2017 Season Wrap

34 Australians featured on rosters of NCAA Division I programs this season, with 30 of those getting onto the pitch at some point. Some were stars, some were regular starters, and some played roles as impact players off the bench, but all were fascinating to follow throughout the year. In this article, we take a short look at each player’s season.

(Lorena Bugden, Julia De Angelis, Lauren Featherstone, and Tenille Harberger did not feature this season, and as such are not included below.)

Alisha Bass (Wyoming)
Team Record: 8-9-2
Stats: 19 games, 19 starts, 6 goals, 3 assists

Photo Credit: University of Wyoming

A leader for Wyoming from the minute she stepped on the pitch in 2014, Alisha Bass rounded out her college career with yet another outstanding season. Having played just about everywhere except between the sticks in the previous three years, Bass capitalised on the chance to play in her favoured midfield role, tallying six goals for the season, eclipsing the five she tallied in her freshman year. The senior also tallied three assists as her vision and passing ability shone through in spades once again. Unfortunately, the Cowgirls couldn’t quite recover from some personnel losses and injuries throughout the season, narrowly missing the conference tournament for the first and only time in Bass’s career.

Gaby Bentley (Old Dominion)
Team Record: 9-5-4 (Conference USA Tournament Quarter-Finals)
Stats: 17 games, 6 starts, 1 goal

Having featured in just two games in 2016, it was certainly heartening to see Gaby Bentley feature in 17 of Old Dominion’s 18 games this season, and start six times. The midfielder was also able to pick up a goal early in the season, tallying the Monarchs’ single goal in a 3-1 loss to VCU. Draws in conference play perhaps cost Old Dominion a higher spot in the Conference USA standings, and eventually they would fall to Louisiana Tech in the 4th-5th matchup in the conference tournament. With her trajectory clearly on the up, it will be hoped that Bentley can secure a regular starting berth in 2018.

Caitlin Cantrill (LSU)
Team Record: 8-9-2
Stats: 19 games, 19 starts, 6 goals, 3 assists

After enjoying a reasonably solid freshman season in 2016, Caitlin Cantrill unfortunately found playing time hard to come by in 2017, featuring in just three games as LSU missed the SEC Tournament. Without speculating as to the reasons, it is certainly hoped that the Canberra product can garner more minutes in 2018 as she becomes one of the more senior players in the team in a squad that featured 16 freshmen this season.

Annika Clayton (Wyoming)
Team Record: 8-7-3
Stats: 3 games, 0 starts

Now in her junior year, Annika Clayton once again suffered through injury issues which held her out of the early stages of the season, but played the last 12 games of the season without missing a beat to carve out a highly respectable season. Clayton started on six occasions, playing a commanding role in midfield, and tallied a single goal in the 3-2 loss to New Mexico on Senior Day. With fellow Australian Alisha Bass leaving a gaping hole in midfield following her graduation, Clayton will be one of a number of players expected to step up in 2018 and fill the gap left by the senior.

Maddy Cornell (Southeast Missouri State)
Team Record: 8-6-4 (Ohio Valley Conference Tournament Semi-Finals)
Stats: 19 games, 17 starts, 2 goals, 1 assist

Given more opportunities to attack in 2017, Maddy Cornell enjoyed a reasonably successful senior season, tallying her first goal since 2016 in the season opening win against Evansville, and following it up with the team’s only goal in a 3-1 loss to Mississippi State later in the season. More importantly though, Cornell started 17 of the 19 games in which she featured, a vast improvement on 2017’s three starts in 18 games. Southeast Missouri State made a great run in the Ohio Valley Conference tournament to reach the semi-finals, but fell 1-0 to eventual champions Murray State in a game where the Redhawks held the usually ruthless Murray State attack to just six shots.

Kiri Dale (Hawaii)
Team Record: 6-10-1
Stats: 17 games, 11 starts, 1 assist

A transfer from Iona, Kiri Dale moved to Hawaii looking for a tougher challenge, but the sophomore still managed to play 17 games, the same amount that she played in her freshman year in New York. Dale started the season supremely, coming up with game-winning assist on an opening day overtime win over Utah Valley. Dale would go on to start in 11 of her 17 appearances, and will no doubt be expected to step up to be a leader in 2018 as the Rainbow Wahine lose seven seniors to graduation.

Isobel Dalton (Colorado)
Team Record: 12-6-4 (NCAA Tournament Round of 32)
Stats: 7 games, 0 starts

Playing just seven games in 2017, at times it seemed as if Isobel Dalton was the player one away from being part of the rotation off the bench. The junior came within a couple of inches of registering her first Division I goal after crashing a shot off the crossbar in a 6-0 win over UC Riverside, but will go into her senior year still looking to tally her opening goal. Colorado had another solid season, reaching the second round of the NCAA Tournament before falling to North Carolina, but the team will no doubt want to push on and reach the Sweet 16 in 2018 after several years of reaching the tournament but falling early.

