2018 Player Previews

30 players will represent Australia in NCAA Division I women’s soccer this season, including 2017 national champion Beattie Goad at Stanford and national runner-up Teagan Micah at UCLA. However, with players such as Georgia Rowntree, Alisha Bass, Harriet Withers, Nyomi Devine, Emily Hulbert, and Paige Hayward having now graduated, it is almost a new era for College Matildas.

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Claire Urquhart (Senior, Defender, Albany, Brisbane)

Claire Urquhart was finally given a more extended run in the Albany side in her junior year, playing 12 games in 2017, compared to her seven total appearances in her first two seasons. The senior’s ability to slot into either midfield or the back four helped Urquhart in finding more opportunities last season, and with a number of defensive starters returning in 2018, it may again be the case that Urquhart finds herself splitting time across a number of positions. The Great Danes finished with a 6-11-1 record in 2017 and were knocked out in the first round of the America East tournament, but have scheduled a tough non-conference slate in 2018 that should leave them battle-tested and ready for an improved charge at a conference title this season and a return to the NCAA Tournament following 2016’s appearance in which they fell 4-2 to Connecticut in a tough first-round matchup.

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

Shelby Milton and Lauren Featherstone will face each other in conference play in 2018.

After redshirting her first year at Central Connecticut State, Lauren Featherstone comes into her first year of collegiate play with a year of experience under her belt. What effect this has on the Sydneysider’s play remains to be seen, but there is no doubting that not having to settle into college life whilst playing her first season will be an added positive for Featherstone. Already earmarked for a starting position in the CCSU midfield, Featherstone will still have to ensure she earns that spot in preseason, but it shapes to be an exciting year for the versatile midfielder. CCSU return the majority of players from last year’s Northeast Conference tournament semi-final team, meaning that this year shapes to be one of their best chances at a conference title and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

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

Having played in just 7 times for a total of 86 minutes in 2017, Isobel Dalton will certainly be hoping that her senior year brings more playing time at Colorado. The Buffaloes return the majority of last season’s midfield, but as always there will be some new opportunities opening up with a couple of players graduating after the 2017 season. With a pair of NCAA Tournament berths in the last two seasons, both of which ended in second round defeats, there is no doubt that Colorado will be looking to, at the very least, reach the Sweet 16 in 2018 and finally get over that hurdle.

Emma Heckenberg (Senior, Defender, Drexel, Melbourne)

Heckenberg started her career at Drexel up front, but has eventually found her niche in the backline, forming part of a stellar Dragons defence that conceded just five goals in conference play. The Victorian was limited to 13 appearances last season, but if she can remain fit in 2018, expect to see Heckenberg as a mainstay in a back four where stability will be vital given former goalkeeper and program stalwart Christiana Ogunsami graduated after last season. Having reached the CAA championship game in 2016 and semi-finals last season, Drexel will once again be gunning for a spot in the conference tournament in a generally tough and evenly-matched conference. If the defence remains as strong as in 2017, there is no reason that can’t happen.

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

Isabel Hodgson will be looking to help ETSU return to 2016 form. (Photo Credit: Dakota Hamilton)

Isabel Hodgson has played just about every position bar goalkeeper in her three years at East Tennessee State, and whilst she has been successful in every one of them, it appears that fullback will be her position going forward as the Buccaneers look to rebound from a 2017 campaign that saw the team finish with a 6-12 record and a dismal 0-8 road record. Hodgson was one of a pair of Australians in Division I to score more than one goal last season, proving that whilst her chances may not be as plentiful as when she was playing in a more advanced role, the South Australian still has the ability to get forward and join the attack when the opportunity presents itself.

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

One of the first names on the team sheet for Fairleigh Dickinson, Sam Roff has been among the best defenders in the entire Northeast Conference throughout her two seasons in New Jersey. Fairleigh Dickinson finished third in the NEC for average goals conceded per game in 2017, but the majority of those goals came during an extremely tough non-conference slate that set the Knights up for a conference season that saw them reach the conference championship game before falling to Shelby Milton and St. Francis in a shootout in the decider. Roff was rewarded for her outstanding performances in 2017 with a selection in the Northeast Conference All-Conference First Team, and with still two years left in her college career, the Canberra product could yet become one of the greats of the Fairleigh Dickinson program.

Hannah Allen (Freshman, Midfielder, Georgia Southern, Brisbane)

Listed as a forward for Georgia Southern but certainly able to play multiple positions, Hannah Allen joins an Eagles side looking to continue its upward trajectory, having improved from 6-10-1 in 2016 to 8-9-2 in 2017. Having played at school level under Brisbane Roar W-League coach Mel Andreatta, Allen has no doubt benefitted from that elite coaching and will now look to force her way into the team as part of a slightly large 30-player Eagles squad.

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

Sandra Hill will be looking to further cement her spot in the Grand Canyon side. (Photo Credit: Michael Rincon)

Although Sandra Hill won 2017’s College Matildas Freshman of the Year award, there is certainly plenty more to come from the Grand Canyon fullback. Fresh off her first appearances for the Cambodian national team at the AFF Championship, including an appearance against the Young Matildas, Hill returns to Arizona with priceless experience under her belt. Having made a reasonably decent 13 appearances in her freshman year, Hill will no doubt want to increase her playing time in her sophomore season, and with three of Grand Canyon’s eight defenders in their freshman season this year, Hill is now one of the more experienced players in the backline in just her second year of college soccer.

Kiri Dale (Junior, Midfielder, Hawaii, Mullumbimby)

Kiri Dale took a risk last season by transferring from Iona to the much more highly-rated Hawaii, but the move paid off in spades as the versatile wide player secured a spot in the Rainbow Wahine’s rotation. Dale made an instant impact in 2017, coming up with the assist on an overtime golden goal in the very first game of the season. That was Dale’s only assist of the season, but the Iona transfer made her mark in other ways, making 11 starts and 17 appearances for a Hawaii team that finished 6-10-1 but whose progress was hindered by a 1-6-1 conference record. If the Rainbow Wahine can improve that conference record, it will make for a vastly improved season and 10 wins is by no means out of the question. Dale will also not be the only Aussie at Hawaii this season, with former Washington State star and Matildas representative Rachael Doyle joining the program as an assistant coach.

Monique Iannella (Senior, Defender, Hofstra, Melbourne)

Monique Iannella’s ability to deliver crosses could prove vital for Hofstra this year. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Heisler)

2017’s College Matildas Defender of the Year, Iannella has proven herself to be a weapon at both ends of the pitch for Hofstra. Her ability to whip the ball in, particularly from corners, led to six assists last season, whilst her defensive prowess has rarely, if ever, been called into question during her time with the Pride as the team gave up just 14 goals in 21 games last season on the way to an NCAA Tournament appearance in which they were somehow forced to travel to Auburn for their first-round game, where they fell 1-0. Hofstra’s senior class in 2017 was absolutely stacked with talent, so the onus will now be on the likes of Iannella and her own senior class to lead the Pride and ensure that the team remains among the top sides in the Colonial Athletic Association.

Ashleigh Lefevre (Freshman, Defender, Illinois, Melbourne)

The most accomplished of the seven new additions to the list of Australians in Division I, Ashleigh Lefevre is also the only freshman joining a power conference team in 2018. A member of the Young Matildas side that finished 3rd at the 2016 AFF Women’s Championship, Lefevre tallied a goal in the side’s 20-0 demolition of Timor-Leste in that tournament before returning to play 25 games for Alamein FC in 2017’s Victorian NPL competition. The versatile defender returned in 2018 to play 12 games before heading to Illinois. The Fighting Illini finished with just five wins in 2017, their second straight season finishing below .500, but with the vast majority of the most integral parts of the starting lineup returning, the team looks to be on the upswing. But with six seniors graduating, many of whom started at least a few games, there will still be plenty of minutes up for grabs for Lefevre in her senior season even if she doesn’t secure a starting berth from day one.

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

Jenkins spent her freshman season playing the backup role as La Salle stalwart Larisa Zambelli saw the vast majority of minutes between the sticks for an Explorers side that won two consecutive overtime games to win the Atlantic 10 title and reach the NCAA Tournament in 2017. With Zambelli’s graduation following the 2017 season, Jenkins is now the only goalkeeper on the La Salle roster with any college experience whatsoever as the Explorers look to make a return trip to the national stage. La Salle kept clean sheets in all but three conference games last season, and return the majority of starters in defence, whilst at the other end, sisters Madison and Maci Bower combined for 21 goals last season to ensure those solid defensive efforts wouldn’t go to waste and both will return for their senior seasons in 2018.

