2019 Midfielder Previews

A stacked midfield group featuring junior national representatives Aimee Medwin and Eliza Ammendolia, national champion Beattie Goad, and senior Matilda Rachel Lowe is set to provide plenty of excitement in 2019, with a number of players in position to make a significant impact on their teams. The continued improvement of Alyssa Van Heurck is one storyline to keep an eye on, with the sophomore having made the move from defence into a more attacking role in 2018.

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(Featured Image Credit: Stanford Athletics)

Eliza Ammendolia (Freshman, Hawaii, Griffith)

With 15 W-League appearances for Western Sydney Wanderers under her belt, Ammendolia comes into her first college season as one of the more credentialed players among all Aussies in NCAA Division I. The pint-sized midfielder has represented the Young Matildas at a major tournament and has already built a solid resume at both NPL and W-League level, and will almost certainly come in and bolster a Hawaii side that will need to replace 2018 Big West Conference Player of the Year and current Utah Royals squad member Raisa Strom-Okimoto if they are to maintain their current level and make a charge at the post-season in 2019. In particular, the Rainbow Wahine will need to replace Strom-Okimoto’s goal output, but with 6 goals in her most recent NPL season, Ammendolia certainly has the scoring prowess to help atone for that loss.

Gaby Bentley (Senior, Old Dominion, Adelaide)

A regular in the Old Dominion rotation for the past two seasons, starts have been rare for Bentley but appearances have been forthcoming. But with a number of midfielders having graduated after last season, there are now additional minutes to battle for in the lead-up to the 2019 season. Bentley has certainly shown herself to be worthy of a starting berth with her appearances off the bench in 2018, tallying two goals from midfield as the Monarchs finished with an 8-7-4 record to secure a second consecutive winning season. Now, in her final season, the South Australian will be hoping to play a far more integral role as Old Dominion look to make a run at a conference championship after setting a platform with two solid seasons.

D’arne Boato (Freshman, East Tennessee State, Melbourne)

Isabel Hodgson’s scintillating college career may be over, but the Australian presence at East Tennessee State remains with the addition of freshman D’arne Boato. A teammate of Mississippi freshman Aimee Medwin at South Melbourne, Boato has been a member of three squads that have reached NPL grand finals at both senior and age group level across the last two seasons, serving as a regular member of the club’s Under 18 and Under 19 squads as well as making appearances for the first team during a highly successful period for the club. Having made the move to Johnson City in January, Boato has enjoyed a long settling-in period with her new side, something that will help to stand her in good stead in her first season in college.

Caitlin Cantrill (Senior, LSU, Canberra)

One of the senior members of the LSU roster, Cantrill will be hoping to see more playing time in 2019 after not getting on the pitch during LSU’s outstanding 2018 season which culminated in an SEC Championship and NCAA Tournament second round berth before the Tigers fell to USC. How much playing time the Canberra product sees this season will rest upon the impression she makes upon interim head coach Debbie Hensley, who replaces Brian Lee after his surprise move to Rice in the off-season. Hensley was also on LSU’s staff in Cantrill’s freshman year in 2016, a season in which the midfielder made 12 appearances and four starts, by far her most impressive season to this point. As one of just three seniors on the roster, Cantrill may not have the biggest impact on the pitch in her final season, but will certainly provide an outstanding mentor for the younger players on the roster, as evidenced by her words of advice to the graduating class of her high school alma mater, Radford College, in 2018.

Kiri Dale (Senior, Hawaii, Mullumbimby)

Able to slot in at just about any position on the pitch with the exception of goalkeeper, Kiri Dale serves as an integral member of the Hawaii lineup, having made 12 starts in her 16 appearances in 2018. Be it delivering balls in from out wide or controlling the centre of midfield, Dale’s presence helped Hawaii come within a final day result of reaching the Big West conference tournament for the first time before falling agonisingly short last season, and with the Rainbow Wahine losing just two players to graduation, Dale and the remainder of the team are well-positioned to go one step further and give themselves a shot at a conference title and an NCAA berth.

Laura Farrelly (Sophomore, Marshall, Central Coast)

Having not featured for Marshall in her freshman season, Farrelly comes into this season looking to play her first minutes for the Thundering Herd whilst attempting to establish herself in the midfield of a team looking to vastly improve on last season’s 5-9-2 record, their third consecutive losing season since compiling a 15-5-3 record in 2015. Should Farrelly take to the pitch this season, the sophomore is set to play an attacking midfield role for a team that was decent in the front third last season, but by no means electric, finishing almost dead in the middle of the national rankings for goals per game. Whilst the Marshall defence certainly needs more improvement than the attack, if Farrelly can help to provide a couple of unexpected goals throughout the season, they could yet turn a couple of losses into draws and draws into wins, compiling a solid season in the process.

Beattie Goad (Senior, Stanford, Melbourne)

Already a national champion in 2017 with Stanford, Goad will no doubt be looking to round out her career with a second College Cup title as the Cardinal enter a new era following the graduation of a raft of players that included Alana Cook, Tierna Davidson, Tegan McGrady, and Jordan DiBiasi after the 2018 season, all of whom now play in NWSL or the French top flight. Having come off the bench in over 60% of her appearances for Stanford, the opportunity to become a regular starter in her senior season now presents itself for Goad, who will be one of a number of experienced players expected to take on a larger role with the aim of keeping Stanford among the top teams in the nation. What position Goad will actually fill in 2019 remains to be seen though, with the two-time W-League champion being utilised as a fullback, winger, and central midfielder during her time on the Farm, and it may come to pass that that versatility is the ace up her sleeve in the hunt for more playing time in her final season.

Rachel Lowe (Freshman, UCLA, Sydney)

UCLA teammate Teagan Micah may have been to the 2019 World Cup with the Matildas, but Lowe already has a senior cap with the national team after her call-up for the 2018 Algarve Cup, and is set to become the first player to receive a Matildas cap before making their college debut since Washington State legend and current Hawaii assistant coach Rachael Doyle. An integral member of the Western Sydney Wanderers W-League side before making the move to Westwood, Lowe will certainly have a battle on her hands to slot into the UCLA lineup with the same regularity, particularly as the Bruins lost just two players to graduation after the 2018 season. However, Lowe has clearly demonstrated enough class for Bruins coach Amanda Cromwell to recruit her from the other side of the Pacific, so the opportunities will no doubt be there for the young midfielder.

Aimee Medwin (Freshman, Mississippi, Hobart)

The first Tasmanian to play NCAA Division I women’s soccer since Alabama State legend Shelbi-Vienna Hallam, Junior Matildas representative Medwin comes to Mississippi with a solid pedigree, with first team experience at South Melbourne and a W-League debut with Melbourne City in 2018 already under her belt before making the move to Oxford. The wide attacking player’s arrival at Mississippi coincides with an interesting time for the program, who find themselves at a crossroads after a solid 2018 campaign. The Rebels finished fourth in the regular season SEC standings and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament, but will have to replace the goalscoring output of NWSL draftee CeCe Kizer, who tallied 13 goals last season. However, Mississippi did feature one of the leakier defences in the SEC last season, and it may yet come to pass that Medwin is deployed in the back line, having been utilised as a fullback during her time in national colours.

Eden Taylor-Wineera (Freshman, North Dakota State, Sydney)

Taylor-Wineera looked set to form half of an Australian duo at North Dakota State, but with Lauren Featherstone returning home permanently, the freshman will now be the only Aussie on the Bison roster in her first season. Mostly a reserves player for Macarthur Rams, Taylor-Wineera did make five appearances for the first-grade side that won the NPLNSW Grand Final in 2018 before making the move to Fargo. With two of the team’s starting midfielders, including an All-Summit League First Team selection, graduating after the 2018 campaign, Taylor-Wineera joins the Bison at a time where the roster features a number of midfielders with no more than a season of college experience all fighting for minutes. Whether this translates into immediate playing time for the freshman remains to be seen, but there are certainly opportunities to shoot for from day one for the Sydneysider.