Nyomi Devine (Murray State)
Team Record: 15-2-2 (OVC Champions, NCAA Tournament First Round)
Stats: 19 games, 19 starts, 1 assist

Photo Credit: Dave Winder/Murray State Athletics

A veritable wall at the back for Murray State these past four years, Nyomi Devine once again performed superbly throughout 2017 to help lead the Racers to the NCAA Tournament. The senior helped the Racers keep nine clean sheets throughout the season, but it was an attacking play that may have been Devine’s most important of the season. With the Ohio Valley Conference championship game against Eastern Kentucky finishing 0-0 after 90 minutes, the game moved into golden goal overtime, and it was Devine coming up with the assist on the game winning goal as the Racers atoned for 2016’s surprising tournament loss to win the conference title and secure their passage to the NCAA Tournament before falling to Tennessee in the first round. Devine was rewarded for her play throughout the season with a selection in the United Soccer Coaches All-South Region Third Team, a well-deserved honour following yet another outstanding season.

Olivia Ellis (Oregon State)
Team Record: 6-10-3
Stats: 6 games, 0 starts

A former Melbourne City W-League player, Olivia Ellis enjoyed some extended runs in her opening season, playing at least half a game on three occasions. However, those prolonged shifts did not translate into more appearances as the season rolled on, with the freshman featuring in just six games all season. Despite this, Ellis will return to an Oregon State side that loses seven starters to graduation, meaning positions will really open up in 2018, and with the Beavers leaning heavily on their starters last season, the slate is almost clean for both Ellis and the rest of the team coming into next season.

Priya Gakhar (Grambling State)
Team Record: 11-7-2 (SWAC Tournament Semi-Finals)
Stats: 19 games, 19 starts, 1 assist

Priya Gakhar came into a Grambling State side that in 2016 had won just one game in a rather sparsely populated 12 game schedule, but that all changed in 2017. Gakhar featured in 18 games, mostly in short cameos off the bench, and tallied an assist in a 3-3 draw with Prairie View A&M as Grambling won 11 games in a 20-game schedule more befitting a Division I team. The Tigers eventually reached the SWAC Tournament semi-finals, falling to eventual champions Alabama State in a penalty shootout. With only one season remaining in her college career, Gakhar will surely want to turn those cameos into more prolonged stints on the field in each game.

Jessie Gentle (Wyoming)
Team Record: 8-9-2
Stats: 18 games, 5 starts, 2 assists

An impact player off the bench over the last two seasons, Jessie Gentle once again performed admirably for Wyoming, playing in 18 games but starting just five. Although the junior tallied just two assists over the course of the season, Gentle’s play far surpassed what can be gleaned from the box score. Gentle unfortunately missed the final game of the season after a freak injury after colliding with a corner post in the team’s final home game, but nonetheless put together a third solid season on a personal level to set herself up for an outstanding senior year as Wyoming look to return to the Mountain West Conference tournament after narrowly missing out in 2017.

Beattie Goad (Stanford)
Team Record: 24-1 (Pac-12 Champions, NCAA Champions)
Stats: 19 games, 5 starts, 1 goal, 1 assist

Things couldn’t have gone much better for Beattie Goad and Stanford in 2017 as the Cardinal lost just one game all season as they stormed home to a national championship after a 3-2 win in a blockbuster of a title game against UCLA. For Goad herself, it was a year of slotting in where required off the bench, starting in just five of her 19 appearances but featuring in a variety of positions as her versatility shone through, and picking up a goal and an assist in the course of her time on the pitch. Although Stanford will lose US national team player Andi Sullivan to graduation, the midfielder is the only regular starter from 2017 that will need to be replaced, and as such things are looking good for the Cardinal in 2018 as they look to defend their tile.

Paige Hayward (Texas Southern)
Team Record: 15-2-2 (SWAC Tournament Semi-Finals)
Stats: 16 games, 16 starts, 9 goals, 2 assists

Paige Hayward was once again the leader of Texas Southern’s front line, contributing goals regularly as the Tigers once again fell agonisingly short of reaching the NCAA Tournament following a shootout loss to eventual champions Alabama State in the SWAC tournament semi-finals. The senior finished the season with 9 goals to round out her career with 25 goals, and chipped in two assists in her final season of collegiate play as the Tigers finished the season with a solid 6-3-1 conference record before the unfortunate shootout loss.

Emma Heckenberg (Drexel)
Team Record: 11-7-1 (CAA Tournament Semi-Finals)
Stats: 13 games, 11 starts, 2 assists

After playing 19 games in 2016, Emma Heckenberg played in just 13 games this season, but with 11 of those games coming consecutively to finish the season, it was clear that once the junior found her role in the team, she excelled. Shifted between defence and midfield, those freshman days of playing up front are now well and truly behind Heckenberg as she settles into a deeper role, although the junior was able to tally two assists this year. Drexel enjoyed a solid regular season to finish second in the CAA, but unfortunately their conference tournament campaign ended in the first round at the hands of the always dangerous Northeastern.