Alyssa Van Heurck (Freshman, Defender, La Salle, Perth)

Alyssa Van Heurck becomes the second Australian on the La Salle roster this season, making the move from Perth to join the Explorers alongside Claudia Jenkins. A product of the Football West NTC program, Van Heurck will bolster a strong La Salle defence that returns most of its starters, but only five experienced players. With La Salle’s success in 2017 built on defence, Van Heurck, like Jenkins, will be expected to help maintain the team’s level at the back in 2018 as the versatile defender looks to slot straight into the lineup.

Siobhan Longmore (Junior, Midfielder, Lamar, Busselton)

Siobhan Longmore joins a highly successful Lamar side after two years in junior college.

A versatile defensive player with the ability to get forward from the back, Longmore joins a Lamar side that bulldozed its way through the Southland Conference in 2017. Whilst this will be the Busselton product’s first season in Division I, Longmore is no stranger to the world of college soccer, having played the last two seasons at Dodge City Community College in Kansas, and clearly did enough to draw the attention of the coaches at a program that is clearly on the rise after winning 18 of their 23 games last season and battling #6 seed Texas A&M all the way before falling to a 1-0 defeat in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Caitlin Cantrill (Junior, Midfielder, LSU, Canberra)

After featuring 12 times for LSU as a freshman, Cantrill managed just three appearances in 2017 and competition for playing time will be just as fierce in 2018 in a squad with 13 listed midfielders including freshman sensation Abbey Newton, who was recently named Florida’s Gatorade Player of the Year. The junior will be hoping for a return to the kind of playing time she saw in her freshman year, and LSU could do with not only Cantrill but all players firing on all cylinders as they look to hit double figures for wins for the first time since 2015, a season in which the roster featured former Western Sydney Wanderers and current Utah Royals defender Alex Arlitt.

Laura Farrelly (Freshman, Midfielder, Marshall, Central Coast)

Hailing from the same club as former College Matildas Freshman of the Year, Tia Gavin, Laura Farrelly joins a Marshall side looking to make some vast strides in 2018 after finishing 5-11-1 in 2017, missing the Conference USA tournament in the process after collecting just three wins in league play. Although Farrelly is primarily an attacking midfielder, the Manly United product can slot into a variety of positions in the centre of the park, and in a team overflowing with midfielders, that versatility could prove to be the ace up Farrelly’s sleeve that secures her more playing time than a player that is only comfortable in one position. With two senior midfielders in the starting lineup this year, 2018 may very well be Farrelly’s proving ground in an attempt to secure one of those spots that will open up in 2019.

Tessa Calabria (Junior, Forward, Nicholls State, Adelaide)

Tessa Calabria joins Siobhan Longmore as junior college transfers joining the Division I ranks this season, and the pair will face off at the top level as Calabria makes the move to Nicholls State, a Southland Conference foe of Longmore’s Lamar side. Calabria becomes the third Australian at Nicholls State, alongside Kristy Helmers and Tenille Harberger, continuing the pipeline from Australia to Thibodaux. Having established a reputation as an outstanding goalscorer during her time at Iowa Lakes Community College, the Nicholls State faithful will be hoping that this transfers to the Division I level for a team in severe need of improved scoring in 2018 after finishing 265th of 335 teams in Division I for total goals in 2017.

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

Kristy Helmers will once again lead the line for Nicholls State. (Photo Credit: Misty McElroy)

Helmers comes into the 2018 season as one of just two returning Australians to have scored more than one goal in 2017. However, the Canberra product will be hoping for a return to 2016’s output of 6 goals rather than last season’s 3 goals as the Colonels struggled to find the back of the net as a team in 2017, tallying just six goals in conference play. The team will no doubt be helped by the fact that 12 of their 19 games in 2018 will be played at home but will have to make sure that home advantage counts after finishing 2-5 on their own patch in 2017 despite registering a 4-6-1 record on the road against many of the same opponents they will face in 2018.

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

Having redshirted her first season in Thibodaux, Tenille Harberger will now look to make an impact on the pitch in 2018 after a year easing into college. Now one of three Australians on the Colonels roster, Harberger will be tasked with providing midfield service to her countrywomen in Tessa Calabria and Kristy Helmers, but will have to earn her spot on the pitch in a roster stacked with midfielders. With no less than 13 players on the roster listed as midfielders, Harberger will have to carve out her own spot in the rotation, perhaps with a view towards taking a spot held by one of the senior midfielders once they move on in 2019.

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

Gaby Bentley barely saw any playing time in her freshman season, but 2017 was a vastly different affair as the sophomore midfielder developed into an integral part of the Old Dominion team. Having appeared in just two games in 2016, Bentley finished with a single goal in her 17 appearances in midfield for an Old Dominion team that finished with a 9-5-4 record, a slight improvement on their 7-12 record in 2016. Whilst the Monarchs will have to replace C-USA Defender of the Year Jackie Stroud and starting goalkeeper Krista Moisio, who both graduated after the 2017 season, most of the team’s other starters return, including Bentley, who comes into this season as one of the more experienced midfield players for the Monarchs. Having finished 6-2-2 in conference play last season, Old Dominion will no doubt be seeing this season as the time to make that final jump to secure a conference title and make an NCAA Tournament appearance.

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

Senatore had a year away from the game due to injury in 2017 after a solid first two seasons at Southeast Missouri State, but now returns to shore up the Redhawks’ defence in her senior season. The only Aussie on the roster following Maddy Cornell’s graduation after the 2017 season, Senatore’s return is a timely one as the Redhawks feature only five pure defenders on the roster, although two other players have been known to slot into the backline. Having been just about ever-present in the Redhawks lineup prior to her injury, if Senatore can return to the form she showed before her absence, it will be a significant advantage for a team that finished 8-8-4 last season but was let down by their play on the road, finishing 1-5-4 away from Cape Girardeau.

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

Shelby Milton and St. Francis secured the Northeast Conference on penalties last season, delivering the team an NCAA Tournament berth in the process. However, the defender out of Wollongong was rarely sighted on the pitch for the Red Flash, playing just six games and 233 minutes, although two of those appearances were starts. There will be a spot opening up in the backline at St. Francis in 2018 though, as captain and NEC All-Conference First Team selection Allison LaDuke recently graduated. If Milton can return to the form that saw her feature in 19 games in 2016, that spot could certainly become hers in 2018 as the Red Flash look to make a return trip to the NCAA Tournament.

Beattie Goad (Junior, Midfielder, Stanford, Melbourne)

Having won a national championship in 2017, Beattie Goad and Stanford will be gunning for back-to-back titles and they will come into the season among the favourites after returning the vast majority of their title-winning team from last season. On a personal level, Goad will no doubt be hoping to secure more playing time than she managed in either of her first two seasons. Whilst the Victorian played in the majority of the games in both of her first two seasons, much of her playing time came in short stints, resulting in about 40 minutes of action in most of her appearances. There aren’t many spots opening up in the starting lineup for the Cardinal, so Goad will have to do plenty in preseason to earn a starting spot, where the junior’s improving versatility may prove to be another asset.

Demi Koulizakis (Junior, Midfielder, Texas Tech, Sydney)

‘Vastly underutitlised’ would probably be the most accurate way to describe Demi Koulizakis in 2017. Having played in 18 games in 2016, Koulizakis was afforded minimal playing time her sophomore year, with most of her 10 appearances allowing her far too little playing time to have any realistic chance of impacting a game. The forward stocks aren’t quite as overflowing at Texas Tech this season, but the Red Raiders do return a number of starters from 2017 in attacking roles. Whatever the case may be with regards to Koulizakis’ playing time this season, there is no doubt the Red Raiders could use some more goals, scoring multiple goals just three times in their nine conference games in 2017 as the team finished with a 9-7-3 record and a first-round exit in the Big 12 conference tournament.

