2017 Week 9 Preview

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

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

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

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

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

Full Schedule:

Albany (Claire Urquhart)

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

Central Connecticut State (Lauren Featherstone)

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

Colorado (Isobel Dalton)

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

Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)

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

East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson)

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

Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)

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

Grambling State (Priya Gakhar)

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

Grand Canyon (Sandra Hill)

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

Hawaii (Kiri Dale)

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

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert, Monique Iannella)

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

La Salle (Claudia Jenkins)

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

LSU (Caitlin Cantrill)

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

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)

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

Nicholls State (Tenille Harberger, Kristy Helmers)

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

Old Dominion (Gaby Bentley)

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

Oregon State (Olivia Ellis)

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

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

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

St. Francis (Shelby Milton)

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

Southeast Missouri State (Maddy Cornell)

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

Stanford (Beattie Goad)

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

Texas Southern (Paige Hayward)

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

Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis)

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

UCLA (Teagan Micah)

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

Western Carolina (Kate Swartwout)

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

William & Mary (Lorena Bugden)

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

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

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

2017 Week 8 Wrap

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

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

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

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

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

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

Player Of The Year Points:

3: Monique Iannella (Hofstra)

2: Georgia Rowntree (Wyoming)

1: Alisha Bass (Wyoming)

Complete Results:

Albany (Claire Urquhart)

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

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

Central Connecticut State (Lauren Featherstone)

This week: defeated Sacred Heart 1-0

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

Colorado (Isobel Dalton)

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

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

Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)

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

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

East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson)

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

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

Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)

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

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

Grambling State (Priya Gakhar)

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

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

Grand Canyon (Sandra Hill)

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

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

Hawaii (Kiri Dale)

This week: lost 3-2 to UC Irvine

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

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert, Monique Iannella)

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

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

La Salle (Claudia Jenkins)

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

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

LSU (Caitlin Cantrill)

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

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

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)

This week: drew 1-1 with Eastern Kentucky

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

Nicholls State (Tenille Harberger, Kristy Helmers)

This week: lost 2-0 to McNeese State

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

Old Dominion (Gaby Bentley)

This week: defeated Florida International 2-0

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

Oregon State (Olivia Ellis)

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

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

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

This week: lost 3-1 to San Diego


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

St. Francis (Shelby Milton)

This week: defeated Robert Morris 3-0

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

Southeast Missouri State (Maddy Cornell)

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

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

Stanford (Beattie Goad)

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

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

Texas Southern (Paige Hayward)

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

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

Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis)

This week: lost 3-0 to Baylor

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

UCLA (Teagan Micah)

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

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

Western Carolina (Kate Swartwout)

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

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

William & Mary (Lorena Bugden)

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

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

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

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

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

2017 Week 5 Wrap

This week wasn’t exactly one big highlight reel for the Aussies, but there were still a number of excellent performances, whilst one player also made her comeback after significant time out of the game.

It’s been a tough couple of weeks for Isabel Hodgson after taking a knock to the ankle a few games ago, but despite East Tennessee State going down to George Mason, the South Australian managed to pick up her first goal of the season. Despite the heavy 6-1 loss, Hodgson’s shot from just inside the area nestled in the bottom left corner to give the Buccaneers a small piece of good news and just perhaps get the junior’s season back on track after an interrupted beginning.

Jemma House took a few weeks to find the back of the net for the first time for Wyoming, but scored her second goal in three games this week as Wyoming rolled to a 3-0 win over Idaho State, extending their non-conference home winning streak to 1457 days. Fellow Australian Jessie Gentle delivered a delightful cross from deep on the right flank which forced an indecisive Idaho State goalkeeper to make a late, and ultimately incorrect, decision to come for the ball, which sailed straight through to House, who belted the ball home from about an inch out with not a single defender in sight.

That game also saw the return of Annika Clayton to the Wyoming lineup. Having been out for several weeks with concussion-related issues, Clayton was eased back into the lineup with 16 minutes off the bench which was surely just a prelude to more extended minutes in the future.