Kristy Helmers (Nicholls State)
Team Record: 6-11-1
Stats: 18 games, 13 starts, 3 goals, 1 assist

Kristy Helmers’ goal output was slightly down this year, perhaps a function of the loss of fellow Australian Jess Coates from the midfield and the lack of the element of surprise that existed in her freshman year. However, the sophomore was still able to tally three goals and register an assist in her 18 appearances, of which 13 were starts as Nicholls State finished with six wins from 18 games. With six of 16 of the Colonels’ goals coming from seniors this year, both Helmers and the rest of the attack will have to bang home the goals with far more regularity, but Helmers has proven that if she is given the service, she can certainly put the ball in the back of the net.

Sandra Hill (Grand Canyon)
Team Record: 6-13-2 (WAC Tournament Semi-Finals)
Stats: 14 games, 0 starts, 1 assist

Photo Credit: Michael Rincon

An occasional presence for Grand Canyon in her freshman season, Sandra Hill featured in 14 games in 2017 in what was a tough season for the Lopes, who won just six of their 21 games. However, in a team with 10 freshmen on the roster, the signs are promising not only for Hill, but for the team as seven of those freshmen reached double figures for appearances. Hill also tallied a single assist, setting up one of Grand Canyon’s seven goals in a demolition of Chicago State.

Isabel Hodgson (East Tennessee State)
Team Record: 6-13
Stats: 16 games, 15 starts, 2 goals, 1 assist

It was a tough season to say the least for Isabel Hodgson and East Tennessee State, falling from a 13-6-2 season in 2016 to 6-13 in 2017. However, Hodgson continued to be an ever-present fixture in the lineup, save for one match missed with a minor ankle injury, showing herself to be one of the true leaders of the side going forward. The junior also tallied two goals and a single assist, well down on her five goals and nine assists, but the team scored just 22 in comparison to their 47 goals in 2016. However, there are still plenty of pieces there for the team to put together a winning season in 2018.

Jemma House (Wyoming)
Team Record: 8-9-2
Stats: 19 games, 11 starts

A goalscoring extraordinaire in her two years at nearby Laramie County Community College, Jemma House was used in a slightly different role out wide in her first season at Wyoming. Despite featuring in every game for Wyoming this season, it took a while for House to adapt to Division I soccer before coming into her own and eventually becoming an integral part of the Wyoming roster, starting 11 games. The junior also picked up her first two Division I goals early in the season, before adding two assists as the season rolled on. The Cowgirls will lose five starters – albeit one of those is goalkeeper Georgia Rowntree – from this season’s team in 2018, so House will no doubt be expected to be one of the team’s leaders next season.

Emily Hulbert (Hofstra)
Team Record: 15-4-2 (CAA Champions, NCAA Tournament First Round)
Stats: 18 games, 16 starts, 1 goal, 2 assists

Injuries had been a common theme throughout Emily Hulbert’s career, but 2017 saw the Hofstra senior put most of that to one side to play a commanding role in midfield throughout the season as the Pride dominated conference play, finishing with a perfect record to secure the CAA title and reach the NCAA Tournament. The former Melbourne Victory player tallied a goal and two assists for the season, but it was her work shielding the back four and launching attacks from deep that were of paramount importance as the senior featured in 18 games in her final season after injury had limited her to just nine in her junior year.

Monique Iannella (Hofstra)
Team Record: 15-4-2 (CAA Champions, NCAA Tournament First Round)
Stats: 21 games, 20 starts, 6 assists

Photo Credit: Jonathan Heisler/Hofstra Athletic Communications

Whilst Emily Hulbert was excellent in midfield for Hofstra, Monique Iannella was outstanding at right back for the Pride, both in attack and defence. Following a transfer from Texas, Iannella slotted straight into a Hofstra defence that dominated opponents throughout the season to finish with 11 clean sheets. Iannella was also a threat from set pieces, taking the majority of corners and finishing with six assists for the season, the most by any Australian in 2017. The junior also took a mind-boggling 25 corners in one game against James Madison, finishing with two assists in that game.

Claudia Jenkins (La Salle)
Team Record: 17-4-2 (A10 Champions, NCAA Tournament First Round)
Stats: 4 games, 0 starts

Despite being second in the goalkeeping pecking order behind stalwart Larissa Zambelli, Claudia Jenkins was afforded a couple of opportunities in her freshman season, experience that could prove vital as the South Australian looks to make the starting spot her own in 2018. Jenkins made four appearances in her freshman season, coming on either when the game was already secure or after Zambelli took a knock, playing 65 minutes and only being required to make two saves. Jenkins did however pick up a conference title in her freshman season as La Salle defeated VCU 1-0 in overtime in the Atlantic 10 title game.

Demi Koulizakis (Texas Tech)
Team Record: 9-7-3 (Big 12 Tournament Quarter-Finals)
Stats: 10 games, 0 starts

Having featured in 18 games in her freshman season, it was hoped that Demi Koulizakis would be able to increase her minutes in 2017, but it was not to be as the sophomore featured in just 10 games in 2017. Koulizakis was afforded just 114 minutes of playing time, hardly enough for the Sydneysider to showcase her talents as she averaged just 11 minutes of playing time. The Red Raiders finished the season 9-7-3, missing the NCAA Tournament after falling to West Virginia in the Big 12 Tournament.