Jodie Burchell (Freshman, Forward, Towson, Gold Coast)

A club teammate of former Colorado and Troy star Alex Huynh at Souths United in Queensland’s NPL competition, Burchell’s addition to the Towson lineup brings the number of Colonial Athletic Association teams featuring Aussies to four, alongside William and Mary, Drexel, and Hofstra. A target player with the ability to hold the ball up, Burchell has made 16 appearances for the third placed Souths United in Queensland’s NPL competition in 2018, scoring two goals in the process with most of her appearances coming as a substitute in the last 20 minutes. Towson struggled last season, finishing with just five wins and a fairly dismal 2-6-1 conference record, scoring just 6 goals in their Colonial Athletic Association schedule. With senior Maddie Bove taking 5 of the team’s 14 goals with her after graduating following the 2017 season, the onus will be on Burchell and her fellow forwards to not only make up that deficit, but add a few more in an effort to improve on last season’s record.

Teagan Micah (Junior, Goalkeeper, UCLA, Brisbane)

Having reached the College Cup championship game in 2017 before going down to Stanford in a classic at Orlando City Stadium, only one ending will suffice for Teagan Micah and UCLA in 2018: lifting the NCAA Championship trophy on the final day of the season. Micah has been all but ever-present between the sticks for the Bruins for the last two seasons, establishing herself as one of the better goalkeepers of her class in the process and a vital piece of the UCLA lineup. The Bruins lost a number of players to graduation after last season, but return a stacked team featuring recent US national team debutant Hailie Mace, bona-fide Canadian national team star Jessie Fleming, and a range of US youth team players in front of Micah as they look to make another run to the championship game in 2018.

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

A starter in six of her 17 appearances in 2017, Kate Swartwout will no doubt be hoping to convert more of those appearances into starts in her junior season. Primarily a defender, Swartwout’s height is a particular advantage in the backline, standing at 6 feet tall, a full two inches taller than any other player on the Catamounts roster. However, there is more to Swartwout’s game than standing tall and heading away crosses. Solid on the ball with a history of playing multiple positions during her younger years, the Gold Coast-born but North Carolina-raised junior has tallied an assist in each of her first two seasons in college. Western Carolina came from the clouds to reach the final of the Southern Conference tournament in 2017 before falling to UNC Greensboro in the final, with that run hopefully serving as a launchpad for this season.

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

Lorena Bugden spent her first year at William & Mary recuperating following a serious knee injury, and returns to a vastly changed program as head coach John Daly retired and Australian assistant coach Vanessa Mann took the head coaching job at UMBC. It was a disappointing season in 2017 for the Tribe as an 8-10-2 record saw the team’s 36-season streak of winning records snapped. The former Western Sydney Wanderers midfielder has been preparing herself well for the season, spending the winter regaining her fitness playing for APIA Leichhardt in the New South Wales NPL2 competition. Whilst she may not have been able to play in her freshman year, Bugden still has as good a chance as any player of securing solid minutes in 2018 as an inexperienced Tribe midfield looks to step up in a roster that features just four seniors and a total of eight upperclassmen, two of which are goalkeepers.

Annika Clayton (Senior, Midfielder, Wyoming, Sydney)

With the graduation of Alisha Bass and Georgia Rowntree after the 2017 season and Jemma House’s transfer to Nova Southeastern, Annika Clayton is now one of just two Australians on the Wyoming roster. Bass and Rowntree were two of the undoubted leaders of last year’s Cowgirls side, and as a senior, Clayton will no doubt be expected to step up to fulfil that role to some degree in 2018. The senior’s role in midfield will no doubt consist more of providing service to the frontline than creating her own chances, but nonetheless, Clayton will surely be hoping to improve on last season’s tally of a single goal as the Cowgirls look to replace the six goals that Aussie pair Alisha Bass and Jemma House tallied last season which represented one-third of the team’s total scoring for the season. Wyoming finished last season on a five-game losing streak that dropped them from 6-4-2 to 6-9-2, missing out on the Mountain West Conference tournament in the process, and ensuring the same thing does not happen again will be paramount in 2018.

Jessie Gentle (Senior, Forward, Wyoming, Woolgoolga)

Jessie Gentle forms the second half of Wyoming’s Aussie duo alongside Annika Clayton, and with both players in their senior season, we may be looking at the conclusion of an extended era of Aussie presence in the Cowgirls’ squad. However, Gentle, like Clayton, is an integral member of the Wyoming side, so the Australians are unlikely to go quietly into the good night. Able to play in any wide position, Gentle has been utilised both on the front line and as a wingback in her time at Laramie and has performed admirably in all positions. Although scoring hasn’t been Gentle’s forte, tallying just one goal in her three seasons, the Woolgoolga product did pop up with two assists in 2017 to move to four for her career, and a further increase in that number would surely go a long way to helping Wyoming improve on last season’s 6-9-2 record.

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)

2017 NCAA Tournament Wrap

We started the NCAA Tournament with nine Australians across seven teams in contention for the national championship. The majority fell by the wayside, but spectacularly, we reached the national championship game with the guarantee that one Aussie – either Teagan Micah at UCLA or Stanford’s Beattie Goad – would be a national championship by mid-afternoon. In the end, it was Goad and the Cardinal who secured the title with a 3-2 victory in a pulsating game between two highly exciting and skilful teams. In this wrap, we recap all 18 games featuring Australians, chronicling the journey to the second Australian national champion in as many seasons.

Jump to a round with the links below:

First Round
Second Round
Sweet Sixteen
Elite Eight
Final Four
National Championship Game

First Round

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert, Monique Iannella) lost 1-0 to Auburn

Despite being the higher team in the RPI rankings, Hofstra were forced to travel to Auburn for their first round game. In a tight game which saw Auburn outshoot Hofstra 14-12, it was a Bri Folds strike from the edge of the area in the 64th minute that proved to be the difference as Auburn ran out 1-0 winners. Both Monique Iannella and Emily Hulbert played the full 90 minutes, with Hulbert registering a single shot on target in what turned out to be her final college game.

La Salle (Claudia Jenkins) lost 3-1 to Rutgers

Despite the short distance between Philadelphia and Piscataway, La Salle’s matchup with nationally ranked Rutgers was always going to be a tough fixture for the Explorers. Despite being outshot 9-0 in the first half, La Salle managed to go in at halftime level at 0-0. Goals for Rutgers in the 52nd and 56th minutes looked to have set La Salle back on their heels, but a 65th minute goal from Madison Bower trimmed the margin until Rutgers restored their two-goal advantage with 10 minutes to play as the game finished 3-1 in the Scarlet Knights’ favour. Claudia Jenkins did not feature in this game, as senior Larisa Zambelli played the full 90 minutes between the sticks.

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers) lost 2-0 to Tennessee

In what was seen as a game between two evenly matched teams, Murray State held firm for the first hour of the contest before Tennessee managed to secure the win courtesy of two quick goals.  The Volunteers’ first goal came seconds shy of the hour mark through Danielle Marcano, before Erin Gilroy, who had set up Marcano’s goal, scored one of her own just four minutes later to completely shift the momentum of the contest in quick time. Harriet Withers finished with five shots, of which three were on target, but couldn’t manage a goal in her final college game as Tennessee goalkeeper Shae Yanez stood firm. Nyomi Devine played the full 90 minutes yet again as the defender’s endurance shone through yet again.

St. Francis (Shelby Milton) lost 2-0 to Virginia

St. Francis were destined to be up against it in their game against nationally ranked Virginia, and given the disparity in shots between the two sides, 2-0 was perhaps a scoreline respective of a solid rearguard effort from the Red Flash despite the loss. Virginia finished with 33 shots, but only seven of those ended up on target as the Cavaliers found goals hard to come by at times. A 23rd minute strike from Veronica Latsko opened the scoring after teammate Taylor Ziemer’s shot was deflected into her path, before Taryn Torres doubled the lead ten minutes after halftime. With just three shots all game, a comeback from St. Francis was always unlikely, and the game ended 2-0 in Virginia’s favour. St. Francis utilised just four substitutes all game, with Shelby Milton unfortunately not being one of those employed in this contest.