Alyssa Van Heurck (Sophomore, La Salle, Perth)

A defender until she arrived at La Salle, Van Heurck slotted into a spot on the wing for the Explorers and immediately found her niche, earning six starts in her 17 appearances in her first season in Philadelphia. Whilst the Explorers may not have enjoyed the same success as they had in 2017, the emergence of Van Heurck as a versatile option on either flank was one of the positives of the 2018 season, with the then-freshman also picking up her first goal in just the second game of her college career, a 5-0 win over UMBC. Now, with a number of attacking starters having graduated after the 2018 season, Van Heurck has the opportunity to assert her position in the La Salle attack, and will look to establish herself as a regular starter as the Explorers look to return to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three seasons.

Hawaii reels in another Aussie with signing of Eliza Ammendolia

The Australian presence at Hawaii continues to grow, and the Rainbow Wahine have pulled off a massive coup with the signing of former Western Sydney Wanderers W-League and Young Matildas midfielder Eliza Ammendolia. The newest member of the Hawaii roster joins fellow midfielder Kiri Dale and assistant coach Rachael Doyle, and comes in with a glowing resume.

Ammendolia compiled 15 appearances in the W-League from 2015-17, including 9 starts for Western Sydney Wanderers, making the midfielder the third-most experienced W-League player currently in college behind Beattie Goad’s 35 appearances for Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City and Rachel Lowe’s 27 appearances for Western Sydney Wanderers. Ammendolia also represented the Young Matildas at the 2016 AFF Women’s Championship alongside former Oregon State defender Olivia Ellis and Illinois defender Ashleigh Lefevre, banging home a hat-trick in the team’s 20-0 demolition of East Timor on their way to a fourth-place finish.

Ammendolia has also made 58 appearances in NPLNSW over the last four years, firstly for Macarthur Rams, with whom the Griffith-born midfielder reached the 2015 Grand Final. Ammendolia then made the move to the Football NSW Institute for 2016 before switching to Blacktown Spartans for the 2017 and 2018 seasons, scoring six goals in 18 appearances in her most recent campaign. Interestingly, Ammendolia was also a member of the same Australian Schoolgirls side as recent UMBC signings Abi Jordan and Teal Kilbride that toured the US in 2018.

With Hawaii finishing a final-day result away from reaching the Big West Conference tournament in 2018, the addition of a player of Ammendolia’s class could certainly provide the spark that the Rainbow Wahine need to get over the hump in 2019 and reach the post-season for the first time since making the switch from the Mountain West in 2012.

2018 End Of Season Wrap

(Featured Image Credit: University of Wyoming Media Relations)

As was the case in 2017, we saw 30 Australians take to the pitch in NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer this season. Although the season didn’t end with a national champion for the first time in three years, there was still no shortage of players enjoying outstanding campaigns in a thoroughly entertaining 2018, with both familiar faces and new stars putting on a show.

(33 Australians were on rosters at the end of the season. However, Caitlin Cantrill, Laura Farrelly, and Grace Watson-Carr did not feature this season and as such are not featured below.) 

Indianna Asimus (Wyoming)
Team Record:
12-4-4 (Mountain West Conference Semi-Finals)
Stats: 20 games, 9 starts, 0 goals, 0 assists

Indianna Asimus enjoyed a solid first college season. (Photo Credit: University of Wyoming Media Relations)

Indianna Asimus may have been the lesser used of the four Australians on the Wyoming roster, but nonetheless the freshman had enough of an impact for the Cowgirls to suggest that her playing time will increase going forward. Asimus started each of the final five games of the season, and although the freshman didn’t manage a goal, she did rattle off seven shots in the final two games. That alone is evidence in itself that Asimus found herself in good positions, which will serve her well over the next three seasons, particularly as she looks to snag one of the positions left by the six graduating seniors from the 2017 team.

Gaby Bentley (Old Dominion)
Team Record:
8-7-4 (Conference USA Quarter-Finals)
Stats: 14 games, 2 goals, 0 assists

An impact player off the bench for much of the season, Gaby Bentley may not have started every game but gave just as much as many of the starters for an Old Dominion side that once again found itself in the Conference USA Tournament before being knocked out in the quarter-finals for the third consecutive season. Although her general play was solid throughout the season, Bentley also doubled her scoring output from last season, tallying two goals for the season. With a number of midfielders graduating after the 2018 season, Bentley may just find herself in the starting lineup on a more regular basis in her senior year. 

Lorena Bugden (William & Mary)
Team Record:
6-10-1
Stats: 5 games, 1 start, 0 goals, 0 assists

Having spent her first season at William & Mary recovering from injury, new issues plagued Lorena Bugden in her sophomore year with the Tribe, culminating in just five appearances in a tough season on both a personal level and for the team. Under a new coach for the 2018 campaign, Bugden earned a start in one of her appearances, but the injury problems curtailed what could have been a promising season that may have set the sophomore up for the next couple of seasons at William & Mary. As it is, Bugden will have to hit the ground running in 2019 in order to put together the kind of season she is capable of producing.

Jodie Burchell (Towson)
Team Record:
4-12-3
Stats: 14 games, 7 starts, 1 goal, 0 assists

Freshman Jodie Burchell took a while to establish herself in the Towson side, but once she did, she latched onto her spot and eventually entrenched herself as a member of the starting lineup. Despite playing just 14 games, all of Burchell’s seven starts came in the last eight games of the season. Although the freshman came up with only a single goal in her 485 minutes on the pitch, Burchell was able to fashion chances on occasion, finishing with 10 shots for the season in a solid first campaign in college soccer.

Tessa Calabria (Nicholls State)
Team Record:
3-15-0
Stats: 6 games, 1 start, 0 goals, 1 assist

Although it was a disappointing season for Nicholls State, things began promisingly for Tessa Calabria, starting her first game and playing more than hour in two of her first three appearances before picking up an assist against Alcorn State in the first game of September. However, that would be the last time the junior college transfer would feature in 2018, as injury reared its ugly head and forced the South Australian out for the remainder of the season. However, Calabria will return next season and the Colonels could certainly use her presence as despite scoring 17 goals, 7 of those came from senior Francesca Curteis, and that production will need to be replaced if the team is to improve on this season’s three wins.

Sarah Clark (Chicago State)
Team Record:
0-16-1
Stats: 8 games, 4 starts, 0 goals, 0 assists

Sarah Clark’s first season in Division I after two successful seasons at Lassen Community College looked promising as the Queenslander made four starts in her first eight appearances for the struggling Cougars. However, Clark’s season ended prematurely after those eight appearances, which spelled trouble for a Chicago State side that could have used all the help it could get as a winless streak dating back to August 2018 continued throughout the season, reaching 33 games.

Annika Clayton (Wyoming)
Team Record:
12-4-4 (Mountain West Conference Semi-Finals)
Stats: 20 games, 20 starts, 4 goals, 2 assists 

Wyoming needed a leader in midfield following Alisha Bass’s graduation after the 2017 season, and Annika Clayton stepped up to fill the void left by her fellow Australian superbly. Four goals and two assists certainly comprised a tidy return for the midfielder, but statistics alone do not paint the picture of Clayton’s importance to her team. Whether pulling the strings in midfield with her passing or making a marauding run forward, the midfielder’s ability to impact the game in a number of ways was vital to the Cowgirls securing a share of the Mountain West Conference regular season title and finishing with 12 wins and 4 draws in their 20 games. Clayton also received a Mountain West All-Conference Second Team nomination for her performances throughout the season, just reward for an outstanding campaign.