Teagan Micah (UCLA)
Team Record: 19-3-3 (NCAA Runner-Up)
Stats: 25 games, 24 starts, 9 clean sheets

Photo Credit: Rand Bleimeister

A near enough to ever-present fixture in a UCLA lineup that reached the NCAA Tournament final before falling 3-2 to Stanford in a blockbuster of a game, Teagan Micah enjoyed a second consecutive outstanding season between the sticks for the Bruins. Ranking in the top 50 in the nation for goals against average and clean sheets, Micah enjoyed the help of a solid defence, but still put in a number of outstanding efforts to tally nine shutouts for the season and concede just 19 goals. The sophomore also came up with the decisive save in the NCAA College Cup semi-final shootout against Duke which allowed Marley Canales to step up and secure UCLA’s passage to the final.

Shelby Milton (St. Francis)
Team Record: 10-8-3 (NEC Champions, NCAA Tournament First Round)
Stats: 6 games, 2 starts

Shelby Milton featured in 19 games for St. Francis in 2016, but somehow her opportunities were restricted in 2017, making just six appearances for a Red Flash team that reached the NCAA Tournament after defeating Sam Roff and Fairleigh Dickinson on penalties in the Northeast Conference tournament championship game. Milton played the full 90 minutes in St. Francis’ 3-0 win over Radford, holding the Highlanders to just 3 shots all game, but that remained her only complete game appearance for the season. Fortunately, Milton has two more seasons in Pennsylvania to regain her position as an integral part of the team.

Ellie Papalexiou (Pacific)
Team Record: 5-13-2
Stats: 4 games, 0 starts

Frustrated by yet another knee injury, Ellie Papalexiou was restricted to just four appearances in her senior year after not being cleared to return until midway through the season. However, whilst on the pitch, her class was visible even when playing in an unfamiliar role in the centre of midfield, even if results weren’t always the best for a Pacific program still looking to find its feet having returned to the elite West Coast Conference in 2013 after several years in the Big West. Although she played just 28 games in her time at college due to injury, there is no doubting that Papalexiou has more than enough ability to have made a significant impact on this Pacific side, as shown in her 17 appearances in her freshman year in 2014.

Sam Roff (Fairleigh Dickinson)
Team Record: 9-8-4 (NEC Runner-Up)
Stats: 21 games, 21 starts

One of the stars of the Northeast Conference, Sam Roff was the undoubted rock at the back for Fairleigh Dickinson, earning herself an All-Conference First Team selection for her outstanding performances in defence. Whilst the sophomore wasn’t able to snag her first goal or assist, her efforts in her role as a defender were vital in Fairleigh Dickinson’s run to the Northeast Conference title game, where the Knights went down in a penalty shootout to Shelby Milton and Saint Francis after the game finished 0-0 following two periods of extra time.

Georgia Rowntree (Wyoming)
Team Record: 8-9-2
Stats: 19 games, 19 starts, 4 clean sheets

Photo Credit: University of Wyoming

A saviour at times for Wyoming, Georgia Rowntree often found herself needing to make more than her share of saves to keep the Cowgirls in games, with her save percentage of 76% far more representative of her ability than her clean sheet count of four for the season. The senior played all bar 72 minutes of the season, forming an almost ever-present force between the sticks, but unfortunately the Cowgirls couldn’t quite reach the Mountain West Conference tournament, with a final day win over rivals Colorado State not quite enough to secure a top six spot. Nonetheless, Rowntree carved out an exceptional career at Wyoming, with the Sydneysider leaving some rather large shoes to fill in Laramie.

Kate Swartwout (Western Carolina)
Team Record: 9-10-2 (Southern Conference Runner-Up)
Stats: 17 games, 6 starts, 1 assist

After making 11 starts last season, appearances in the first eleven were a little harder to come by for Kate Swartwout in 2017, featuring only six times in the starting lineup. However, Swartwout did make 17 appearances, one more than the 16 she made in 2016. Swartwout also chalked up a single assist despite being known more as a defender, setting up the equaliser in a 3-2 win over Kennesaw State. With a relatively young team that fell agonisingly short of the NCAA Tournament in 2017 following a Southern Conference championship game loss to UNC Greensboro, things are certainly looking up for both Swartwout and Western Carolina.

Claire Urquhart (Albany)
Team Record: 6-11-1
Stats: 12 games, 8 starts

After reaching the NCAA Tournament in 2016, 2017 was a bit more of a rebuilding year for Albany, who finished with a 6-11-1 record, but for Claire Urquhart, it represented a vastly increased opportunity to play under new coach Nick Bochette. After featuring in just seven games across her first two seasons, the junior started in 8 of her 12 appearances, ably filling a defensive role at various times throughout the season.