Colorado (Isobel Dalton) defeated Denver 2-1

Having defeated Denver 6-1 earlier in the season, Colorado had every reason to feel confident about advancing through to the second round, but the Pioneers had other ideas. A 38th minute goal for Leah Swander put Denver 1-0 up, setting Colorado on their heels slightly late in the first half. However, the Buffaloes regrouped to turn things around right out of the blocks after halftime. A 50th minute goal from Megan Massey was followed just two minutes later by a strike from Taylor Kornieck to give Colorado a 2-1 lead, with the home side managing to secure victory by that scoreline. Isobel Dalton did not feature for Colorado in this first round matchup.

UCLA (Teagan Micah) defeated San Diego State 3-1

UCLA defeated San Diego State 5-1 earlier in the season, and a similar result in this game would have barely raised an eyebrow in the world of college soccer. However, San Diego State produced a far better performance and remained in the contest until the dying stages. Goals to Anika Rodriguez in the 16th minute and Julia Hernandez nine minutes after halftime put UCLA up 2-0 and seemingly in command, but San Diego State replied through Mia Root just after the hour mark to leave the game in the balance at 2-1 in the Bruins’ favour with 27 minutes to play. Australian goalkeeper Teagan Micah made five saves to maintain UCLA’s lead, and MacKenzie Cerda secured the Bruins’ passage through to the second round with a goal five minutes from time as the home side ran out 3-1 victors.

Stanford (Beattie Goad) defeated Utah Valley 9-1

In what was always likely to be a blowout win for Stanford, the Cardinal certainly took that notion to the extreme with a 9-1 demolition of Utah Valley. Stanford went up 2-0 early in the piece courtesy of a pair of errors from the Wolverines’ goalkeeper as Madison Haley and Civana Kuhlmann capitalised. Utah Valley pulled one back in the 17th minute from a corner, but three goals in four minutes either side of the half-hour mark from Jaye Boissiere, Tierna Davidson, and Catarina Macario put the game to bed before halftime. Belle Briede added another before halftime, before three second-half goals, including two to Sam Tran, completed the rout. Beattie Goad came off the bench to play 36 minutes and was unlucky to not have an assist as teammates’ shots went agonisingly wide on a couple of occasions.

Second Round

Colorado (Isobel Dalton) lost 1-0 to North Carolina

As in 2014, Colorado found themselves up against North Carolina in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, and once again a sterling defensive effort gave the Buffaloes every chance of victory. However, in this case it was an early goal for North Carolina, rather than an overtime winner, that sealed Colorado’s fate as Brigitte Andrzejewski tallied the game’s only goal in the 26th minute. Colorado had more than a few chances, finishing with 11 shots to North Carolina’s 19, but couldn’t find the back of the net. Isobel Dalton unfortunately did not feature in the loss as coach Danny Sanchez kept the rotation short.

UCLA (Teagan Micah) defeated Northwestern 1-0 (OT)

Glacing at the box score, and seeing that UCLA finished with 13 shots on target to Northwestern’s 1, you may be forgiven for wondering how the Bruins could possibly have required extra time to finish this one. However, the side from Westwood faced an inspired performance from Northwestern goalkeeper Lauren Clem, who came up with 12 saves, many of them high quality, to keep the Wildcats in the game despite an almost complete absence of meaningful attacks from her team. However, early in extra time, Ashley Sanchez bisected the Northwestern defence with a sublime pass which found Anika Rodriguez, who buried the one-on-one chance to send the Drake Stadium crowd into raptures. Teagan Micah played all 92 minutes, finishing with the clean sheet after making the only save that she was forced into all night.

Stanford (Beattie Goad) defeated Auburn 2-0

Auburn may have knocked out a pair of Australians in Emily Hulbert and Monique Iannella with their win over Hofstra in the first round, but there was no getting past Beattie Goad and Stanford in the second round. The Tigers held on until halftime, keeping the Cardinal out, but the second half saw Stanford run over the top of the visitors. Kyra Carusa scored the opener in the 58th minute, and when Catarina Macario doubled the lead 9 minutes later, the game was firmly in Stanford’s control. With Auburn only managing three shots all game, victory was all but assured for Stanford once the second goal went in, and it came to pass as such. Beattie Goad enjoyed a stint off the bench with the game still in the balance, registering two shots in 26 minutes of playing time.

Sweet Sixteen

UCLA defeated Virginia 2-1

In what was one of the most confusing matches of the season in terms of the teams playing compared with how the game played out, UCLA emerged victorious with an 89th minute winner to move into the Elite Eight. Virginia opened the scoring via an own goal in the sixth minute, with UCLA defender Karina Rodriguez heading a Cavaliers free kick into her own net with Teagan Micah left stranded. UCLA equalised a mere 35 seconds later, with Jessie Fleming converting a penalty after Ashley Sanchez was brought down in the box by Megan Reid, who received a yellow card. With two potent attacking lineups, and two goals inside the first six minutes, a deluge of goals seemed almost inevitable, but somehow the teams combined for just 11 shots on target all game, eight of which came from UCLA. The tide shifted monumentally late in regulation, as Virginia defender Courtney Petersen received a second yellow card after a slightly cynical foul deep in UCLA attacking territory. With the game seemingly destined to head into extra time, Sanchez cut open the Virginia defence, which was now a player short, for Rodriguez to finish in a similar fashion to her winner against Northwestern. Teagan Micah again played the entire game, finishing with two saves.

Stanford (Beattie Goad) defeated Florida State 1-0

Florida State may not have been the powerhouse this season that they have been in recent years, but the Seminoles know exactly what November soccer is all about, and their rearguard defence gave Stanford plenty to think about. Stanford had plenty of chances, taking 22 shots, but with only eight on target, were unable to find the back of the net until Tierna Davidson took things into her own hands with 12 minutes remaining. Picking the ball up in the back line, Davidson drove into the midfield, and with no Seminoles player shutting her down, simply continued on her run, taking on several defenders before finding Jordan DiBiasi in the area, who lashed the ball home for the game’s only goal. Once again, Stanford limited their opponents’ opportunities throughout, allowing the Seminoles just one shot on target. Unfortunately, despite enjoying decent playing time in the first two rounds, Beattie Goad’s services were not required for this game.

Elite Eight

UCLA (Teagan Micah) defeated Princeton 3-1

UCLA faced a dangerous Princeton side which had already knocked off #1 seed North Carolina, but the Bruins soon took control of the game with an early goal to Hailie Mace courtesy of a well-placed header in the 16th minute. A second goal followed just two minutes later as some spectacular interplay on the right-hand side saw Zoey Goralski and Anika Rodriguez combine to set up Olivia Athens, who slotted the ball home from close range. The score remained 2-0 until halftime, but Princeton pulled one back shortly after halftime as Abby Givens was played through and finished the one-on-one chance despite the best efforts of Teagan Micah, who did well to close down the angle but couldn’t prevent the goal. However, Mace re-established the Bruins’ two goal cushion on the hour mark, rounding the goalkeeper and knocking the ball into the empty net for the game’s final goal as UCLA ran out 3-1 winners. Teagan Micah was again between the sticks for the full 90 minutes, making 3 saves.

Stanford (Beattie Goad) defeated Penn State 4-0

This match against Penn State shaped to be Stanford’s biggest test thus far, but the Cardinal put paid to that with a first half onslaught that rendered the game over as a contest by halftime. Giving up a free kick in scoring position with Catarina Macario on the pitch is not generally a good strategy, but that’s what Penn State were forced into doing just 90 seconds in, and the Brazilian-born forward curled the resulting set piece home for an early Cardinal lead. Stanford goalkeeper Alison Jahanzous kept the game at 1-0 with a spectacular tip over the bar in the 8th minute, before Andi Sullivan doubled the lead just after the 10 minute mark with a superbly positioned strike into the bottom right corner. Jaye Boissiere nestled one into the bottom left corner just 88 seconds later, whilst Kyra Carusa added a fourth in the 25th minute, slotting home a Macario through ball, and the result was in the bag before Beattie Goad could even get on the pitch. Goad played a few minutes in the back end of the first half before enjoying a more extended stint on the pitch in the second half to play 29 minutes as Stanford cruised to the win.