Kiri Dale (Hawaii)
Team Record:
9-6-1
Stats: 16 games, 12 starts, 0 goals, 2 assists

Kiri Dale enjoyed another solid season for Hawaii, settling into a position in the starting lineup for the majority of the campaign. The Rainbow Wahine narrowly missed out on their first conference tournament berth, but nonetheless even being in contention represented a vast improvement on their dismal league finishes since moving to the Big West in 2012. Dale finished the season with three complete-game performances in among several other high-minute games, tallying a pair of assists for the season as well as 9 shots in her second season at Hawaii but her first with fellow Australian and College Matildas legend Rachael Doyle as part of the coaching staff.

Isobel Dalton (Colorado)
Team Record:
13-4-3
Stats: 12 games, 0 starts, 0 goals, 1 assist

As has been the case for the majority of Isobel Dalton’s time at Colorado, the senior midfielder found herself just outside the regular rotation of players throughout the season, limiting both her appearances and playing time. However, despite a lack of opportunities, Dalton was still able to exhibit her class in midfield and come up with the occasional memorable moment, including a scintillating pass that split the Oregon State defence for the final assist of the senior’s college career. Having played in both the W-League and the English Women’s Super League before heading to college, Dalton’s next move will be one to watch if the former Brisbane Roar player does choose to extend her footballing career.

Lauren Featherstone (North Dakota State)
Team Record:
9-7-0 (Summit League Semi-Finals)
Stats: 10 games, 2 starts, 0 goals, 0 assists

Seeking a fresh start at North Dakota State after redshirting her only season at Central Connecticut State in 2017, Lauren Featherstone had what could only be termed as a frustrating year as injury conspired to limit the redshirt freshman to just 10 games. When she actually got the chance to play, Featherstone looked at home for North Dakota State, earning two starts before enduring a three-week break midway through the season and eventually being limited to mere minutes on the pitch by the end of the campaign. However, if Featherstone can overcome her injury problems, the Macarthur Rams product can certainly become an integral part of the North Dakota State lineup going forward.

Jessie Gentle (Wyoming)
Team Record: 12-4-4 (Mountain West Conference Semi-Finals)
Stats: 20 games, 20 starts, 1 goal, 3 assists

Alongside classmate and fellow Aussie Annika Clayton, Jessie Gentle has been an integral member of the Wyoming lineup for much of her time in Laramie, and nothing about that changed in 2018 as the senior terrorised opposing wide players both in attack and defence. Like Clayton, Gentle started every game for the Cowgirls in 2018 as the experienced Wyoming side put together the first 12-win season in program history whilst also securing a share of the Mountain West Conference regular season title. A dynamic combination of athleticism and skill led a number of outstanding performances for Wyoming, culminating in a career-high three assists for the season and a second goal of the senior’s career, which came alongside an assist in a 3-1 win over Colorado College.

Beattie Goad (Stanford)
Team Record:
21-1-1 (Pac-12 Champions, NCAA College Cup Semi-Finals)
Stats: 24 games, 9 starts, 2 goals, 3 assists

Beattie Goad has become an integral part of the Stanford side. (Photo Credit: Stanford Athletics)

Beattie Goad has seen decent playing time throughout her time at Stanford during what could only be termed as a golden era for the program, but this season saw the junior’s impact on the side become far more significant. Starting the first five games of the season as injuries opened up a spot, Goad started 9 of her 24 appearances and finished with multiple goals and assists in a season for the first time in her career. Whilst Stanford may have fallen short of repeating as champions after a 2-0 loss to eventual champions Florida State in the College Cup semi-finals, Goad’s season could only be termed as a successful one as she proved herself to be an integral part of one of the best teams in college soccer.

Tenille Harberger (Nicholls State)
Team Record:
3-15-0
Stats: 3 games, 0 starts, 0 goals, 0 assists

Having redshirted her first year at Nicholls State in 2017, Tenille Harberger finally saw her first playing time for the Colonels this year, seeing limited playing time in three games in what was a tough season in general for the team. The midfielder from Mackay was afforded just 21 minutes of playing time in those three appearances, and will no doubt be hoping to increase that playing time in her junior year in 2019 as Nicholls State look to improve on their three wins this season.

Emma Heckenberg (Drexel)
Team Record:
7-7-5 (CAA Quarter-Finals)
Stats: 18 games, 16 starts, 0 goals, 4 assists

Rarely has a player appeared more willing to do whatever is required to get her team a win than Emma Heckenberg, and that has served the senior well. Heckenberg saw 16 starts in her final year of college soccer, the most of any of her four years at Drexel. Ready and willing to slot in wherever required, Heckenberg carved out a spot as a vital member of the backline with a handy ability to deliver a set-piece, much like Monique Iannella at Hofstra. That set-piece ability delivered four assists, with two of those coming in a 2-1 over St. Joseph’s and another on the game-winner in a victory over Charleston. Whilst Heckenberg was never a player that received massive plaudits, replacing a player of her ilk will prove no small task for Drexel in 2019. 

Kristy Helmers (Nicholls State)
Team Record:
3-15-0
Stats: 18 games, 4 starts, 2 goals, 1 assist

After a solid first couple of seasons that saw Kristy Helmers regularly start for Nicholls State, 2018 saw the Canberra product come off the bench in the vast majority of her appearances in a side that struggled for goals for much of the season. Helmers started just four games and rarely played more than half a game, resulting in a diminished return of just two goals after scoring three in 2017 and six in her freshman year of 2016. However, those two goals were good enough for second-highest on a Nicholls State team that scored just 17 and saw 7 of those come from one player. 

Sandra Hill (Grand Canyon)
Team Record:
6-13-2 (WAC Quarter-Finals)
Stats: 15 games, 9 starts, 1 goal, 0 assists

Fresh off making her debut with the Cambodian national team during the off-season, Sandra Hill returned to Grand Canyon for her sophomore year and made a similar impact to what she had done in 2017. Hill certainly looks to have benefitted from having a year under her belt, looking far more composed on the pitch in 2018, and also managed to pick up her first collegiate goal with an absolute worldie in her side’s WAC Tournament quarter-final loss to Utah Valley. After starting 9 of her 15 games in 2018, Hill will no doubt be hoping to ensure that both of those numbers sit closer to 20 in her junior season, and if her development continues, there is no reason that can’t happen. 

Isabel Hodgson (East Tennessee State)
Team Record:
8-12-0 (Southern Conference Semi-Finals)
Stats: 20 games, 19 starts, 4 goals, 1 assist

Isabel Hodgson will be tough to replace for ETSU. (Photo Credit: Dakota Hamilton/ETSU Athletics)

A star of the East Tennessee State side from the moment she stepped on the field in Johnson City, Isabel Hodgson once again enjoyed an outstanding season, finishing the 2018 season as the program’s record holder for total appearances. Despite playing a defensive role for the Buccaneers, Hodgson was still able to tally 4 goals and 2 assists, her best return since the 2016 campaign in which the South Australian was utilised in an attacking position, to help her team to a Southern Conference semi-final berth as East Tennessee State atoned for a poor non-conference season by finishing third in the league table. Hodgson has already made her next career move, signing with Adelaide United for the remainder of the W-League season, joining other Australian former college players Laura Johns, Dylan Holmes, and Kahlia Hogg.