Harriet Withers (Murray State)
Team Record: 15-2-2 (OVC Champions, NCAA Tournament First Round)
Stats: 19 games, 19 starts, 12 goals, 2 assists

Photo Credit: Dave Winder/Murray State Athletics

As has been the case throughout Harriet Withers’ career, the senior once again banged home goals seemingly for fun at times as Murray State reached the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three years before falling 2-0 to Tennessee in the first round. Withers tallied 12 goals in 2017, good enough for 30th in the nation, whilst her six game winning goals were good enough for eighth. The senior also led all players in shots on target per game, averaging nearly three per game, which represented just over half of her total shots. Withers was also named to the United Soccer Coaches All-South Region First Team following yet another outstanding season, as well as picking up the #1 spot in Top Drawer Soccer’s Ohio Valley Conference Top 20 players.

End Of Season Awards:

Freshman of the Year: Sandra Hill (Grand Canyon)
Sophomore of the Year: Teagan Micah (UCLA) and Kristy Helmers (Nicholls State)
Junior of the Year: Monique Iannella (Hofstra)
Senior of the Year: Harriet Withers (Murray State)
Goalkeeper of the Year: Georgia Rowntree (Wyoming)
Defender of the Year: Monique Iannella (Hofstra)
Midfielder of the Year: Alisha Bass (Wyoming)
Forward of the Year: Harriet Withers (Murray State)
Breakout Player of the Year: Monique Iannella (Hofstra)
Most Consistent Player: Monique Iannella (Hofstra)
Top Goalscorer: Harriet Withers (Murray State)
Most Assists: Monique Iannella (Hofstra)
2017 College Matildas Player of the Year: Harriet Withers (Murray State)

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2017 Week 5 Preview

Week 5 really represents a leap into the middle portion of the 12 week college regular season. The first third of the campaign is in the book, and slowly but surely conference play is beginning to ramp up, with a couple of Aussies starting their league campaigns this week.

We dip our toes into the waters of conference play this week, with Caitlin Cantrill and LSU kicking off their SEC campaign against Vanderbilt on Monday morning. The pundits have this pegged to be a tough season for the Tigers, so they will certainly need to get some good results early on in the piece before they face some of the conference’s heavy hitters such as Florida and South Carolina later in the season.

Gaby Bentley and Old Dominion kick off their Conference USA slate against Western Kentucky on Saturday morning, with both teams rated an outside chance at making a run at the title. A win in this one would be the perfect start, with points against other top teams a must if the Monarchs are to secure a favourable seeding in the conference tournament.

Kristy Helmers, Tenille Harberger and Nicholls State also kick off conference play this week, taking on Lamar in their first game of the week to begin Southland Conference action. Results have been up and down to this point, with a couple of losses to SWAC teams real sticking points for the Colonels so far. Both teams look set to finish in the middle of the pack in the Southland, but with Lamar definitely the more fancied of the two sides. Kristy Helmers picked up a goal and an assist against Jackson State recently, and if she can maintain that good attacking form, an upset win isn’t out of the question.

Maddy Cornell and Southeast Missouri State round out our teams commencing their conference campaigns, taking on Tennessee Tech and Tennessee-Martin to commence Ohio Valley Conference play. The senior has already tallied two goals this season, one more than she had managed in her entire college career before 2017, forcing her way into the starting lineup and retaining her spot in the process. Neither the Redhawks nor their two opponents this weekend have had particularly good starts to the season, so no combination of results would be completely surprising, but the team from Cape Girardeau should be able to take at least four points from the two games if they play to their potential.

Despite being forced to bide her time at Oregon State, Olivia Ellis made her debut a couple of weeks ago and has seen reasonable playing time since. Ellis saw 45 minutes of action in Oregon State’s 3-0 loss to BYU, putting in a solid shift at fullback which will hopefully see the former Melbourne City defender rewarded with more minutes in the Beavers’ outing against in-state foe Portland on Saturday morning. It’s been a tough start to the season for the Pilots, but they are a program with a lot of history, and with that comes a lot of pride, meaning that this team will no doubt fight for the full 90 minutes and longer if they have to, so Oregon State will need to ensure there are no slip-ups.

Isabel Hodgson took a knock in East Tennessee State’s 4-1 loss to Radford and was forced to miss the Buccaneers’ game against Virginia Tech last weekend. After coming off the bench to play 73 minutes in a loss to Eastern Kentucky in midweek, the South Australian will no doubt be primed to make her return to the starting lineup against George Mason on Saturday morning. Having lost five of their last six matches, the Buccaneers need to start firing on all cylinders quickly, and this game against a 1-6 George Mason side may just be the confidence booster they need – if they can secure a solid victory, that is.

UCLA remain unbeaten thanks largely to the performances of Teagan Micah, and this weekend they face the always-dangerous Pepperdine in a local derby of sorts, with just 20 miles of Pacific Coast Highway separating the two sides. The Waves are amongst the favourites in a reasonably strong West Coast Conference, and whilst this isn’t the same Waves team that featured the likes of US national team player Lynn Williams, UCLA will still be wary of Pepperdine’s threats. Micah could be in for a slightly busier day than she had against Weber State, where the Queenslander was forced into a grand total of zero saves, but she has proven time and again that she is a top-class goalkeeper at this level and can face whatever challenges are thrown at her.