Monique Iannella continued her outstanding run in the Hofstra defence, playing the full 90 minutes in a 1-0 local derby win over Stony Brook. The ex-Melbourne City defender resembled something of a moving wall at times as the Stony Brook defence was able to get off just two shots on target all game, with Iannella and the remainder of the Hofstra defence ensuring that their goalkeeper was largely untroubled throughout. Emily Hulbert was also solid in midfield for the Pride, but her night was unfortunately cut short after taking a knock late in the first half, bringing a premature end to what had been a good night to that point for the senior.

Kristy Helmers and Nicholls State found themselves on the wrong end of a 3-1 scoreline in their conference opener against Lamar, but bounced back with a 4-0 win over Southern in their final non-conference game of the season. Providing some spark off the bench, Helmers scored the Colonels’ third goal in the 66th minute to put the game to bed early in the piece, capitalising on a blocked shot to follow up the rebound and double her tally for the season.

3: Monique Iannella (Hofstra)
2: Jemma House (Wyoming)
1: Isabel Hodgson (East Tennessee State)

Full Schedule:

Albany (Claire Urquhart)

This week: lost 2-1 to Rhode Island; lost 3-0 to Missouri

Claire Urquhart started for Albany against Rhode Island, playing 48 minutes before coming off the bench to play the final 26 minutes against Missouri.

Central Connecticut State (Lauren Featherstone)

This week: defeated Vermont 2-0; lost 2-1 to Brown

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

Colorado (Isobel Dalton)

This week: defeated Denver 6-1

Isobel Dalton came off the bench to play 21 minutes in Colorado’s demolition of Denver.

Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)

This week: defeated Penn 2-1; defeated Villanova 2-1

Emma Heckenberg did not feature against Penn, but started for Drexel in the win over Villanova, playing the full 90 minutes in the process.

East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson)

This week: lost 6-1 to George Mason

Isabel Hodgson returned to the starting lineup for East Tennessee State and provided the only real piece of good news for the Buccaneers all night, scoring their lone goal in a heavy loss to George Mason.

Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)

This week: lost 5-1 to Gonzaga; lost 3-2 to Eastern Washington

Sam Roff started both games for Fairleigh Dickinson on their trip to Washington, playing all 180 minutes across the two contests.

Grand Canyon (Sandra Hill)

This week: lost 2-1 to Stetson; lost 2-1 to Hawaii

Sandra Hill did not feature for Grand Canyon against Stetson, but came off the bench to play six minutes against Hawaii.

Hawaii (Kiri Dale)

This week: defeated Arizona State 1-0 (OT); defeated Grand Canyon 2-1

Kiri Dale came off the bench to play 85 of the 96 minutes against Arizona State, before starting and playing the complete 90 minutes against Grand Canyon.

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert, Monique Iannella)

This week: defeated Stony Brook 1-0

Both Emily Hulbert and Monique Iannella started for Hofstra in their win over local rivals Stony Brook. Iannella played the full 90 minutes, registering two shots, but Hulbert was forced off late in the first half after taking a knock.

La Salle (Claudia Jenkins)

This week: lost 1-0 to Delaware (OT); lost 1-0 to West Virginia

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

LSU (Caitlin Cantrill)

This week: defeated Cincinnati 1-0; lost 1-0 to Vanderbilt

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

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)

This week: defeated Morehead State 1-0 (OT); lost 1-0 to St Louis

Both Harriet Withers and Nyomi Devine started both games for Murray State this week. Devine played all 98 minutes against Morehead State, whilst Withers played 88 minutes and tallied two shots. Devine also played the complete 90 minutes in the loss to St Louis, whilst Withers played 76 minutes, again registering two shots.

Nicholls State (Tenille Harberger, Kristy Helmers)

This week: lost 3-1 to Lamar; defeated Southern 4-0

Kristy Helmers played 58 minutes off the bench in the loss to Lamar before scoring a goal in a 66 minute effort off the bench in the win over Southern. Tenille Harberger did not feature in either game this week.