Monique Iannella (Hofstra)
Team Record: 16-6-1 (CAA Champions, NCAA Tournament Second Round)
Stats: 23 games, 21 starts, 1 goal, 5 assists

The only thing more lethal than Monique Iannella’s defensive presence is her ability to whip in a pinpoint ball from a corner, and the senior demonstrated both with aplomb to help lead Hofstra to a second consecutive CAA title and another NCAA Tournament appearance. In a side teeming with international players, Iannella was just one of many imports playing a vital role as the Pride rolled through the CAA Tournament before demolishing Boston College in an upset in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Interestingly, although Iannella’s ability from a corner is renowned, the majority of her assists came in other ways, proving her versatility as a player. Three of these came in one game against Towson, all of which came from open play as the former Melbourne City followed up 2017’s six assists with five more in her senior year. 

Claudia Jenkins (La Salle)
Team Record:
8-8-1
Stats: 17 games, 17 starts, 5 clean sheets, 1.248 GAA, 0.788 save percentage 

Claudia Jenkins has been La Salle’s saviour on many occasions. (Photo Credit: Greg Carroccio / Sideline Photos)

After spending the 2017 as backup to senior Larisa Zambelli, Claudia Jenkins made the goalkeeper position her own in 2018, proving to be a more-than-reliable option between the sticks for La Salle. Jenkins’ save percentage and goals against average numbers put her in the top half of goalkeepers in the nation, but those numbers could have been far better if not for an early-season flurry of penalties and own goals that at times left the sophomore on a hiding to nothing. Forced to make almost five saves per game, Jenkins stood tall in a tough season for La Salle, who came back to the pack in a massive way after winning the conference title last season as the Explorers looked to replace three defensive starters who had graduated after the 2017 season. 

Demi Koulizakis (Texas Tech)
Team Record: 14-5-3
Stats: 21 games, 2 starts, 1 goal, 0 assists

Demi Koulizakis made her first starts since 2016 this season as the junior’s vast improvement became impossible to ignore after a slightly down season in 2017. Koulizakis’ minutes fluctuated wildly throughout the season, but demonstrated her class with a technically sublime finish in the team’s 6-0 win over Florida International, the junior’s only goal for the season. Impressively, the junior played 100 minutes in the Red Raiders’ shootout loss to Virginia in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, and the fact that Koulizakis has forced her way into increased playing time in a team that is performing just as well as in previous seasons may be the most promising outcome of all from this campaign.

Ashleigh Lefevre (Illinois)
Team Record: 11-8-1
Stats: 15 games, 0 starts, 0 goals, 1 assist

Cameos off the bench were the order of the season for Ashleigh Lefevre, who made 15 appearances for Illinois in her freshman year, but never saw more than 40 minutes of playing time in any one game. Often used at the back end of the first half to give starters an extended halftime break, Lefevre nevertheless managed to maintain a spot in the rotation, and was able to make her first tangible mark on a game with her first career assist in the Illini’s 5-0 win over SIU Edwardsville early in the season. Having been afforded limited opportunities in her freshman year, Lefevre will no doubt be hoping to build on that going forward to become an integral member of the Illinois starting lineup in 2019. 

Teagan Micah (UCLA)
Team Record: 17-3-2 (NCAA Tournament Semi-Finals)
Stats: 17 games, 14 starts, 8 clean sheets, 0.745 GAA, 0.789 save percentage

Teagan Micah was a vital cog in the UCLA side. (Photo Credit: Rand Bleimeister/UCLA)

Firmly established as one of the nation’s top goalkeepers, Teagan Micah came up in a massive way for UCLA on a number of occasions this season as the Bruins followed up last year’s national title game appearance with a run to the quarter-finals. Playing behind the Bruins’ outstanding defence meant Micah didn’t always have a ton of work to do, but regularly stepped up when called upon. This was most evident in the crosstown derby against USC, in which the junior made 8 saves in the Bruins’ overtime victory, including an acrobatic tip over the bar with just two seconds to play on a shot that would have otherwise won USC the game at the last possible moment. A concussion midway through the season may have kept Micah out for a few games midway through the season, but nonetheless it was another outstanding campaign for one of the top Australian players in college.

Shelby Milton (Saint Francis)
Team Record: 8-9-3 (Northeast Conference Runner-Up)
Stats: 7 games, 1 start, 0 goals, 0 assists

Once again it was an impressive year for Saint Francis, but also one that saw Shelby Milton receive but limited opportunities for the Red Flash in her final campaign with the team. Despite starting against Duquesne early in the season, even that game saw the defender play only 17 minutes as not one of Milton’s seven appearances saw her play more than 37 minutes. It was the same story that had panned out in each of Milton’s previous seasons at St. Francis, who started games in all three of her seasons with the team but never played more than eight games in any one campaign. 

Freyja Murray (Akron)
Team Record:
8-10-2 (MAC Quarter-Finals)
Stats: 3 games, 0 starts, 0 goals, 0 assists

It was a frustrating season in terms of playing time for Akron freshman Freyja Murray, who saw playing time in three early-season games, totalling just 64 minutes of action in her first year with the Zips as those three games turned out to be her only appearances in her freshman year. Unfortunately, it looks as though 2018 may be Murray’s only season with the side, with social media posts suggesting the former Northern Tigers defender may be leaving the program.

Caitlin Pickett (Wyoming)
Team Record: 12-4-4 (Mountain West Conference Semi-Finals)
Stats: 20 games, 19 starts, 2 goals, 1 assist

Caitlin Pickett came up big in a couple of overtime thrillers. (Photo Credit: University of Wyoming Media Relations)

Caitlin Pickett started her college career in whirlwind fashion, coming off the bench to score an overtime winner in just her second game against Utah Valley. Although that goal comprised half of the freshman’s season tally, the other goal Pickett scored was even more thrilling, coming 16 seconds from the end of overtime in a vital win over Utah State that helped Wyoming on the way to a share of the Mountain West Conference regular season title. Impressively, Pickett started 19 games in her first college season, appearing at home in the Wyoming lineup, and looks set to form an integral part of the Wyoming attack alongside fellow Australian and classmate Indianna Asimus.

Sam Roff (Fairleigh Dickinson)
Team Record:
6-10-3 (Northeast Conference Semi-Finals)
Stats: 19 games, 18 starts, 0 goals, 0 assists

Sam Roff’s stat line may look as bare as Old Mother Hubbard’s cupboard, but offensive output has never been the junior’s job as a member of the Fairleigh Dickinson backline. The Knights finished in the top four in their conference for both shutout percentage and goals against average, testament to Roff and her defensive teammates’ strength as a unit. Although Fairleigh Dickinson fell in the NEC semi-finals, Roff’s work this season did not go unnoticed as the junior picked up a second consecutive All-Conference First Team selection to solidify her place as one of the top defenders in the league.

Kate Swartwout (Western Carolina)
Team Record:
8-8-2 (Southern Conference Quarter-Finals)
Stats: 16 games, 3 starts, 1 goal, 1 assist

Kate Swartwout showed plenty of scoring ability before making her way to Western Carolina, and those attacking instincts showed this season as the junior picked up the first goal of her college career in the Catamounts’ 2-1 loss to Chattanooga in October. Whilst starts were once again not forthcoming for Swartwout, the versatile junior retained a role as an impact player off the bench, appearing in 16 games in a middling season for the Catamounts that saw the team reach the conference tournament but fail to pick up a win, falling to Furman in the quarter-finals. With seven seniors on the roster this season, there will certainly be chances for Swartwout to become a regular starter in 2019 as she looks to end her college career with a flourish.

Claire Urquhart (Albany)
Team Record: 14-7-2 (America East Champions, NCAA Tournament First Round)
Stats: 7 games, 0 starts, 0 goals, 0 assists

After starting 8 games in 2017, 2018 saw a drop in Claire Urquhart’s playing time in her senior year, with just seven appearances and no starts forthcoming in the Queenslander’s final season in Albany. Urquhart did enjoy a third trip to the NCAA Tournament in four years, but unfortunately did not receive any playing time in the Great Danes’ 5-1 loss to South Florida in the opening round, rounding out a career in which she had been seemingly vastly underutilised throughout.

