence in recent weeks, the Victorian junior has seen her minutes increase as the weeks have continued, and she has now firmly re-established herself as an integral member of the Dragons’ starting eleven. With Drexel giving up just 14 goals in 13 games this season, Heckenberg may be flying under the radar slightly considering the exploits of some other Australians, but her performances have been solid throughout the season to this point and she will no doubt be heavily involved in any Drexel success this weekend.

Pac-12 action continues this week with UCLA and Stanford still sitting in the top two spots in the coaches’ poll. This week sees Teagan Micah and the Bruins head to Arizona to play both Arizona and Arizona State. Neither team has been especially dominant in attack this season, scoring just 11 and 14 goals respectively this season. However, Teagan Micah will still need to be at her best, with her performances to date turning more than a couple of draws into wins for UCLA in 2017. Stanford, on the other hand, head for higher altitude, taking on Colorado and Utah in a true test of fitness for the Cardinal. Beattie Goad has been in and out of the starting lineup this season, but coming up against two teams which spend their entire lives at this altitude means that coach Paul Ratcliffe will almost certainly need to utilise his bench more than usual. Therefore, regardless of whether Goad starts or comes off the bench, there will almost surely be solid minutes in store for the sophomore as the Cardinal look to keep pace with UCLA. In the Pacific Northwest, it will also be intriguing to see if Olivia Ellis continues to see extended minutes for Oregon State as the Beavers take on Washington and Washington State after averaging nearly an hour per game last week.

Harriet Withers may be chalking up record after record for Murray State at the moment, but that all gets pushed aside briefly this week in a top-of-the-table clash with Eastern Kentucky. Former Washington State defender and once-capped Matilda Rachael Doyle will be on the sidelines as assistant coach for Eastern Kentucky, turning this already intense battle into an Aussie v Aussie matchup of sorts. Like Murray State, Eastern Kentucky have a potent offence, but their defence has been leaky at times. This will need to change quickly if they are to stop Withers and the Murray State attack, whilst at the other end, Nyomi Devine and the Racers’ defence have given up just nine goals in eleven games to this point. Whilst this is a battle of the top teams in the conference at this point, it’s safe to say that Murray State should be considered strong favourites in this one.

Full Schedule:

Albany (Claire Urquhart)

This week: v Hartford – 10am, Friday October 6; v Massachusetts-Lowell – 7am, Monday October 9

Central Connecticut State (Lauren Featherstone)

This week: at Sacred Heart – 3am, Monday October 9

Colorado (Isobel Dalton)

This week: v California – 8:30am, Friday October 6; v Stanford – 5am, Monday October 9

Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)

This week: at Delaware – 10am, Friday October 6; at UNC Wilmington – 4am, Monday October 9

East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson)

This week: v Citadel – 10am, Thursday October 5; v Mercer – 5am, Monday October 9

Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)

This week: v Wagner – 10am, Saturday October 7; at LIU Brooklyn – 4am, Monday October 9

Grambling State (Priya Gakhar)

This week: at Texas Southern – 11am, Saturday October 7; at Prairie View A&M – 5am, Monday October 9

Grand Canyon (Sandra Hill)

This week: at UTRGV – 12pm, Saturday October 7; at New Mexico State – 6am, Monday October 9

Hawaii (Kiri Dale)

This week: v UC Irvine – 2pm, Monday October 9

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert, Monique Iannella)

This week: at Towson – 6am, Friday October 6; v James Madison – 4am, Monday October 9

La Salle (Claudia Jenkins)

This week: v Davidson – 10am, Friday October 6; at Massachusetts – 4am, Monday October 9

LSU (Caitlin Cantrill)

This week: v Georgia – 10am, Friday October 6; at Mississippi – 6am, Monday October 9

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)

This week: at Eastern Kentucky – 7am, Friday October 6

Nicholls State (Tenille Harberger, Kristy Helmers)

This week: v McNeese State – 8am, Saturday October 7

Old Dominion (Gaby Bentley)

This week: v Florida International – 6am, Monday October 9

Oregon State (Olivia Ellis)

This week: v Washington – 1pm, Friday October 6; v Washington State – 8am, Monday October 9

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

This week: at San Diego – 1pm, Sunday October 8

St. Francis (Shelby Milton)

This week: v Robert Morris – 4am, Monday October 9

Southeast Missouri State (Maddy Cornell)

This week: at Austin Peay – 11am, Saturday October 7; v Belmont – 6am, Monday October 9

Stanford (Beattie Goad)

This week: at Utah – 10am, Friday October 6; at Colorado – 5am, Monday October 9

Texas Southern (Paige Hayward)

This week: v Grambling State – 11am, Saturday October 7; v Arkansas-Pine Bluff – 5am, Monday October 9

Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis)

This week: at Baylor – 11am, Saturday October 7

UCLA (Teagan Micah)

This week: at Arizona State – 1pm, Friday October 6; at Arizona – 6am, Monday October 9

Western Carolina (Kate Swartwout)

This week: v Mercer – 10am, Saturday October 7; v Citadel – 5am, Monday October 9

William & Mary (Lorena Bugden)

This week: at Elon – 10am, Friday October 6; v Delaware – 5am, Monday October 9

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

This week: at Nevada – 10:30am, Saturday October 7; at UNLV – 7am, Monday October 9

2017 Week 7 Preview

It’s the first week of the second half of the regular season, but it also appears to be the Week of the Aussie v Aussie Matchup, with at least two cracking games littered with Australians set to come this week. Elsewhere, Ellie Papalexiou continues to make her return from serious injury for Pacific.