Old Dominion (Gaby Bentley)

This week: defeated Western Kentucky 1-0 (OT); defeated Richmond 2-1 (OT)

Gaby Bentley started both games this week, playing 48 minutes against Western Kentucky and 26 minutes against Richmond.

Oregon State (Olivia Ellis)

This week: lost 1-0 to Portland

Olivia Ellis yet again came off the bench for Oregon State this week, playing 13 minutes in the loss to Portland.

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

This week: drew 2-2 with UC Santa Barbara; lost 2-1 to Cal Poly (OT)

Ellie Papalexiou did not feature for Pacific this week as she continues her recovery from injury.

St. Francis (Shelby Milton)

This week: drew 2-2 with UMBC; defeated Radford 3-0

Shelby Milton did not feature for St. Francis against UMBC, but started and played the full 90 minutes in the win over Radford.

Southeast Missouri State (Maddy Cornell)

This week: defeated Tennessee Tech 1-0 (OT); lost 1-0 to Tennessee-Martin

Maddy Cornell started against Tennessee Tech, playing 63 minutes and registering a shot. The senior then came off the bench against Tennessee-Martin, but still managed to play 57 minutes in the loss.

Stanford (Beattie Goad)

This week: defeated Santa Clara 2-1

Beattie Goad started at left fullback for Stanford and played the entire 90 minutes in the win over Santa Clara.

Texas Southern (Paige Hayward)

This week: lost 1-0 to LSU-Alexandria

Paige Hayward started for Texas Southern and rattled off three shots in her 81 minutes on the pitch, but couldn’t find an equaliser in the loss to LSU-Alexandria.

Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis)

This week: defeated San Diego State 1-0; v Cal State Northridge – 4am, Monday September 18

Demi Koulizakis did not feature for Texas Tech against San Diego State,

UCLA (Teagan Micah)

This week: drew 1-1 with Pepperdine

Teagan Micah played the entire 110 minutes in UCLA’s draw with Pepperdine, making one save.

Western Carolina (Kate Swartwout)

This week: defeated Campbell 4-3; lost 1-0 to North Carolina State

Kate Swartwout started for Western Carolina against Campbell, but played only 15 minutes or so before coming off the bench and playing just two minutes against North Carolina State.

William & Mary (Lorena Bugden)

This week: lost 1-0 to UNC Greensboro

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

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

This week: defeated Idaho State 3-0

All five Australians saw playing time in Wyoming’s win over Idaho State. Jemma House scored the second goal of her college career, smashing home a cross from fellow Australian Jessie Gentle, who picked up the assist on House’s goal. Georgia Rowntree played all bar the last 15 minutes of the contest, making three saves, whilst Alisha Bass was solid in attack for 63 minutes. The story of the day belonged to Annika Clayton, who made her return to the field for Wyoming after spending significant time out with concussion-related issues, playing 16 minutes off the bench.

2017 Week 4 Wrap

Two-goal performances were the order of the week among the Aussies, as Harriet Withers and Alisha Bass each notched braces to lead their teams to wins. Jemma House also picked up her first college goal, and is there a new defensive star emerging at Hofstra?

It may have been Bill Withers who sang Lean On Me, but it’s Harriet Withers that Murray State are leaning on with regards to goalscoring at the moment, with the senior delivering yet again in a thrilling win over Arkansas-Little Rock this week. Withers capitalised on a mistake from the UALR goalkeeper to bang home Murray State’s third, but the Trojans came back from 3-1 down to force overtime. However, Withers was on hand again in the first minute of golden goal, bending a shot home from the edge of the area to hand the Racers a 4-3 win and keep their perfect record intact at 5-0.

Wyoming scored three goals this week, and they had their Australian attackers to thank for all three. Despite falling 2-1 to Utah Valley, Jemma House came up with her first collegiate goal, a just reward for a performance that saw the junior get into plenty of good positions before finally being able to send one home.