Alyssa Van Heurck (La Salle)
Team Record:
8-8-1
Stats: 17 games, 6 starts, 1 goal, 0 assists

Alyssa Van Heurck made the most of a positional switch. (Photo Credit: Greg Carroccio/Sideline Photos)

Known more as a fullback in her time prior to college, Alyssa Van Heurck found herself pushed up the pitch into an attacking wide role, and made the most of the switch to tally 17 appearances in her freshman year. Although the Western Australian started just six of those games, Van Heurck could regularly be called upon to provide a spark off the bench, tallying her first college goal in a 24-minute stint against UMBC in just her second college game and rattling off 3 shots in just 22 minutes against St. Bonaventure later in the season as her emergence as an integral part of the rotation became apparent.

College Matildas End Of Season Awards

Player Of The NCAA Tournament: Teagan Micah (UCLA)
Freshman Of The Year: Caitlin Pickett (Wyoming)
Sophomore Of The Year: Claudia Jenkins (La Salle)
Junior Of The Year: Beattie Goad (Stanford)
Senior Of The Year: Annika Clayton (Wyoming)
Goalkeeper Of The Year: Claudia Jenkins (La Salle) and Teagan Micah (UCLA)
Defender Of The Year: Monique Iannella (Hofstra)
Midfielder Of The Year: Annika Clayton (Wyoming)
Forward Of The Year: Caitlin Pickett (Wyoming)
Breakout Player Of The Year: Claudia Jenkins (La Salle)
Most Consistent Player: Annika Clayton (Wyoming)
Top Goalscorer: Annika Clayton (Wyoming) and Isabel Hodgson (ETSU) – 4 Goals
Most Assists: Monique Iannella (Hofstra) – 5 Assists
2018 College Matildas Player Of The Year: Annika Clayton (Wyoming)

2018 Week 7 Wrap

It might be time to start calling Caitlin Pickett ‘Cardiac Caitlin’ as the Wyoming freshman came up with the second overtime winner of her first season of college soccer, whilst the return of Teagan Micah to the UCLA lineup following a stint on the sidelines with concussion was a welcome sight for Bruins and Aussie fans alike.

Caitlin Pickett was the undoubted hero for Wyoming in their win over Utah State, with her game-winning goal just reward for a scintillating performance that saw her lead the team with four shots. With just 30 seconds left in overtime, Wyoming launched an attack with a through ball. Morgan McDougal slid in to beat the onrushing goalkeeper, with the ball falling to Pickett on the edge of the area. With the goalkeeper stranded and just a defender backpedalling towards the line to contend with, Pickett lifted the ball over the Utah State player and into the back of the net for a golden goal just 16 seconds from the end of overtime for a 1-0 victory. Unfortunately, the Cowgirls couldn’t make it two from two for the weekend as they fell to league leaders Boise State in their second game of the week, but remain decently positioned at 2-2 through four games.

Claudia Jenkins continued to face barrages of shots but did everything in her power to keep La Salle in each game as the Explorers fell to a pair of losses. An impressive nine saves proved not to be enough against Duquesne as La Salle fell to a 3-2 defeat after being outshot 21-5 despite leading 2-0 at the hour mark. A similar pattern emerged against Massachusetts, with another seven saves from Jenkins not enough to stop the Minutewomen from banging home 3 goals as they outshot La Salle 15-8, with the Explorers managing only three shots on target in a 3-1 defeat.

Kiri Dale played a major role in Hawaii’s 2-1 bounce-back win over Cal State Northridge after dropping the weekend’s opener to UC Irvine, tallying the assist on the Wahine’s opening goal. The Mullumbimby product smartly laid the ball off for teammate Raisa Strom-Okimoto from a short corner in just the fourth minute of play, with Strom-Okimoto burying the shot from the edge of the area. Hawaii would give up an equaliser with just two seconds remaining in the match, but found the winner in the final minute of the opening period of overtime to split their games this weekend.

As a defender, Sam Roff occasionally flies under the radar, but there was no escaping the dominance of the junior or the Fairleigh Dickinson defence against Robert Morris. Although they conceded a single goal in the 3-1 win, Roff and the FDU backline gave up just four shots all game, with only two on target in a solid return to form after conceding 11 shots on target in a 2-1 loss to Central Connecticut State earlier in the week.

Finally, although it may not have been the most spectacular performance of the week, Teagan Micah’s return from concussion for UCLA was certainly the most welcome news of the last few days. Having missed the last two games after taking a knock to the head in the warm-up prior to UCLA’s loss to Washington State, including a 3-2 loss to Beattie Goad and Stanford earlier in the week, Micah returned for the second half of the Bruins’ dominant 4-0 win over California. The junior made three saves to round out the clean sheet, and with another week under her belt before playing again, it shouldn’t be long until Micah is back in full flight.

Complete Results:

Akron (Freyja Murray)

This week: lost 1-0 to Eastern Michigan (OT); lost 1-0 to Central Michigan

Freyja Murray did not feature for Akron in either game this week.

Albany (Claire Urquhart) 

This week: drew 3-3 with Stony Brook; lost 2-1 to UMass Lowell

Claire Urquhart did not feature for Albany in either game this week.

Chicago State (Sarah Clark)

This week: lost 5-2 to Cal State Bakersfield; lost 6-0 to Cal Baptist

Sarah Clark came off the bench to play 26 minutes against Cal State Bakersfield, before starting and playing 31 minutes against Cal Baptist, registering a single shot on target. 

Colorado (Isobel Dalton)

This week: drew 1-1 with Arizona State; drew 1-1 with Arizona

Isobel Dalton did not feature for Colorado in either game this week.

Drexel (Emma Heckenberg) 

This week: lost 2-0 to William & Mary

Emma Heckenberg started and played 74 minutes for Drexel in the loss to William & Mary.

East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson)

This week: defeated Western Carolina 1-0

Isabel Hodgson started for East Tennessee State in their win over Western Carolina, playing 74 minutes. 

Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff) 

This week: lost 2-1 to Central Connecticut State; defeated Robert Morris 3-1

Sam Roff started both games for Fairleigh Dickinson, playing her usual 90 minutes in defence in both games. 

Georgia Southern (Hannah Allen)

This week: defeated Louisiana-Monroe 7-2; lost 2-0 to South Alabama

Hannah Allen did not feature for Georgia Southern in either game this week.

Grand Canyon (Sandra Hill)

This week: defeated Seattle 1-0

Sandra Hill came off the bench in Grand Canyon’s win over Seattle, playing 13 minutes.

Hawaii (Kiri Dale)

This week: lost 1-0 to UC Irvine (OT); defeated Cal State Northridge 2-1 (OT)

Kiri Dale started both games this week, playing 83 minutes in the win over UC Irvine and coming up with the assist on Hawaii’s opener in the overtime win against Cal State Northridge. 

Hofstra (Monique Iannella, Grace Watson-Carr)

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

Monique Iannella played every minute of the weekend for Hofstra in their two victories, but Grace Watson-Carr did not feature in either game this week. 

Illinois (Ashleigh Lefevre) 

This week: defeated Michigan State 1-0

Ashleigh Lefevre came off the bench for Illinois in their win over Michigan State, playing 30 minutes. 

La Salle (Claudia Jenkins, Alyssa Van Heurck) 

This week: @ Duquesne – 9am, Friday September 28; v Massachusetts – 3am, Monday October 1

LSU (Caitlin Cantrill)

This week: defeated Alabama 2-0

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

Marshall (Laura Farrelly) 

This week: defeated Old Dominion 1-0; lost 3-2 to Charlotte

Laura Farrelly did not feature for Marshall in either game this week.