Whilst Teagan Micah has been class between the sticks, Harriet Withers has been making life hell for goalkeepers throughout the southeastern United States. The Murray State striker leads the nation in both total goals and goals per game, and the leaky defence of Morehead State will certainly need to shape up if they don’t want to be her next victim. The Eagles have given up 10 goals in their six games to this point, and with just one win to their name, Murray State will have their eye on moving to six straight wins to start the season. Things get tougher in the Racers’ second game of the week against Saint Louis, though. The Billikens are undefeated at 6-0-1 to start the season, and have scored 21 goals in comparison to the 3 that they have conceded. Both Withers and fellow Australian, defender Nyomi Devine, will need to be at their absolute best, as will the remainder of the Murray State side, if they are to take two wins this week.

With Monique Iannella showing her class in a fullback role and Emily Hulbert continuing her emergence as a true box-to-box threat, the Australians at Hofstra are certainly showing their worth out on Long Island. This week, they travel without even leaving that very landmass as they head to Stony Brook, less than 45 minutes’ drive away. It’s been a tough start to proceedings for the Seawolves, who have compiled a 2-5 record to this point, and whilst some of those losses were against much larger programs, they don’t cover up the losses to some of the smaller teams they have faced to this point. Hofstra, on the other hand, sit at .500 with a 3-3-2 record so far, with one of those losses coming to Penn State, and the two others being games that the Pride should probably have sneaked a point in. A complete-game effort from the Pride should see the Hofstra side take bragging rights on Long Island back to Hempstead, with Hulbert and Iannella certain to play large parts in any success the team may have in this contest.

Full Schedule:

Albany (Claire Urquhart)

This week: at Rhode Island – 9am, Friday September 15; at Missouri – 10am, Monday September 18

Central Connecticut State (Lauren Featherstone)

This week: v Vermont – 9am, Saturday September 16; at Brown – 5am, Monday September 18

Colorado (Isobel Dalton)

This week: at Denver – 11am, Sunday September 17

Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)

This week: v Penn – 9am, Friday September 15; v Villanova – 3am, Monday September 18

East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson)

This week: v George Mason – 9am, Saturday September 16

Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)

This week: at Gonzaga – 12pm, Saturday September 16; at Eastern Washington – 6am, Monday September 18

Grand Canyon (Sandra Hill)

This week: v Stetson – 9am, Friday September 15; v Hawaii – 9am, Monday September 18

Hawaii (Kiri Dale)

This week: at Arizona State – 12pm, Saturday September 16; at Grand Canyon – 9am, Monday September 18

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert, Monique Iannella)

This week: at Stony Brook – 9am, Friday September 15

La Salle (Claudia Jenkins)

This week: v Delaware – 9am, Saturday September 16; v West Virginia – 3am, Monday September 18

LSU (Caitlin Cantrill)

This week: v Cincinnati – 9am, Friday September 15; v Vanderbilt – 7am, Monday September 18

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)

This week: at Morehead State – 9am, Friday September 15; v St Louis – 5am, Monday September 18

Nicholls State (Tenille Harberger, Kristy Helmers)

This week: at Lamar – 10am, Saturday September 16; at Southern – 4am, Monday September 18

Old Dominion (Gaby Bentley)

This week: v Western Kentucky – 9am, Saturday September 16; v Richmond – 8am, Monday September 18

Oregon State (Olivia Ellis)

This week: at Portland – 12pm, Saturday September 16

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

This week: at UC Santa Barbara – 10:30am, Saturday September 16; at Cal Poly – 5am, Monday September 18

St. Francis (Shelby Milton)

This week: at UMBC – 9am, Friday September 15; v Radford – 4am, Monday September 18

Southeast Missouri State (Maddy Cornell)

This week: v Tennessee Tech – 9:30am, Saturday September 16; at Tennessee-Martin – 5am, Monday September 18

Stanford (Beattie Goad)

This week: at Santa Clara – 12pm, Monday September 18

Texas Southern (Paige Hayward)

This week: v LSU-Alexandria – 6am, Monday September 18

Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis)

This week: v San Diego State – 10am, Saturday September 16; v Cal State Northridge – 4am, Monday September 18

UCLA (Teagan Micah)

This week: v Pepperdine – 12pm, Saturday September 16

Western Carolina (Kate Swartwout)

This week: at Campbell – 9am, Saturday September 16; at North Carolina State – 3am, Monday September 18

William & Mary (Lorena Bugden)

This week: v UNC Greensboro – 4am, Monday September 18

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

This week: v Idaho State – 8am, Friday September 15

2017 Week 2 Wrap

The Paige Hayward v Harriet Withers showdown for top goalscorer is officially on for a second year running as both scored three goals in an entertaining weekend for the Aussies.