The Cowgirls then took on local rivals Northern Colorado, and Alisha Bass was the undoubted star. Wyoming had not beaten the Bears in the whole time that the senior had been with the team, but two first half goals ensured herself and fellow Australian senior Georgia Rowntree would get to lift the trophy at their final opportunity.

Stanford cruised to a pair of absolute demolitions this week, scoring a ridiculous 15 goals across their two games, with Beattie Goad starting in both contests. The sophomore played 49 minutes in the 8-0 win over San Francisco, but had to wait until the 7-0 win over Yale to see some tangible reward for her work. Picking up the ball on the left flank, Goad sailed in a cross from deep that Sam Tran headed home with real velocity for the Cardinal’s third goal. Goad would play 41 minutes in the win as coach Paul Ratcliffe employed a high level of rotation with the game in the bag by halftime courtesy of five first-half goals for Stanford.

UCLA travelled across the country to Virginia for a Top 10 matchup, with Teagan Micah proving vital yet again for the top team in the nation. In a game where UCLA were deadly with the shots they did take, the Bruins came up with two goals on just three on-target shots. However, without Micah keeping out four of the five Virginia shots which were headed for the goal, including a couple of absolute pearlers, UCLA’s time at the top would have been short-lived. Instead, the Bruins escaped with a 2-1 win to head back to Los Angeles in a buoyant mood.

Monique Iannella’s performances for Hofstra to this point may have been slightly overshadowed by fellow Australian Emily Hulbert to this point, but the Texas transfer was exceptional in her 47 minutes in the Pride’s 1-0 win over Fordham. Despite the abbreviated stint on the field in that game, Iannella was rewarded with a 110 minute performance at the back in the 0-0 overtime draw against Monmouth as the former Melbourne City player continues to prove to be a valuable addition for the Pride.

Player Of The Year Points:

3: Alisha Bass (Wyoming)
2: Harriet Withers (Murray State)
1: Jemma House (Wyoming)

Complete Results:

Albany (Claire Urquhart)

This week: lost 3-0 to Dartmouth; lost 2-1 to Colgate

Claire Urquhart continued to start for Albany, playing the full 90 minutes against Dartmouth and 84 minutes against Colgate.

Central Connecticut State (Lauren Featherstone)

This week: lost 4-0 to Navy

Lauren Featherstone did not feature for Central Connecticut State against Navy.

Colorado (Isobel Dalton)

This week: lost 3-0 to Texas; defeated Texas-San Antonio 2-0

Isobel Dalton came off the bench to play 10 minutes against Texas, but did not feature against Texas-San Antonio.

Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)

This week: lost 2-1 to Monmouth

Emma Heckenberg did not feature for Drexel in their loss to Monmouth.

East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson)

This week: lost 3-1 to Virginia Tech

Isabel Hodgson did not feature for East Tennessee State against Virginia Tech as she recovered from a knock taken in the team’s previous game.

Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)

This week: lost 2-1 to Niagara; drew 2-2 with Buffalo

Sam Roff continued to be a mainstay for Fairleigh Dickinson, playing all 200 minutes for the Knights this week.

Grambling State (Priya Gakhar)

This week: defeated UC Riverside 1-0; lost 1-0 to Cal State Bakersfield

Priya Gakhar did not feature for Grambling State this week.

Grand Canyon (Sandra Hill)

This week: drew 1-1 with UC Santa Barbara; lost 2-0 to Houston Baptist

Sandra Hill did not feature for Grand Canyon this week.

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert, Monique Iannella)

This week: defeated Fordham 1-0; tied 0-0 with Monmouth

Emily Hulbert and Monique Iannella each started both games for Hofstra this week. Hulbert played the complete 90 minutes against Fordham, registering one shot, and 99 of the 110 minutes against Monmouth, rattling off 3 shots in a game that saw Hofstra rattle off 27 shots to 5 despite the 0-0 result. Iannella was outstanding in her 47 minutes against Fordham, and backed up with a complete 110 minute performance against Monmouth.