Nicholls State (Tessa Calabria, Tenille Harberger, Kristy Helmers)

This week: lost 2-1 to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi; lost 4-0 to Houston Baptist.

Kristy Helmers came off the bench to play 61 minutes against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, registering a shot on target before starting and playing 46 minutes in the loss to Houston Baptist. Tenille Harberger did not feature against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi but played five minutes off the bench against Houston Baptist, whilst Tessa Calabria did not feature in either game this week.

North Dakota State (Lauren Featherstone)

This week: defeated Western Illinois 1-0 (OT); defeated Fort Wayne 5-1

Lauren Featherstone came off the bench in both games this week, registering a shot in her 19 minutes against Western Illinois and playing 8 minutes in the win over Fort Wayne.

Old Dominion (Gaby Bentley) 

This week: lost 1-0 to Marshall; defeated Western Kentucky 4-0

Gaby Bentley did not feature in the win over Marshall, but came off the bench to tally a shot in 9 minutes of action against Western Kentucky. 

Southeast Missouri State (Siena Senatore)

This week: drew 1-1 with Eastern Kentucky; defeated Morehead State 2-0

Siena Senatore did not feature for Southeast Missouri State in either game this week. 

St. Francis University (Shelby Milton)

This week: defeated Sacred Heart 3-2; drew 1-1 with Bryant

Shelby Milton did not feature for St. Francis in either game this week.

Stanford (Beattie Goad) 

This week: defeated UCLA 3-2; defeated USC 1-0 (OT)

Beattie Goad came off the bench in both games this week, playing 13 minutes against UCLA and registering a shot in her 9 minutes against USC.

Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis) 

This week: drew 0-0 with Oklahoma; lost 2-0 to Baylor

Demi Koulizakis did not feature in the game against Oklahoma, but played 22 minutes off the bench in the loss to Baylor.

Towson (Jodie Burchell) 

This week: lost 3-0 to Northeastern; lost 2-0 to Elon

Jodie Burchell came off the bench to register two shots in 41 minutes against Northeastern, before starting and doing the same in 53 minutes in the loss to Elon.

UCLA (Teagan Micah)

This week: lost 3-2 to Stanford; defeated California 4-0

Teagan Micah did not feature against Stanford, but made her return from concussion in the second half against California, making three saves in the Bruins’ dominant victory. 

Western Carolina (Kate Swartwout) 

This week: lost 1-0 to East Tennessee State

Kate Swartwout came off the bench for Western Carolina in their loss to East Tennessee State, finishing with one shot on target in her 36 minutes on the pitch. 

William & Mary (Lorena Bugden)

This week: lost 3-1 to UNC Wilmington; defeated Drexel 2-0

Lorena Bugden did not feature for William & Mary in either game this week.

Wyoming (Indianna Asimus, Annika Clayton, Jessie Gentle, Caitlin Pickett)

This week: defeated Utah State 1-0 (OT); lost 2-1 to Boise State

Caitlin Pickett was the hero for Wyoming against Utah State, scoring the game winner with her fourth shot of the game just 16 seconds from time in a 73-minute performance. Pickett also started against Boise State, playing 76 minutes. Jessie Gentle started both games, playing 96 minutes against Utah State and the full 90 minutes against Boise State. Annika Clayton tallied 2 shots in a 100-minute performance against Utah State before following up with another 3 in 84 minutes against Boise State, whilst Indianna Asimus came off the bench to play 44 minutes against Utah State and 14 minutes against Boise State.

Player of the Year Points:

3: Caitlin Pickett (Wyoming)
2: Sam Roff (Fairleigh Dickinson)
1: Kiri Dale (Hawaii)

2018 Week 6 Wrap

Assists were the theme of the weekend, as Monique Iannella tied the Hofstra school record for a single game and several other Aussies teed up teammates. However, that didn’t stop a couple of players from tallying goals, and there was also a first career appearance for Tenille Harberger.

(Featured Image Credit: The Southern Conference)

Monique Iannella is certainly well-known for teeing up teammates, but more often than not her assists come from well-placed corners. However, Iannella proved that she is just as adept at setting up her fellow Hofstra players in open play, tying a school record with three assists in the Pride’s 6-0 win over Towson. A pinpoint cross from the senior set up Lucy Porter for the opener in the 15th minute, before laying the ball off for Sabrina Bryan, who rocketed home a world-class strike for Hofstra’s 3rd goal in the 38th minute. Just three minutes later, another cross from Iannella found the head of Miri Taylor, who flicked the ball on for Porter to head home to give Hofstra a 4-0 halftime lead on their way to a 6-0 victory. Unfortunately, the Pride couldn’t round out the weekend with another win, falling 1-0 to James Madison in their second game of the first week of conference play.

East Tennessee State were another team that dominated an opponent as they romped to a 7-1 win over Wofford. Having already secured a 1-0 win over regular conference contenders Furman earlier in the week, the Buccaneers dominated on the scoreboard against Wofford even as both teams finished with 15 shots on target. Izzy Hodgson certainly got in on the action, teeing up teammate Sarah Connolly for her fourth goal of the match just after the hour mark before adding one of her own just a minute later to double her tally for the season. For a side desperate to atone for a fairly dismal 2017 Southern Conference campaign, it was a perfect start for East Tennessee State as they sit atop the league standings alongside Kate Swartwout and Western Carolina, who defeated the same pair of opponents with a 3-1 win over Furman and a 4-1 victory over Wofford.

Isobel Dalton’s name isn’t one we see on the stat sheet too often for Colorado, but the senior reminded everyone of the class that saw her play in both the W-League and the English Women’s Super League before heading to college with a scything pass for an assist in Colorado’s 6-0 win over Oregon State. Winning the ball with a solid tackle in midfield, Dalton split the Oregon State defence with an incisive ball through to Camilla Shymka, who buried the shot across the goalkeeper to round out the six-goal demolition as the Buffaloes got off to the best possible start in the toughest conference in the nation.

It was a mixed week for Wyoming on the road, and ironically enough the highlights for the Aussies came in their loss to San Diego State. Right on the 30-minute mark, freshman Caitlin Pickett teed up senior Annika Clayton, who buried a shot across the goalkeeper from 10 yards out to put Wyoming 1-0. Unfortunately, a five-minute lapse from the Cowgirls was enough for San Diego State to score two quick goals either side of the 70-minute mark to secure a 2-1 victory. However, Wyoming would bounce back in their second game of the week in a thrilling 3-2 victory over New Mexico, and although the Aussies didn’t make a tangible impact, all four made their mark with Clayton, Pickett, and Jessie Gentle starting and Indianna Asimus coming off the bench to play 34 minutes.

Like Hofstra, Emma Heckenberg and Drexel also fell to a loss to James Madison, but bounced back in their second game of the week to defeat Charleston 2-1 in overtime. Having gone down 1-0 in the 55th minute, Heckenberg whipped in a cross from the left which found teammate Morgan Rees who headed the ball down into the bottom corner for the 68th minute equaliser. The Dragons peppered the Charleston goal in overtime, with their fifth shot of the extra minutes finding the back of the net to hand Drexel the win.

In a weekend in Honolulu stacked with games featuring Aussies as Lauren Featherstone and Sandra Hill came to town, it was Hawaii’s Kiri Dale who came away with a pair of wins as well as an assist in a 4-0 win over Hill and her Grand Canyon outfit. Having defeated Featherstone’s North Dakota State side the previous day, Dale set up the Wahine’s third goal, sending in a free kick that would be rocketed home by Mikaelah Johnson-Griggs to put the game out of Grand Canyon’s reach just after halftime before Hawaii added a fourth goal late in the piece to round out a perfect weekend.