Paige Hayward may not have got her name on the scoresheet in the opening week of the season, but returned with a vengeance against NCAA Division III side Concordia of Austin, Texas, banging home a hat-trick in Texas Southern’s 5-0 win. Hayward also teed up a teammate to tally an assist to be directly involved in four goals despite playing just 50 minutes in her team’s only game of the week.

Whilst Hayward was scoring her first goals of the season, fellow SWAC player Priya Gakhar was making the first appearances of her college career for Grambling State. Coming off the bench in both games as the Tigers kicked off their season, Gakhar played 19 minutes in a win over NAIA side Texas A&M-Texarkana before enjoying an extended 52 minute stint in a 1-0 loss at home to New Mexico State. Gakhar wasn’t the only player making their debut this weekend. Claudia Jenkins also managed to find her way onto the pitch for La Salle, playing 24 minutes and making two saves in the Explorers’ 3-0 win over Iona.

It may not have been Gaby Bentley’s first game of college soccer, but the South Australian did pick up her first goal for Old Dominion this week. Coming off the bench against VCU, Bentley tallied the first strike of her college career, but the goal was unfortunately in vain as the Monarchs fell 3-1. Bentley then came off the bench to play 40 minutes in Old Dominion’s second game of the week against Duke, with the Monarchs again falling 3-1.

Harriet Withers was dominant last week for Murray State with two goals, and continued her scintillating early season form to lead the Racers to a pair of wins on their Alabama road trip. Withers scored a 77th minute winner against Troy as the Racers were rightly rewarded for their dominance with a 2-1 win. A tougher opponent came next in the form of South Alabama, but Withers cared not for reputations. South Alabama went up 1-0 on a 16th minute penalty, but the Australian senior tallied a pair of unassisted goals courtesy of her own pressure high up the field, creating her own chances to lead Murray State to a third consecutive win to start the season.

Beattie Goad was almost the hero for Stanford in their only match of the week against Florida. The sophomore swept home Jaye Boissiere’s centring ball to restore Stanford’s lead at 2-1 just shy of the hour mark after Florida had cancelled out a Stanford first half goal with one of their own. Unfortunately, two late goals from the Gators condemned Stanford to their first loss of the season despite outshooting Florida 14-8.

Alisha Bass is generally good for a bit of offensive spark, and brought in the best way possible in Wyoming’s game against Southern Utah. The senior knocked in a header at the far post early in the contest to give the Cowgirls a 1-0 lead, which they would eventually turn into a comprehensive 3-1 win. Unfortunately, things were less positive for Wyoming on their trip to Kentucky later in the weekend, going down 2-1 despite battling into a second overtime period before the Wildcats found the golden goal winner in the 103rd minute.

Player Of The Year Points:

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

Complete Results:

Albany (Claire Urquhart)

This week: defeated Colorado College 2-1; lost 5-1 to Denver

Claire Urquhart started both games for Albany this week, playing the full 90 minutes against Colorado College before backing up to play 67 minutes in the loss to Denver.

Central Connecticut State (Lauren Featherstone)

This week: defeated Rhode Island 1-0; lost 1-0 to Providence

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

Colorado (Isobel Dalton)

This week: defeated TCU 1-0; defeated UC Riverside 6-0

Isobel Dalton did not feature against TCU, but came off the bench to play 30 minutes against UC Riverside, ripping one 30 yard shot that forced the goalkeeper into a spectacular save.

Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)

This week: defeated Loyola Chicago 1-0; lost 3-0 to DePaul

Emma Heckenberg did not feature for Drexel in either game this week.

East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson)

This week: lost 6-1 to Tennessee; defeated Davidson 2-0

Isabel Hodgson played 79 minutes against Tennessee, tallying a single shot, before backing up to play 71 minutes in the win over Davidson, registering three shots.

Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)

This week: lost 3-2 to William & Mary; defeated Rider 2-0

Sam Roff started both games for Fairleigh Dickinson this week, completing the full 90 minutes on both occasions.

Grambling State (Priya Gakhar)

This week: defeated Texas A&M-Texarkana 1-0, lost 1-0 to New Mexico State

Priya Gakhar came off the bench to make her debut, playing 19 minutes against Texas A&M-Texarkana, before following up with 52 minutes off the bench in Grambling State’s loss to New Mexico State.

Grand Canyon (Sandra Hill)

This week: lost 1-0 to Northern Arizona; defeated Weber State 2-1

Sandra Hill came off the bench to play 7 minutes against Northern Arizona, but did not feature against Weber State.

Hawaii (Kiri Dale)

This week: lost 1-0 to Pacific; lost 2-0 to Seattle

Kiri Dale came off the bench against Pacific to play 68 minutes, registering one shot in the process. Dale started against Seattle, playing 20 minutes.

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert, Monique Iannella)

This week: drew 1-1 with Columbia – 8am; lost 1-0 to Boston University

Emily Hulbert and Monique Iannella each started both games for Hofstra this week. Hulbert played 45 minutes against Columbia and tallied a shot before completing a full game against Boston University, registering another shot. Iannella also played 45 minutes against Columbia, before registering a shot on target in a complete game against Boston University.