Final Four

Stanford (Beattie Goad) defeated South Carolina 2-0

A first-half blitzkrieg from Stanford was enough to secure their passage into the national championship game. Tegan McGrady’s free kick was met by a deft header from Jordan DiBiasi to give the Cardinal a lead in the 10th minute, and with the Stanford defence holding South Carolina’s attack at bay throughout much of the first half, DiBiasi’s second goal of the game in the 26th minute gave the top-ranked Cardinal a comfortable 2-0 advantage. Although Stanford were unable to add to their lead throughout the rest of the contest, South Carolina managed just one shot on target for the entire game, meaning that the lead was rarely in danger. Beattie Goad was used sparingly, coming on in the back end of the first half to afford starter Kyra Carusa an extended halftime break.

UCLA (Teagan Micah) defeated Duke 4-3 on penalties (0-0 after extra time)

Teagan Micah was one of the heroes for UCLA in their semi-final shootout victory against Duke, making the decisive save as the Bruins advanced to the national championship game. Both teams were hampered slightly by an inability to get the ball on target throughout the contest, with just one of UCLA’s 15 shots being on goal, whilst Duke could only manage to get a marginally better 3 of their 10 attempts on target. UCLA did have a couple of shots blocked late in the first half of extra time, but with few shots in the second period, goals became more and more unlikely and eventually the teams moved to one end of the pitch for a shootout. Malinda Allen missed Duke’s second penalty to give UCLA an early advantage, but MacKenzie Cerda’s penalty for UCLA was saved to leave the shootout tied at 2-2 after three shots. Each team converted their fourth, but Teagan Micah came up with the save as Duke’s Kat McDonald attempted to place the ball down the middle. Freshman Marley Canales slotted UCLA’s fifth penalty, clinching the win and sending the Bruins into raptures.

National Championship Game

Stanford (Beattie Goad) defeated UCLA (Teagan Micah) 3-2

As in their semi-final, Stanford came out firing to score two early goals to command control of the national championship game in the first half. Kyra Carusa opened the scoring for the Cardinal in the 15th minute as Teagan Micah misjudged an awkwardly spinning deflected cross, leaving the Stanford forward wide open to smash the ball past the UCLA defenders valiantly attempting to get a block in on the line. Micah could hardly be faulted for Stanford’s second goal though. Catarina Macario played Andi Sullivan through with an incisive through ball, and the US national team midfielder slotted the one-on-one chance to double the Stanford lead. Stanford retained the lead until halftime despite penalty shouts to both sides being waved away by the referee and numerous chances for the Bruins as the first half came to a close.

However, 9 minutes into the second half, Stanford goalkeeper Alison Jahansouz brought down UCLA fifth-year senior Zoey Goralski in the box and the referee had absolutely no choice but to point to the spot. Canadian national team midfielder Jessie Fleming stepped up, despite not taking a penalty in the Bruins’ semi-final shootout victory, and although Jahansouz got a hand to the shot, the ball nestled in the side netting to cut Stanford’s lead in half. Four minutes later, Delanie Sheehan found the equaliser as a UCLA corner was flicked on at the near post, finding Sheehan at the back stick, who managed to outjump her defender and find the back of the net.

In a game with five goals, the best was certainly saved for last. Receiving a pass from  Macario, Stanford redshirt sophomore Jaye Boissiere found a bit of space about 25 yards from goal, and hit a sublime curling shot which left Micah with no chance as the Cardinal retook the lead which they had let slip just 8 minutes earlier, and also delivered Macario a third assist for the game. Tegan McGrady almost followed up four minutes later with an absolute cannon of a shot that may have exited Earth’s orbit if it hadn’t hit the post and rebounded back out. UCLA had a couple of chances late on, with MacKenzie Cerda forcing a save from Jahansouz, but Stanford managed to hold onto their lead for the final 24 minutes to secure the program’s second national title and move one ahead of UCLA in terms of all-time national championships across all sports with their 114th – although UCLA would secure their own 114th national championship just five hours later with a victory in the men’s water polo championship.

For the champions, Beattie Goad came on briefly in the first half, coming on for Kyra Carusa for the last 8 minutes of the opening period. Teagan Micah played the full 90 minutes, making seven saves including a couple that kept UCLA in the contest late in the first half. Goad becomes the second Australian in consecutive seasons to win a national championship, following Lucinda Pullar’s victory with USC last season.

2017 NCAA Tournament Preview

Seven teams featuring nine Aussies will form part of the 64-team NCAA Tournament. Two teams – Stanford and UCLA – are among the teams expected to make deep runs in the tournament, whilst others are looking to write a Cinderella story.

Stanford (Beattie Goad)

First Round: v Utah Valley – 2pm, Sunday November 12

As was the case in 2016, Stanford come into the NCAA Tournament as the #1 overall seed, but with a better team and a stronger chance to go all the way than was the case last year, when the Cardinal fell in the Round of 32 to Santa Clara following an injury to Andi Sullivan. The Cardinal start their NCAA Tournament campaign at home to Utah Valley, a team that was only able to put together a 10-11-1 record for the regular season, but managed to win their way through the Western Athletic Conference tournament to secure their spot in the NCAA Tournament. A win in the opener will see Stanford host either Aussie-laden Hofstra or Auburn in the Round of 32, whilst their main challengers for a spot in the College Cup in Orlando come December shape to be Penn State and last year’s national runner-up West Virginia. Minutes have been hard to come by for Beattie Goad in recent weeks, but if Stanford can comfortably handle Utah Valley, then a spell on the field late in the game may just come the sophomore’s way.

Colorado (Isobel Dalton)

First Round: v Denver – 6am, Monday November 13

Colorado just scraped into the tournament with what must have been one of the last at-large bids handed out. A bubble team in every sense of the word, Isobel Dalton and the Buffaloes have been given a fairly favourable draw as geographical considerations see them take on Denver, one of the lowest RPI sides in the entire tournament at 225th. A win for Colorado would see them most probably face #1 seed North Carolina in a rematch of an NCAA Tournament game from 2014 that saw the much more fancied North Carolina side just scrape home with a 1-0 win in overtime after a fantastic rearguard performance from a Colorado defence featuring Australian Alex Huynh.

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert, Monique Iannella)

First Round: at Auburn – 10am, Saturday November 11

A bubble team coming into the conference tournament final against Northeastern, Hofstra removed all doubt with a 2-1 win which secured an automatic bid and delivered a trip to Alabama to play Auburn. The choice of who hosts this game may raise eyebrows, with Hofstra sitting at #22 in the RPI and Auburn at #27, but the Pride can only play the game on the rectangle of grass at which it has been scheduled. It will no doubt be an incredibly hard-fought battle between what appear to be evenly matched teams, and a win for Hofstra would almost certainly see the CAA champions take on #1 overall seed Stanford in the second round.

La Salle (Claudia Jenkins)

First Round: at Rutgers – 9am, Sunday November 12

A dominant force throughout the Atlantic 10 regular season, things became decidedly harder for the Explorers as they required overtime in both their semi-final and final victories on their way to securing their spot in the NCAA Tournament. Now, they face a short but tough away trip to New Jersey to face nationally ranked Rutgers, a side that has given up just five goals in 19 games to this point. La Salle may have banged home 47 goals this season, but that Rutgers defence, and particularly goalkeeper Casey Murphy, will be incredibly hard to breach. If the Explorers are able to sneak a win over Rutgers, their likely second round opponent would be last year’s national runner-up West Virginia, who, despite losing Ashley Lawrence and Kadeisha Buchanan from last year’s side, remain a force at this level.

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)

First Round: @ Tennessee – 9am, Sunday November 12

Murray State come into this contest with an almost identical RPI to Tennessee, in yet another game that will attempt to answer the question as to the gap between solid power conference teams and dominant mid-majors. Tennessee finished in a tie for fourth in the always-strong SEC with a 14-4-1 record, whilst Murray State were simply dominant in the Ohio Valley Conference, going 8-0-2 in the regular season before clinching the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament by winning the conference championship. The Racers have a real shot in this one, but they will need to re-discover their attacking form from earlier in the season, having scored multiple goals in just one of their last six games. During that time though, they have kept five clean sheets, but Tennessee come in having scored 43 goals this season.