La Salle (Claudia Jenkins)

This week: defeated Villanova 1-0

Claudia Jenkins did not feature for La Salle this week.

LSU (Caitlin Cantrill)

This week: defeated Liberty 1-0

Caitlin Cantrill did not feature for LSU this week.

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)

This week: defeated Arkansas-Little Rock 4-3 (OT)

Harriet Withers was the star for Murray State yet again, scoring a brace that included the overtime game winner in an 81 minute effort. Nyomi Devine yet again played a complete game in defence for the Racers.

Nicholls State (Tenille Harberger, Kristy Helmers)

This week: lost 1-0 to Alcorn State; lost 5-1 to Louisiana-Lafayette

Kristy Helmers started against Alcorn State and played 63 minutes, before coming off the bench to play 36 minutes against Louisiana-Lafayette. Tenille Harberger did not feature for Nicholls State this week.

Old Dominion (Gaby Bentley)

This week: drew 2-2 with UNC Wilmington

Gaby Bentley started for Old Dominion against UNC Wilmington, playing 86 minutes.

Oregon State (Olivia Ellis)

This week: defeated Portland State 1-0 (OT); lost 3-0 to BYU.

Olivia Ellis came off the bench to play 13 minutes against Portland State, before playing another 45 minutes off the bench against BYU, tallying one shot on target.

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

This week: lost 2-0 to Yale; lost 2-1 to Northern Arizona

Ellie Papalexiou did not feature for Pacific this week as she continues her recovery from injury.

St. Francis (Shelby Milton)

This week: lost 5-0 to Georgetown; lost 2-0 to George Washington

Shelby Milton did not feature for St. Francis this week.

Stanford (Beattie Goad)

This week: defeated San Francisco 8-0; defeated Yale 7-0

Beattie Goad started both games this week for Stanford, playing 49 minutes in the drubbing of San Francisco, and dishing up an assist for the third goal in the demolition of Yale.

Texas Southern (Paige Hayward)

This week: lost 3-0 to Lamar; lost 3-0 to Southern Miss

Paige Hayward started both games, playing 82 minutes and tallying a shot against Lamar before backing up with an 81 minute effort against Southern Miss, registering two shots.

Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis)

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

Demi Koulizakis did not feature for Texas Tech this week.

UCLA (Teagan Micah)

This week: defeated Virginia 2-1

Teagan Micah played the full 90 minutes against Virginia, making four saves.

Western Carolina (Kate Swartwout)

This week: lost 2-1 to Lipscomb (OT); defeated Tennessee-Martin 3-2 (OT)

Kate Swartwout came off the bench to play 72 minutes against Lipscomb, but did not feature against Tennessee-Martin.

William & Mary (Lorena Bugden)

This week: lost 1-0 to Maryland – 9am; lost 4-0 to DePaul

Lorena Bugden did not feature this week as she continues her recovery from injury.

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

This week: lost 2-1 to Utah Valley; defeated Northern Colorado 2-1

Alisha Bass was the star for Wyoming this week, playing 69 minutes against Utah Valley before scoring both of the Cowgirls’ goals in a 78 minute effort in the win over Northern Colorado. Georgia Rowntree played 79 minutes against Utah Valley, making five saves, before playing a full game against Northern Colorado, being forced to make just the one save. Jemma House started both games, playing 69 minutes and scoring her first collegiate goal against Utah Valley before playing 67 minutes against Northern Colorado, tallying 2 shots. Jessie Gentle came off the bench in both games to play 46 minutes against Utah Valley and 63 minutes against Northern Colorado, but Annika Clayton did not feature for Wyoming this week.