La Salle (Claudia Jenkins)

This week: defeated Iona 3-0; defeated Penn 1-0

Claudia Jenkins made her collegiate debut with 24 minutes off the bench against Iona, making two saves. Jenkins did not feature in the win over Penn, however.

LSU (Caitlin Cantrill)

This week: defeated Lamar 2-0

Caitlin Cantrill did not feature for LSU in their win over Lamar.

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)

This week: defeated Troy 2-1; defeated South Alabama 2-1

Harriet Withers was the undoubted star for Murray State, scoring the winner against Troy and both goals against South Alabama. Nyomi Devine played two complete games in defence, and even popped up for a couple of shots against South Alabama.

Nicholls State (Tenille Harberger, Kristy Helmers)

This week: Game v Prairie View A&M cancelled due to Hurricane Harvey

Old Dominion (Gaby Bentley)

This week: lost 3-1 to VCU; lost 3-1 to Duke

Gaby Bentley scored her first career goal as part of a half-hour stint off the bench against VCU, before playing 40 minutes against Duke.

Oregon State (Olivia Ellis)

This week: drew 0-0 with Missouri; lost 2-0 to Kansas

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

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

This week: defeated Hawaii 1-0, lost 3-0 to Seattle

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

Saint Francis (Shelby Milton)

This week: lost 3-0 to Dayton

Shelby Milton did not feature for Saint Francis in their loss to Dayton.

Southeast Missouri State (Maddy Cornell)

This week: lost 1-0 to Wisconsin-Milwaukee; defeated Wisconsin-Green Bay 2-0

Maddy Cornell played 37 minutes in the loss to Wisconsin-Milwaukee, but did not feature against Wisconsin-Green Bay.

Stanford (Beattie Goad)

This week: lost 3-2 to Florida

Beattie Goad came off the bench to play 50 minutes, knocking home Stanford’s second goal in their loss to Florida.

Texas Southern (Paige Hayward)

This week: defeated Concordia (Texas) 5-0

Paige Hayward was the star of Texas Southern’s 5-0 drubbing of Concordia, banging home a hat-trick and also tallying an assist in just 50 minutes of playing time.

Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis)

This week: lost 3-0 to Pepperdine; defeated San Diego 1-0

Demi Koulizakis came off the bench to play 14 minutes against Pepperdine, but did not feature against San Diego.

UCLA (Teagan Micah)

This week: defeated Santa Clara 4-2; defeated UC Santa Barbara 3-1

Teagan Micah played two complete games this week, making three saves against Santa Clara but having very little to do against UC Santa Barbara. Micah didn’t make a save all game, but could hardly be blamed for the goal that UCLA conceded.

Western Carolina (Kate Swartwout)

This week: lost 3-2 to Belmont; lost 1-0 to Tennessee Tech

Kate Swartwout started and played 77 minutes for Western Carolina in the loss to Belmont, before starting and playing 20 minutes against Tennessee Tech, registering a shot in the process.

William & Mary (Lorena Bugden)

This week: defeated Fairleigh-Dickinson 3-2; defeated Bucknell 3-1

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

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

This week: defeated Southern Utah 3-1; lost 2-1 to Kentucky (OT)

Alisha Bass started both games, scoring the opener against Southern Utah and playing 90 of the 102 minutes against Kentucky. Jemma House started both games but failed to register a shot in either contest. Georgia Rowntree was ever-present between the sticks, making one save against Southern Utah and four against Kentucky, whilst Jessie Gentle came off the bench in both games.

2017 Week 1 Preview

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

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

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

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

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

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

Full Schedule:

(All game times are in Sydney time)

Albany (Claire Urquhart)

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

Central Connecticut State (Lauren Featherstone)

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

Colorado (Isobel Dalton)

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

Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)

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

East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson)

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

Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)

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

Grand Canyon (Sandra Hill)

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

Hawaii (Kiri Dale)

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

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert, Monique Iannella)

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

La Salle (Claudia Jenkins)

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

LSU (Caitlin Cantrill)

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

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)

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

Nicholls State (Tenille Harberger, Kristy Helmers)

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

Old Dominion (Gaby Bentley)

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

Oregon State (Olivia Ellis)

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

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

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

Saint Francis (Shelby Milton)

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

Southeast Missouri State (Maddy Cornell)

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

Stanford (Beattie Goad)

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

Texas Southern (Paige Hayward)

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

Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis)

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

UCLA (Teagan Micah)

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

Western Carolina (Kate Swartwout)

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

William & Mary (Lorena Bugden)

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

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

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

2017 Player Previews

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

Claire Urquhart (Junior, Midfielder, Albany, Brisbane)

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

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

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

Isobel Dalton (Junior, Midfielder, Colorado, Caloundra)

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

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

Emma Heckenberg (Junior, Midfielder, Drexel, Melbourne)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kiri Dale (Sophomore, Midfielder, Hawaii, Mullumbimby)

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

Emily Hulbert (Senior, Defender, Hofstra, Melbourne)

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

Monique Iannella (Senior, Defender, Hofstra, Melbourne)

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

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.