St. Francis (Shelby Milton)

First Round: at #3 Virginia – 11am, Sunday November 12

As the lowest rated team of those which feature Aussies, Shelby Milton and St. Francis have the toughest draw of the seven, playing #3 seed Virginia away in the first round. St. Francis played a fairly tough non-conference schedule and came into league play with a 3-6-1 record, but recovered in conference play to finish 10-7-3 and win the Northeast Conference title on penalties over Sam Roff and Fairleigh Dickinson. Virginia’s record reads a similar 11-5-4, but with one significant difference: the Cavaliers play in the ACC, one of the top conferences in the nation. #3 seeds generally win their first round games by margins of three goals or more, but St. Francis can look to 2015’s upset of California by Loyola Marymount for inspiration in their attempt to create a boilover on the first weekend.

UCLA (Teagan Micah)

First Round: v San Diego State – 2pm, Saturday November 11

Despite securing a #2 seed, geographical considerations mean that UCLA will be taking on #80 RPI San Diego State despite a number of teams in the tournament sitting in the sub-200 range. However, UCLA have already played San Diego State this season, demolishing the Aztecs 5-1 as part of a five-game stretch to start the season in which the Bruins smashed home 25 goals. With Australian sophomore Teagan Micah in goal behind a defence that has been wall-like at times this season, UCLA have dropped points in just three games this season, although one of those was a loss to overall #1 seed Stanford. If the Bruins do get past San Diego State, they will take on Butler or Northwestern before facing either Pepperdine – whom they drew 1-1 with earlier in the season – or #3 seed Virginia. If the Bruins make the Elite Eight, they will likely face #1 seed North Carolina in an exact replay of the 2013 matchup at the same stage – #2 UCLA v #1 UNC. UCLA won that game 1-0 on their way to a national title, defeating Virginia on penalties in the semi-finals before edging Florida State in overtime.

2017 Week 12 Wrap

Six conference championship games involving Australians made for an exciting Sunday as teams looked to punch their tickets to the NCAA Tournament. Elsewhere, Paige Hayward finally secured the career scoring record for Texas Southern.

Paige Hayward had a successful weekend on a personal level, but unfortunately that didn’t transpire into team success as Texas Southern fell in the SWAC Tournament semi-finals. Playing in the final conference tournament of her career, Hayward slotted home the winner in the Tigers’ win over home side Prairie View A&M in the quarterfinals, and in the process broke the Texas Southern career record for goals scored as the senior took her career total to 25. Hayward’s record is made all the more impressive by the fact that the Sydneysider played the first season of her college career at Texas-Brownsville before transferring to Texas Southern.

Sunday saw Aussies involved in six conference championship games, all attempting to join Beattie Goad and Stanford in the NCAA Tournament after the Cardinal secured their spot last week. Hofstra, Western Carolina, Murray State, Grambling State, La Salle, Fairleigh Dickinson, and St. Francis all saw their seasons hinge on their result in a conference championship game.

Three early games kicked off simultaneously, with all requiring extra time. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be for Priya Gakhar and Grambling State, who fell to Alabama State – featuring Australian assistant coach Shelbi Vienna-Hallam – in a penalty shootout after the game finished 0-0, with Gakhar playing a short cameo off the bench but not being involved in the shootout.

La Salle, whose Australian goalkeeper Claudia Jenkins was forced to watch from the sidelines as senior starter Larisa Zambelli played yet another blinder, looked certain to go to penalties as well as their championship game against VCU headed deep into extra time with the score at 0-0. However, a late Maci Bower goal ensured that the Explorers would secure victory, and in the process punch their ticket to the NCAA Tournament.

Whilst Shelby Milton did not take to the field for St. Francis, Sam Roff played the full 110 minutes for Fairleigh Dickinson as the Northeast Conference foes played off in the championship game. Roff, an All-Conference First Team selection, and her fellow defenders were solid all game as neither team was able to manage a goal, forcing the game into a penalty shootout. In the end, St. Francis were the better side from the spot, clinching the conference championship and their spot in the NCAA Tournament.

Whilst these games were heading to their conclusion, the Australian duo of Emily Hulbert and Monique Iannella at Hofstra were just kicking off against Northeastern. Hofstra started amazingly, with a goal inside 90 seconds to take an early 1-0 lead against the dangerous Northeastern side. The Huskies would equalise shortly after, but Monique Iannella had no designs on allowing Hofstra’s opponents to keep pace for long. Whipping in a delightful free kick, Iannella found the head of Jenn Buoncore to give the Pride a 2-1 lead shortly before halftime. The game ebbed and flowed throughout, but in the end Hofstra would not be denied, maintaining their perfect conference record in 2017.

Kate Swartwout played a short cameo for Western Carolina in their championship game against UNC Greensboro, but unfortunately the Catamounts couldn’t repeat the dose after upsetting Furman in the Southern Conference semi-finals. Despite outshooting UNC Greensboro 20-7, Western Carolina fell 1-0 to a goal just after halftime.

The news was better for Murray State stars Harriet Withers and Nyomi Devine, who secured a second NCAA Tournament trip in three years with a win over Australian assistant coach Rachael Doyle and Eastern Kentucky. Despite a barrage of shots, including five on target from Withers, the Racers were unable to break the deadlock until the 94th minute, when Devine teed up Miyah Watford for the golden goal in the first period of overtime.

Those results leave us with five teams featuring Aussies on the roster securing automatic bids to the NCAA Tournament: Stanford (Beattie Goad), Hofstra (Emily Hulbert, Monique Iannella), St. Francis (Shelby Milton), Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers), and La Salle (Claudia Jenkins). Teagan Micah and UCLA have secured an at-large bid, even if the news is not yet official, whilst Isobel Dalton and Colorado will have to sweat on the decision-making of the selection committee.

Player Of The Year Points:

3: Paige Hayward (Texas Southern)
2: Monique Iannella (Hofstra)
1: Nyomi Devine (Murray State)

Complete Results:

Central Connecticut State (Lauren Featherstone)

This week: lost 2-1 to Saint Francis

Lauren Featherstone did not feature in Central Connecticut State’s season-ending loss to Saint Francis.

Colorado (Isobel Dalton)

This week: defeated Utah 2-0

Isobel Dalton came off the bench, playing a single minute in Colorado’s win over Utah which leaves the Buffaloes sweating on an NCAA Tournament at-large bid.

Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)

This week: lost 2-0 to Northeastern

Emma Heckenberg started for Drexel in their conference tournament semi-final loss to Northeastern, playing 42 minutes.

Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)

This week: defeated Bryant 2-1, lost 3-2 on penalties to St. Francis (0-0 AET)

Sam Roff started both games and played all 200 minutes of game time as Fairleigh Dickinson fell desperately short of securing a conference championship after losing on penalties to St. Francis.

Grambling State (Priya Gakhar)

This week: defeated Jackson State 1-0; defeated Grambling State 3-1; lost 4-2 on penalties to Alabama State (0-0 AET)

Priya Gakhar came off the bench for short cameos in all three games this week as Grambling State fell short of a conference championship by the slimmest of margins, going down in penalties in the SWAC Tournament final.

Grand Canyon (Sandra Hill)

This week: defeated UTRGV 2-1; lost 1-0 to Utah Valley

Sandra Hill did not feature in Grand Canyon’s WAC quarter-final win over UTRGV, but came off the bench to play 8 minutes in the semi-final loss to Utah Valley.

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert, Monique Iannella)

This week: defeated William & Mary 1-0; defeated Northeastern 2-1

Both Emily Hulbert and Monique Iannella played the full 90 minutes in both games as Hofstra won the Colonial Athletic Association tournament and secured an NCAA Tournament berth. Iannella had an assist in each game, whilst Hulbert registered a single shot in the win over William & Mary.

La Salle (Claudia Jenkins)

This week: defeated Duquesne 2-1 (OT); defeated VCU (OT)

Claudia Jenkins did not feature for La Salle in either game this week. Starter Larisa Zambelli won the Player of the Tournament award as the Explorers rounded out a successful conference schedule by winning the conference tournament and punching their ticket to the NCAA Tournament.

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)

This week: defeated Southeast Missouri State 1-0; defeated Eastern Kentucky 1-0 (OT)

Nyomi Devine and Harriet Withers each started both games this week as Murray State secured their second conference title in three years and secured an NCAA Tournament berth in the process. Devine played all 183 minutes of game time, whilst Withers played 84 minutes in the win over Southeast Missouri State and 86 minutes in the championship game victory over Eastern Kentucky, tallying five shots on target in the latter contest.

Oregon State (Olivia Ellis)

This week: defeated Oregon 1-0

Olivia Ellis did not feature in Oregon State’s final day rivalry win over Oregon.