2017 Week 1 Preview

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

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

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

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

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

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

Full Schedule:

(All game times are in Sydney time)

Albany (Claire Urquhart)

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

Central Connecticut State (Lauren Featherstone)

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

Colorado (Isobel Dalton)

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

Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)

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

East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson)

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

Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)

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

Grand Canyon (Sandra Hill)

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

Hawaii (Kiri Dale)

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

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert, Monique Iannella)

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

La Salle (Claudia Jenkins)

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

LSU (Caitlin Cantrill)

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

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)

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

Nicholls State (Tenille Harberger, Kristy Helmers)

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

Old Dominion (Gaby Bentley)

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

Oregon State (Olivia Ellis)

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

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

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

Saint Francis (Shelby Milton)

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

Southeast Missouri State (Maddy Cornell)

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

Stanford (Beattie Goad)

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

Texas Southern (Paige Hayward)

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

Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis)

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

UCLA (Teagan Micah)

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

Western Carolina (Kate Swartwout)

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

William & Mary (Lorena Bugden)

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

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

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

2017 Player Previews

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

Claire Urquhart (Junior, Midfielder, Albany, Brisbane)

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

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

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

Isobel Dalton (Junior, Midfielder, Colorado, Caloundra)

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

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

Emma Heckenberg (Junior, Midfielder, Drexel, Melbourne)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kiri Dale (Sophomore, Midfielder, Hawaii, Mullumbimby)

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

Emily Hulbert (Senior, Defender, Hofstra, Melbourne)

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

Monique Iannella (Senior, Defender, Hofstra, Melbourne)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Caitlin Cantrill (Sophomore, Midfielder, LSU, Canberra)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beattie Goad (Sophomore, Midfielder, Stanford, Melbourne)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Teagan Micah (Sophomore, Goalkeeper, UCLA, Brisbane)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alisha Bass (Senior, Midfielder, Wyoming, Sydney)

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

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

Annika Clayton (Junior, Midfielder, Wyoming, Sydney)

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

Jessie Gentle (Junior, Midfielder, Wyoming, Woolgoolga)

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

Jemma House (Junior, Forward, Wyoming, Newcastle)

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

Georgia Rowntree (Senior, Goalkeeper, Wyoming, Sydney)

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

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

Newcastle pair Miller and House join Wyoming

The Australian pipeline to Wyoming continues to deliver with today’s announcement that Newcastle Jets W-League defender Brooke Miller and former Jets striker Jemma House have put pen to paper on National Letters of Intent and will link up with the Cowgirls for the 2017 season and beyond. The addition of the pair means that there will continue to be five Australians on Wyoming’s roster, with Miller and House joining Alisha Bass, Georgia Rowntree, Annika Clayton, and Jessie Gentle in Laramie.

Brooke Miller has been part of the Newcastle Jets W-League squad for the last three seasons. The centre back made her debut in October 2014, playing 24 minutes off the bench in a 5-1 win over Western Sydney Wanderers, and has gone on to make 11 appearances for the Jets in her three seasons with the club, including three starts.

Brooke has also featured for the Emerging Jets side in the NPL New South Wales women’s league, making 25 appearances in two seasons in between commitments with the Under 17 and Under 20 national teams, with whom the defender has featured at a number of AFC tournaments, including the 2016 AFF Championship and 2015 AFC Under 19 Championship. Miller will not be the only player from that 2015 side to play in college, with UCLA’s Teagan Micah and Stanford’s Beattie Goad also part of that side which missed out on the knockout stages following defeats to Japan and China in the group stage.

Brooke’s commitment should also serve to ensure that Alisha Bass can return to her favoured attacking midfield role on a permanent basis. Despite the loss of senior defenders Katie Marcheso and Sammi Dunda, the addition of Miller will help improve the defensive depth in the Wyoming squad and give coach Pete Cuadrado the freedom to play the Australian senior higher up the park more often.

Jemma House has spent the last two seasons playing at nearby Laramie County Community College, where the striker has been one of the stars of the squad. A two-time all American, Jemma was also awarded the regional player of the year in 2016 and regional freshman of the year award in 2015 as part of a junior college career that saw the Kurri Kurri junior score 47 goals and tally 14 assists in 44 games. Jemma has also featured in Young Matildas training camp squads before making the move to Laramie. Having played two seasons in junior college, Jemma will have two seasons of eligibility remaining at Wyoming.