Claudia Jenkins was solid once again for La Salle this week, but unfortunately even her best efforts couldn’t quite secure two wins for the Explorers. After being forced into just two saves in a 1-0 overtime win over Davidson, Jenkins was forced into eight saves against Saint Joseph’s, but yet another penalty conceded by the Explorers led to one of the few goals the South Australian has conceded this season. Unfortunately, it was the goal that broke the 1-1 tie and handed the Hawks the win in the local derby. This game was also notable for it being Alyssa Van Heurck’s first collegiate start, with the Western Australian playing 31 minutes and tallying a shot after coming off the bench in each of her eight previous appearances.

However, Van Heurck wasn’t the only player to reach an appearance-related milestone. Jodie Burchell made her first start for Towson in their 1-0 loss to a William & Mary side featuring Lorena Bugden, who had also made a first collegiate start in the Tribe’s previous game, a 2-1 loss to Charleston. Meanwhile, Demi Koulizakis made her first start since 2016 for Texas Tech in a 2-0 loss to West Virginia, playing 58 minutes in the process.

Finally, it’s been a long time coming, but Nicholls State midfielder Tenille Harberger made her first college appearance in the Colonels’ 1-0 loss to Abilene Christian. Having redshirted her first year in Thibodaux, Harberger’s first appearance came more than 12 months after she arrived at Nicholls State, with the 10 minutes of playing time surely giving her an appetite for more. 

Full Schedule:

Akron (Freyja Murray)

This week: lost 1-0 to Western Michigan; @ Northern Illinois – 4am, Monday September 24 

Chicago State (Sarah Clark) 

This week: lost 5-0 to Fort Wayne

Sarah Clark did not feature for Chicago State in their loss to Fort Wayne.

Colorado (Isobel Dalton) 

This week: defeated Oregon State 6-0

Isobel Dalton came off the bench for Colorado in their demolition of Oregon State, securing the assist on the Buffaloes’ final goal in her 21 minutes on the pitch. 

Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)

This week: lost 1-0 to James Madison; defeated Charleston 2-1 (2OT)

Emma Heckenberg played every minute of the weekend, picking up an assist on Drexel’s equaliser in their overtime win over Charleston.

East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson)

This week: defeated Furman 1-0; defeated Wofford 7-1

Isabel Hodgson finished with two shots, both of which were on target in a complete game performance against Furman, before tallying a goal and an assist in 64 minutes of action in the Buccaneers’ demolition of Wofford.

Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)

This week: drew 1-1 with Mount St. Mary’s

Sam Roff played all 110 minutes in Fairleigh Dickinson’s draw with Mount St. Mary’s. 

Georgia Southern (Hannah Allen) 

This week: lost 2-1 to Appalachian State

Hannah Allen did not feature for Georgia Southern in their loss to Appalachian State.

Grand Canyon (Sandra Hill)

This week: lost 3-2 to North Dakota State (OT); lost 4-0 to Hawaii

Sandra Hill came off the bench to play 43 minutes in the thrilling loss to North Dakota State, but started and played 77 minutes in the loss to Hawaii

Hawaii (Kiri Dale) 

This week: defeated North Dakota State 2-0; defeated Grand Canyon 4-0

Kiri Dale started both games this week, playing 83 minutes in the win over North Dakota State and picking up an assist in a complete game performance in the win over Grand Canyon.

Hofstra (Monique Iannella, Grace Watson-Carr)

This week: defeated Towson 6-0; lost 1-0 to James Madison

Monique Iannella tallied a school record-tying 3 assists as well as a shot in her 77 minutes on the pitch against Towson, before playing the full 90 minutes against James Madison and registering another shot. Grace Watson-Carr did not feature for Hofstra in either game this week.

Illinois (Ashleigh Lefevre)

This week: lost 2-0 to Ohio State; lost 2-1 to Penn State (OT)

Ashleigh Lefevre did not feature for Illinois in either game this week.

La Salle (Claudia Jenkins, Alyssa Van Heurck)

This week: defeated Davidson 1-0; lost 2-1 to Saint Joseph’s

Claudia Jenkins played every minute of the weekend, making two saves in the win over Davidson and eight more in the loss to Saint Joseph’s. Alyssa Van Heurck came off the bench to play 7 minutes against Davidson, but picked up her first career start against St. Joseph’s, playing 31 minutes and registering a shot that tested the Hawks’ goalkeeper. 

LSU (Caitlin Cantrill)

This week: drew 0-0 with Auburn; lost 4-1 to Florida

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

Marshall (Laura Farrelly)

This week: defeated UTEP 2-1 (OT); defeated Florida International 3-2

Laura Farrelly did not feature for Marshall in either of their wins this week. 

Nicholls State (Tessa Calabria, Tenille Harberger, Kristy Helmers)

This week: lost 2-1 to Incarnate Word; lost 1-0 to Abilene Christian

Kristy Helmers started in the loss to Incarnate Word, playing 34 minutes and registering a single shot before coming off the bench to play 27 minutes against Abilene Christian. Tenille Harberger did not feature against Incarnate Word, but came off the bench to make her college debut with 10 minutes of playing time against Abilene Christian. Tessa Calabria did not feature in either game this week. 

North Dakota State (Lauren Featherstone) 

This week: defeated Grand Canyon 3-2 (OT); lost 2-0 to Hawaii

Lauren Featherstone came off the bench in both of North Dakota State’s games this week, playing 13 minutes against Grand Canyon and 25 minutes in the loss to Hawaii. 

Old Dominion (Gaby Bentley)

This week: lost 3-2 to Louisiana Tech (OT)

Gaby Bentley came off the bench in Old Dominion’s thrilling overtime loss to Louisiana Tech, playing 15 minutes. 

Southeast Missouri State (Siena Senatore)

This week: lost 1-0 to Jacksonville State (OT)

Siena Senatore did not feature for Southeast Missouri State in their overtime loss to Jacksonville State.

St. Francis University (Shelby Milton)

This week: defeated Long Island-Brooklyn 1-0

Shelby Milton did not feature for St. Francis in their win over Long Island-Brooklyn.

Stanford (Beattie Goad) 

This week: defeated Arizona 2-0

Beattie Goad started for Stanford in their win over Arizona and tallied 2 shots in her 42 minutes on the pitch.

Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis)

This week: lost 2-0 to West Virginia; defeated Iowa State 3-0

Demi Koulizakis started for Texas Tech against West Virginia and played 58 minutes, before coming off the bench to play 16 minutes against Iowa State.

Towson (Jodie Burchell) 

This week: lost 6-0 to Hofstra; lost 1-0 to William & Mary

Jodie Burchell came off the bench to play 17 minutes in Towson’s loss to Hofstra, but started and played 11 minutes against William & Mary.

UCLA (Teagan Micah)

This week: lost 1-0 to Washington State

Teagan Micah did not feature for UCLA in their loss to Washington State after suffering an injury in the warm-up.

Western Carolina (Kate Swartwout)

This week: defeated Wofford 4-1; defeated Furman 3-1

Kate Swartwout started in Western Carolina’s win over Wofford and played 67 minutes, before playing 26 minutes off the bench in the win over Furman.

William & Mary (Lorena Bugden) 

This week: lost 2-1 to Charleston; defeated Towson 1-0

Lorena Bugden made her first career start in the win over Charleston, playing 38 minutes before coming off the bench to play 26 minutes in the win over Towson. 

Wyoming (Indianna Asimus, Annika Clayton, Jessie Gentle, Caitlin Pickett)

This week: lost 2-1 to San Diego State; defeated New Mexico 3-2

Annika Clayton started both games this week, registering Wyoming’s only goal in their loss to San Diego State as part of an 85-minute effort before registering a single shot in 73 minutes in the win over New Mexico. Jessie Gentle was once again all but ever-present for the Cowgirls, starting both games and playing all bar 12 minutes of the weekend as well as tallying a single shot against New Mexico. Caitlin Pickett also started both games and played around an hour in each game, teeing up Clayton for the goal against San Diego State. Indianna Asimus came off the bench in both games, playing just the five minutes against San Diego State but seeing 34 minutes of action in the win over New Mexico.