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

This week: lost 1-0 to Saint Mary’s

Ellie Papalexiou did not feature in Pacific’s loss to Saint Mary’s.

St. Francis (Shelby Milton)

This week: defeated Central Connecticut State 2-1; defeated Fairleigh Dickinson 3-2 on penalties (0-0 AET)

Shelby Milton did not feature for St. Francis in either game this weekend as the Red Flash secured an NCAA Tournament berth after edging Fairleigh Dickinson on penalties in the Northeast Conference tournament final.

Southeast Missouri State (Maddy Cornell)

This week: lost 1-0 to Murray State

Maddy Cornell started for Southeast Missouri State in their Ohio Valley Conference semi-final loss to Murray State, playing 55 minutes.

Stanford (Beattie Goad)

This week: defeated California 1-0

Beattie Goad did not feature for Stanford in their 1-0 win over California.

Texas Southern (Paige Hayward)

This week: defeated Prairie View A&M 1-0; lost 6-5 on penalties to Alabama State (1-1 AET)

Paige Hayward started both games in her final SWAC conference tournament, setting the Texas Southern career goalscoring record with the game’s only goal in the quarter-final win over hosts Prairie View A&M.

UCLA (Teagan Micah)

This week: defeated USC 3-2 (OT)

Teagan Micah came off the bench to play the second half and overtime as senior Siri Ervik was afforded the start in UCLA’s final regular season game. Micah was not forced into any saves and kept a 46 minute clean sheet as UCLA secured the win in front of a regular season record 11,925 fans.

Western Carolina (Kate Swartwout)

This week: defeated Furman 2-0; lost 1-0 to UNC Greensboro

Kate Swartwout did not feature in the Catamounts’ boilover semifinal win over Furman, but came off the bench to play a short cameo in the championship game loss to UNC Greensboro.

William & Mary (Lorena Bugden)

This week: lost 1-0 to Hofstra

Lorena Bugden did not feature in William & Mary’s season-ending semi-final loss to Hofstra.

2017 Week 6 Preview

Revenge may be a dish best served 10 months later for Isabel Hodgson and East Tennessee State, whilst the Pac-12 battle for national supremacy between UCLA and Stanford continues to simmer as both teams commence conference play this week. SWAC play also commences for our Aussies this week, with both Priya Gakhar and Paige Hayward hungry for goals.

The last game of the 2016 Southern Conference season was the championship game between East Tennessee State and Samford. Adelaide’s Isabel Hodgson scored the opener just two minutes in, but Samford equalised late in the first half before finding a second half winner to take the title and the NCAA Tournament bid that comes with it. However, the Buccaneers get an early chance at revenge this season, facing the Bulldogs in their opening weekend of conference play. Hodgson and ETSU also take on Chattanooga this week, and if they can pick up the win that their class deserves in that game, it will no doubt go some way to restoring their confidence after falling to four straight losses by two or more goals. Goals have hardly been a problem for Hodgson and the rest of the attack, but better defensive efforts will be required in these two games if they are to start their conference slate on a high.

 

dalton-and-micah
Isobel Dalton and Teagan Micah will renew “hostilities”, if you can call them that, this weekend.

The Pac-12 games featuring Aussies on both sides get started early this season, withTeagan Micah’s UCLA side heading to Boulder to face Isobel Dalton and Colorado. This particular matchup was played much later in the season in 2016, with Colorado picking up an unexpected 1-0 win on their home patch. Forced to travel to Boulder again, UCLA will be hoping to bounce back from a 1-1 draw against Pepperdine in their last fixture in which they did everything except score a second goal which would have clinched victory. The Colorado attack has swung between both ends of the spectrum wildly so far this season, picking up a pair of 6-0 wins but also finding goals hard to come by. Which Colorado turns up to play could have a major say in just how busy Micah will be in each team’s only game of the week. However, UCLA’s attack will have to be on point if they are to beat the Buffaloes’ goalkeeping tandem of Scout Watson and Jalen Tompkins, who have combined for 7 clean sheets in 9 games to this point.

Meanwhile, Beattie Goad and Stanford remain ready to pounce on top spot in the polls if UCLA do slip up against Colorado. The Cardinal take on a Washington State team which, on the face of it, looks to be doing quite well at 5-1-2. However, a 0-0 draw with Montana this week may have exposed some flaws in the attacking side of the Cougars’ game, and against a Stanford side with six clean sheets in eight games, that’s not something you want being made public in the lead-up to the game. Beattie Goad forms part of that defence in the left back role, but her attacking instincts have already delivered a goal and an assist so far this season, and to see the former W-League champion getting up and down the flank to assist attacking raids would not be a surprise in the slightest.

Murray State had a tough weekend last week, dropping their first points of the season in a 1-0 loss to Saint Louis. Despite this, they will go into their first full weekend of Ohio Valley Conference play this week knowing that they have exactly what it takes to dominate this league, and why not? Their only conference loss in the last two seasons came in last year’s conference tournament, and even then it was a game they could easily have won. The Racers have already knocked off a couple of teams considered better than this weekend’s opponents – Tennessee Tech and Jacksonville State – and Harriet Withers rarely goes two weeks without banging home a goal. Throw in Nyomi Devine marshalling the defence, and things are still looking pretty good for Murray State as they look to add to last week’s 1-0 win over Morehead State in their conference opener.

Conference play also kicks off for our two players in the SWAC, and whilst the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey may have disrupted things for Paige Hayward and Texas Southern, conference play is where the Australian senior has shone in recent years. The Tigers could have been considered heavily overmatched in their opening few Division I games, all of which they lost 3-0, but with Hayward up front, there is no reason to think the goals won’t start to flow for Texas Southern, commencing with this week’s games against fellow winless sides Jackson State and and Southern. Priya Gakhar and Grambling State also start their league slate this week, facing perennial conference favourites Howard. However, it’s been a surprisingly good start for Grambling State this season. A win over UC Riverside and an overtime loss to Louisiana Tech have shown that the team may be starting to a corner after some utterly abysmal seasons in recent years – the team has already matched its Division I win total from 2016 and conference play hasn’t even started yet. Gakhar has been coming off the bench in a few games to this point, and surely it is just a matter of time before she notches her first college goal.

Full Schedule:

Albany (Claire Urquhart)

This week: at UMBC – 3am, Monday September 25

Central Connecticut State (Lauren Featherstone)

This week: v Temple – 9am, Sunday September 24

Colorado (Isobel Dalton)

This week: v UCLA – 7:30am, Saturday September 23

Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)

This week: v Northeastern – 8am, Friday September 22; v William & Mary – 4am, Monday September 25

East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson)

This week: v Chattanooga – 9am, Saturday September 23; v Samford – 4am, Monday September 25

Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)

This week: v Cornell – 5am, Monday September 25

Grambling State (Priya Gakhar)

This week: v Howard – 3am, Monday September 25

Grand Canyon (Sandra Hill)

This week: at Cal State Northridge – 12pm, Saturday September 23; at Cal State Fullerton – 10am, Monday September 25

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert, Monique Iannella)

This week: at Delaware – 9am, Friday September 22; v UNC Wilmington – 3am, Monday September 25

La Salle (Claudia Jenkins)

This week: v Duquesne – 9am, Friday September 22; at St Joseph’s – 3am, Monday September 25

LSU (Caitlin Cantrill)

This week: at Alabama – 10am, Friday September 22; v Mississippi State – 6am, Monday September 25

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)

This week: at Tennessee Tech – 10am, Friday September 22; at Jacksonville State – 4am, Monday September 25

Nicholls State (Tenille Harberger, Kristy Helmers)

This week: v Incarnate Word – 7am, Saturday September 23; v Abilene Christian – 4am, Monday September 25

Old Dominion (Gaby Bentley)

This week: at Florida Atlantic – 9am, Saturday September 23

Oregon State (Olivia Ellis)

This week: at Arizona State – 12pm, Saturday September 23

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

This week: at Cal State Bakersfield – 12pm, Saturday September 23

Southeast Missouri State (Maddy Cornell)

This week: at Morehead State – 8am, Saturday September 23; at Eastern Kentucky – 3am, Monday September 25

Stanford (Beattie Goad)

This week: at Washington State – 11am, Friday September 22;

Texas Southern (Paige Hayward)

This week: at Southern – 10am, Saturday September 23; at Jackson State – 4am, Monday September 25

Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis)

This week: v Kansas State – 10am, Saturday September 23; v Kansas – 4am, Monday September 25

UCLA (Teagan Micah)

This week: at Colorado – 7:30am, Saturday September 23

Western Carolina (Kate Swartwout)

This week: v Samford – 9am, Saturday September 23; v Chattanooga – 4am, Monday September 25

William & Mary (Lorena Bugden)

This week: at James Madison – 9am, Friday September 22; at Drexel – 3am, Monday September 25

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

This week: at Colorado College – 7am, Saturday September 23; at Air Force – 4am, Monday September 25

2017 Week 3 Preview

Three Pac-12 teams that feature Aussies are in the top 25, and all will seek to maintain their position with a pair of games this week. Meanwhile, the Louisiana-based Aussies will face each other, and Claire Urquhart seeks to keep a grip on a starting spot for Albany.