More than a few potential Aussie v Aussie battles have fallen by the wayside due to injuries this season, but in Drexel v Hofstra, we have a potentially electrifying battle alongside the presence of Emma Heckenberg for the Dragons and Monique Iannella for the Pride. Both teams went undefeated in their opening weekend of Colonial Athletic Association play, with Hofstra picking up wins over Delaware and UNC Wilmington, whilst Drexel drew 1-1 with Northeastern and knocked off William & Mary by a score of 2-0. Both teams have won six of their first eleven games, and are separated by just 11 spaces in the RPI at this point, meaning we are likely to see a close contest with two Australians at the heart of things, even if Hofstra may still be missing Emily Hulbert this week.

If we turn our heads in a southwesterly direction towards Kentucky, we find Murray State taking on Southeast Missouri State, where there will also be Australians on both sides. Harriet Withers and Nyomi Devine are two of the best players in the entire Ohio Valley Conference, with Devine picking up the conference defensive player of the week last week and Withers recently tying the Murray State career goalscoring record. Whilst Maddy Cornell doesn’t have the same credentials as the Racers’ pair, the Southeast Missouri State senior has forged quite a season to this point, chipping in two goals in the process. Murray State will be heavily favoured going into this one, but the game isn’t played on paper, and the Racers have already had one tough contest in conference play against the otherwise-lowly Morehead State.

Heading even further west, Oregon State v UCLA could also feature Aussies on both sides. Teagan Micah’s exploits for UCLA in her season and a half in Westwood are well known to this point, and the sophomore’s efforts between the sticks this year have helped see the Bruins maintain their grip on the #1 spot in the coaches’ poll for the last few weeks. Freshman Olivia Ellis has been in and out of the Oregon State lineup, not featuring last week, but with the Beavers currently sitting at a mediocre 3-4-2 record, a bit of change may not be the worst thing in the world for the team from Corvallis. However, throwing an experimental lineup at a rampant UCLA side probably isn’t the safest option available.

Finally, it will certainly be fascinating to continue to monitor the progress of Pacific senior Ellie Papalexiou as she continues to make her comeback from an injury suffered last season. Papalexiou made her season debut with a brief spell off the bench last week, but as her fitness improves, her minutes will surely increase as the season progresses and hopefully that will be the case as Pacific take on Gonzaga and Portland this week. Gonzaga sit at a healthy 8-1-1 record and that will no doubt be a tough game, but Portland’s 3-6-1 record is almost identical to Pacific’s 3-6-2 to this point, and the Tigers will surely have their eye on that as a real chance to take the three points.

Full Schedule:

Albany (Claire Urquhart)

This week: v Binghamton – 9am, Friday September 29; at New Hampshire – 5am, Monday October 2

Central Connecticut State (Lauren Featherstone)

This week: at Fairleigh Dickinson – 9am, Saturday September 30; at Mount St. Mary’s – 4am, Monday October 2

Colorado (Isobel Dalton)

This week: at Washington State – 10:30am, Friday September 29; at Washington – 6am, Monday October 2

Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)

This week: at Hofstra – 9am, Friday September 29; v Towson – 5am, Monday October 2

East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson)

This week: at UNC Greensboro – 9am, Saturday September 30; at VMI – 5am, Monday October 2

Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)

This week: v Central Connecticut State – 9am, Saturday September 30

Grambling State (Priya Gakhar)

This week: v Jackson State – 7am, Saturday September 30; v Southern – 5am, Monday October 2

Hawaii (Kiri Dale)

This week: at UC Davis – 7am, Friday September 29; at Long Beach State – 12pm, Monday October 2

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert, Monique Iannella)

This week: v Drexel – 9am, Friday September 29; at William & Mary – 5am, Monday October 2

La Salle (Claudia Jenkins)

This week: v Dayton – 9am, Friday September 29; at Rhode Island – 4am, Monday October 2

LSU (Caitlin Cantrill)

This week: at Kentucky – 9:30am, Saturday September 30

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)

This week: v Southeast Missouri State – 6am, Friday September 29; v Tennessee-Martin – 7am, Monday October 2

Nicholls State (Tenille Harberger, Kristy Helmers)

This week: at Houston Baptist – 10am, Saturday September 30; at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi – 5am, Monday October 2

Old Dominion (Gaby Bentley)

This week: v Texas-San Antonio – 9am, Saturday September 30; at UTEP – 9am, Monday October 2

Oregon State (Olivia Ellis)

This week: at USC – 8:30am, Friday September 29; at UCLA – 7am, Monday October 2

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

This week: v Gonzaga – 12pm, Saturday September 30; v Portland – 7am, Monday October 2

St. Francis (Shelby Milton)

This week: v Sacred Heart – 5am, Saturday September 30; v Bryant – 4am, Monday October 2

Southeast Missouri State (Maddy Cornell)

This week: at Murray State – 6am, Friday September 29

Stanford (Beattie Goad)

This week: v Arizona – 12pm, Friday September 29; v Arizona State – 7am, Monday October 2

Texas Southern (Paige Hayward)

This week: at Alabama State – 10am, Saturday September 30; at Alabama A&M – 5am, Monday October 2

Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis)

This week: at Texas – 10am, Saturday September 30; v TCU – 5am, Monday October 2

UCLA (Teagan Micah)

This week: v Oregon – 10am, Friday September 29; v Oregon State – 7am, Monday October 2

Western Carolina (Kate Swartwout)

This week: v VMI – 6am, Saturday September 30; at UNC Greensboro – 5am, Monday October 2

William & Mary (Lorena Bugden)

This week: v College of Charleston – 9am, Friday September 29; v Hofstra – 5am, Monday October 2

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

This week: v Fresno State – 8am, Saturday September 30; v San Jose State – 6am, Monday October 2

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 🦁⚽️

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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.”