Player of the Year Points: 

3: Monique Iannella (Hofstra)
2: Isabel Hodgson (East Tennessee State)
1:
Annika Clayton (Wyoming)

2018 Week 6 Preview

Aussies face each other on both sides of the country this week as Kiri Dale takes on Sandra Hill and Lauren Featherstone in a tournament in Honolulu, whilst Jodie Burchell faces Monique Iannella and Lorena Bugden in Towson’s first two conference games. Elsewhere, Sam Roff and the Fairleigh Dickinson defence look to keep things tight at the back against a Mount St. Mary’s team that has had enough troubles scoring goals as it is.

(Featured Image Credit: Michael Rincon)

Kiri Dale and Hawaii play host to a pair of other teams featuring Australians this week as Sandra Hill’s Grand Canyon outfit and a North Dakota State team featuring Lauren Featherstone head to Manoa for a small tournament prior to conference play kicking off next week. Both Hawaii and North Dakota State have put together decent records approaching the .500 mark to this point, but for Grand Canyon this week provides a chance to continue rebuilding their season as a pair of wins last week lifted the Antelopes from 1-7 to 3-7. With all three Aussies seeing playing time of late and the teams fairly evenly matched, this is certainly a set of games worth watching.

The Colonial Athletic Association is stacked with Aussies, and it shows this week as Jodie Burchell and Towson kick off conference play against another pair of teams featuring Australians. The Tigers face perennial contenders Hofstra in their first game of the week, where they will face a Pride defence featuring Monique Iannella that finds itself in good form of late after keeping two clean sheets last week. Towson then face a William & Mary side featuring Lorena Bugden in their second game of the week, and although this game appears to be the Tigers’ best chance of victory this week, they will still come in as slight underdogs in this one. Home advantage may give Burchell and the Tigers the leg-up they need though as they look to get off to a good start in league play.

Claudia Jenkins has stepped into the void left by La Salle legend Larisa Zambelli superbly, and the Explorers would love for the South Australian goalkeeper to continue that outstanding form as they look to make a return trip to the NCAA Tournament. Starting their Atlantic 10 campaign with a local derby against St. Joseph’s, this game shapes to be a battle between two of the league’s true contenders, particularly given the fact both teams have shown outstanding form in the non-conference season. However, St. Joseph’s don’t have the most potent offence in the country, and with Jenkins giving up just five goals in seven games, La Salle’s defence – which also features fellow Australian Alyssa Van Heurck at times – could prove to be the difference as the Explorers look to hit the ground running in conference action.

Sam Roff and Fairleigh Dickinson fell on penalties in the Northeast Conference championship game last season, and in a conference where only Central Connecticut State have shown any really strong non-conference form, the league is wide open for any team that can get off to a good start. Although the Knights have won just two of their ten games to this point, they start league play against a Mount St. Mary’s outfit with just one win in seven games and only four goals so far this season, of which two came in their sole win of the campaign against Howard. As was the case in 2017, the Fairleigh Dickinson defence hasn’t been at its absolute best in non-conference play, but if they can reprise their conference form of last season, scoring goals will be tough not only for a team like Mount St. Mary’s, but for every team in the NEC.

Wyoming limped home last season to miss the Mountain West conference tournament after losing five of their last six games of the 2017 campaign, but come into this year’s league slate as one of the form teams in the conference after compiling a 5-1-2 record to this point. All four Australians – Caitlin Pickett, Indianna Asimus, Jessie Gentle, and Annika Clayton – have played vital roles for the Cowgirls to this point, and they will look to continue their good form having been given a favourable draw to open the conference slate. San Diego State usually prove to be one of the league contenders, but after winning just two of their eight non-conference games, catching the Aztecs at the start of league play may allow Wyoming to snare a result before San Diego State have the chance to regain winning form. Their second opponent of the week, New Mexico, are faring better at 4-3-0, which also appears to a fair reflection on the team’s quality. Despite being on the road, Wyoming will see themselves as favourites in this one and will have eyes firmly fixed on picking up six points from the first weekend of conference play.

Full Schedule:

Akron (Freyja Murray)

This week: @ Western Michigan – 6am, Saturday September 22; @ Northern Illinois – 4am, Monday September 24 

Chicago State (Sarah Clark)

This week: @ Fort Wayne – 5am, Sunday September 23 

Colorado (Isobel Dalton)

This week: @ Oregon State – 9am, Saturday September 22

Drexel (Emma Heckenberg) 

This week: v James Madison – 9am, Friday September 21; @ Charleston – 2am, Monday September 24

East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson)

This week: v Furman – 9am, Saturday September 22; v Wofford – 4am, Monday September 24

Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)

This week: @ Mount St. Mary’s – 3am, Monday September 24 

Georgia Southern (Hannah Allen)

This week: v Appalachian State – 9am, Monday September 24

Grand Canyon (Sandra Hill)

This week: @ Hawaii – 1pm, Monday September 24

Hawaii (Kiri Dale) 

This week: v North Dakota State – 10am, Sunday September 23; v Grand Canyon – 1pm, Monday September 24 

Hofstra (Monique Iannella, Grace Watson-Carr) 

This week: v Towson – 9am, Friday September 21; @ James Madison – 3am, Monday September 24

Illinois (Ashleigh Lefevre) 

This week: v Ohio State – 10am, Friday September 21; v Penn State – 10am, Sunday September 23 

La Salle (Claudia Jenkins, Alyssa Van Heurck)

This week: @ Davidson – 9am, Friday September 21; v Saint Joseph’s – 3am, Monday September 24 

LSU (Caitlin Cantrill)

This week: v Auburn – 10am, Friday September 21; @ Florida – 3am, Monday September 24

Marshall (Laura Farrelly)

This week: @ UTEP – 11am, Friday September 21; v Florida International – 3am, Monday September 24

Nicholls State (Tessa Calabria, Tenille Harberger, Kristy Helmers)

This week: @ Incarnate Word – 8am, Saturday September 22; @ Abilene Christian – 4am, Monday September 24 

North Dakota State (Lauren Featherstone)

This week: @ Hawaii – 10am, Sunday September 23

Old Dominion (Gaby Bentley)

This week: @ Louisiana Tech – 9am, Saturday September 22

Southeast Missouri State (Siena Senatore)

This week: @ Jacksonville State – 4am, Monday September 24 

St. Francis University (Shelby Milton) 

This week: @ Long Island-Brooklyn – 3am, Sunday September 23

Stanford (Beattie Goad)

This week: v Arizona – 1pm, Saturday September 22 

Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis)

This week: v West Virginia – 10:15am, Saturday September 22; v Iowa State – 3am, Monday September 24 

Towson (Jodie Burchell) 

This week: @ Hofstra – 9am, Friday September 21; v William & Mary – 3am, Monday September 24

UCLA (Teagan Micah)

This week: v Washington State – 1pm, Saturday September 22 

Western Carolina (Kate Swartwout)

This week: v Wofford – 9am, Saturday September 22; v Furman – 6am, Monday September 24

William & Mary (Lorena Bugden)

This week: @ Charleston – 9am, Friday September 21; @ Towson – 4am, Monday September 24

Wyoming (Indianna Asimus, Annika Clayton, Jessie Gentle, Caitlin Pickett)

This week: @ San Diego State – 12pm, Saturday September 22; @ New Mexico – 4:30am, Monday September 24

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.

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.