It’s a battle of the Aussies in Louisiana, as Priya Gakhar and Grambling State take on Nicholls State’s Australian pair of Kristy Helmers and Tenille Harberger. The game will be Grambling State’s second in as many days, taking on Southern Mississippi on the road before coming home to host the Colonels. The Tigers have picked up a win over NCAA Division III side Texas A&M-Texarkana before going down to New Mexico State in a respectable 1-0 loss, with Gakhar coming off the bench in both games. On the flipside, it is Nicholls State’s first game in 12 days after last week’s game against Prairie View A&M was cancelled due to Hurricane Harvey. Ordinarily, Nicholls State would be clear favourites against any SWAC team, and the case may remain here, but the Colonels have already fallen to Mississippi Valley State this season to sit at 0-2 to start the season. 2016 Co-Freshman of the Year Kristy Helmers has yet to tally a goal this season, and there would be no more perfect time to get her scoring exploits back on track as the team could really do with a win, either against Grambling State, or Jackson State in their second game of the week, to kickstart their season.

Beattie Goad and Stanford fell to their first loss to Florida in program history last week, and things don’t stand to get much easier as the Cardinal face #10 Georgetown this week, although they do at least have the benefit of playing at home against the Hoyas. Georgetown lost their opener to West Virginia 1-0, but since then have been on a tear, scoring 10 goals and conceding a grand total of zero to improve their record to 3-1. Like Georgetown, Stanford have been banging in the goals, scoring 11 in three games to this point, with Beattie Goad responsible for the most recent of these in the loss to Florida. Stanford’s second opponent of the week, Navy, have also compiled a solid 3-2 record to this point, and the Cardinal would be unwise to take the Midshipmen lightly.

Thanks to a combination of their own success and upsets in other games, Teagan Micah and UCLA have moved to the top of the coaches’ poll this week, and have been rewarded for their success with a trip to Utah to take on BYU and Weber State. It’s been a slightly slow start to the season for BYU following the graduation of now-NWSL striker Ashley Hatch following the 2016 campaign, with the Cougars able to tally just three goals in their four games to this point, resulting in a 1-1-2 record after four games. Admittedly, BYU have kept two clean sheets in those four games, but Penn State’s offence is the only one they have faced which is at the level of UCLA’s, so we could see another Bruin goal fest. The only question is – how much work will Teagan Micah actually get in this game? The Australian goalkeeper hasn’t had a huge amount of work to do so far this season, although she did manage to pick up a Pac-12 Goalkeeper of the Week award last week. Weber State’s offence has been even more lacklustre than BYU’s scoring just two goals to this point, falling to a 1-3 record after four games. The Wildcats are perhaps, on paper, the weakest non-conference opponent that UCLA will face this season, but the Bruins will still need to ensure that they get the job done as slip-ups in these games can make a real difference in a team’s seed line come NCAA Tournament time.

Isobel Dalton and Colorado also face BYU this weekend as they attempt to maintain their position in the Coaches’ Poll Top 25, but they first must take on Cal State Northridge. The Matadors are undefeated to this point, compiling a 2-0-2 record to this point. Goals could be tough to come by in this one, with CSUN giving up just three goals in four games, and Colorado yet to concede at all in 2017. Isobel Dalton came off the bench to give a good account of herself for half an hour in the Buffaloes’ 6-0 win over UC Riverside last week, which will hopefully lead to more minutes for the former Brisbane Roar midfielder.

Claire Urquhart has seen what at first glance appears to be increased minutes for Albany so far this season. However, a quick look back at the records shows that the junior has been given opportunities in early season games in all three years of her college career to this point, and game time going forward will be the real telling point of Urquhart’s progress. This week, the Great Danes face a pair of in-state opponents in Iona and Siena, a pair of teams probably more at Albany’s level after a challenging first three games saw them drop to an 0-3 record to start the season. Iona also started the season 0-3, and in fact only scored their first goals in their fourth game of the season as they picked up their first win last weekend, 2-1 against LIU Brooklyn. Siena, on the other hand, started the season far more promisingly, picking up a pair of wins before falling 3-0 to Georgia Southern on the road last weekend in a game in which they were significant underdogs. This pair of games will not only show the team where they stand against comparable opposition, but also hopefully ensure that Urquhart can secure a starting berth for the remainder of the season after a pair of false starts in her opening two seasons.

Full Schedule:

Albany (Claire Urquhart)

This week: at Iona – 5am, Saturday September 2; v Siena – 8am, Monday September 4

Central Connecticut State (Lauren Featherstone)

This week: v Harvard – 9am, Saturday September 2; v Connecticut – 8am, Monday September 4

Colorado (Isobel Dalton)

This week: v CSU Northridge – 5am, Sunday September 3; v BYU – 5am, Tuesday September 5

Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)

This week: at La Salle – 9am, Friday September 1; at Rutgers – 3am, Monday September 4

Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)

This week: at Monmouth – 9am, Saturday September 2; v La Salle – 3am, Monday September 4

Grambling State (Priya Gakhar)

This week: at Southern Miss – 8am, Friday September 1; v Nicholls State – 8am, Saturday September 2

Grand Canyon (Sandra Hill)

This week: v Nevada – 9am, Saturday September 2; v Detroit – 4am, Monday September 4

Hawaii (Kiri Dale)

This week: at Idaho – 11am, Saturday September 2; at Gonzaga – 6:30am, Monday September 4

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert, Monique Iannella)

This week: v Eastern Washington – 9am, Friday September 1; v Yale – 9am, Tuesday September 5

La Salle (Claudia Jenkins)

This week: v Drexel – 9am, Friday September 1; at Fairleigh Dickinson – 3am, Monday September 4

LSU (Caitlin Cantrill)

This week: v George Washington – 7am, Friday September 1; v Houston – 8am, Monday September 4

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)

This week: at Northern Kentucky – 4am, Monday September 4

Nicholls State (Tenille Harberger, Kristy Helmers)

This week: at Grambling State – 6am, Saturday September 2; at Jackson State – 4am, Monday September 4

Old Dominion (Gaby Bentley)

This week: at East Carolina – 7am, Monday September 4

Oregon State (Olivia Ellis)

This week: at San Francisco – 6am, Monday September 4

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

This week: v Navy – 12pm, Saturday September 2; v Portland State – 6am, Monday September 4

St. Francis (Shelby Milton)

This week: at VMI – 6am, Friday September 1; v Loyola Maryland – 4am, Monday September 4

Southeast Missouri State (Maddy Cornell)

This week: at Missouri State – 8am, Saturday September 2; v Louisville – 9:30am, Tuesday September 5

Stanford (Beattie Goad)

This week: v Georgetown – 9am, Saturday September 2; v Navy – 6am, Monday September 4

Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis)

This week: v Appalachian State – 10am, Monday September 4

UCLA (Teagan Micah)

This week: at BYU – 11am, Saturday September 2; at Weber State – 11am, Monday September 4

Western Carolina (Kate Swartwout)

This week: v Elon – 9am, Friday September 1; v Charlotte – 4am, Monday September 4

William & Mary (Lorena Bugden)

This week: at Virginia Tech – 9am, Friday September 1; v Wisconsin – 4am, Monday September 4

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

This week: v UTEP – 8:30am, Saturday September 2; v McNeese State – 5am, Monday September 4