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.

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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.

2017 Season Wrap

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

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

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

Photo Credit: University of Wyoming

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: Dave Winder/Murray State Athletics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: Michael Rincon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: Jonathan Heisler/Hofstra Athletic Communications

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: Rand Bleimeister

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: University of Wyoming

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: Dave Winder/Murray State Athletics

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

End Of Season Awards:

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

2017 Week 1 Wrap

It was certainly an eventful opening weekend for the Aussies in NCAA Division I. We saw a couple of players pop up unexpectedly, but certain others did exactly what we know them best for – dominating at the attacking end of the field. At the back, certain experienced players kept their opposition in check to give their teams a chance at victory.

It had been a long time between drinks for Maddy Cornell on the goalscoring front, but the Southeast Missouri State senior picked the perfect time to get on the scoresheet, tallying the sealer in the Redhawks’ 2-0 opening day win over Evansville for her first goal since 2015. Whilst Cornell was unable to back up her goalscoring exploits against Illinois-Springfield in the Redhawks’ second game of the week, Southeast Missouri State still came away with a 3-0 win.

Kiri Dale had already shown the Hawaii fans what she was capable of with a 25 yard strike in preseason, and came up with another special moment in her competitive debut for the Rainbow Wahine, delivering a peach of an assist for Sarah Lau’s backheel flick for the overtime game winner against Utah Valley in a 2-1 win. Dale’s performance off the bench earned her the start in Hawaii’s 2-1 win over Fairfield, a game in which she played 52 minutes and tallied a shot.

Isabel Hodgson tallied the most assists of any Australian last season, and set about retaining that honour in the best way possible, setting up the third goal in East Tennessee State’s 8-0 demolition of South Carolina State. Unfortunately, the Buccaneers weren’t able to make it a perfect weekend, going down 1-0 to Tennessee Tech in their second game of the weekend.

Murray State, on the other hand, had just the one game this weekend, and Harriet Withers was in lethal form. The undoubted top striker in the Ohio Valley Conference scored both goals in the Racers’ 2-0 win over Marshall, with fellow Australian Nyomi Devine playing all 90 minutes to help keep a clean sheet and allow Marshall just three shots on target.

Wyoming may have gone down 2-1 to Baylor in overtime, but you couldn’t fault goalkeeper Georgia Rowntree for the loss. The senior made seven saves, but with Baylor taking 27 shots, eventually their second goal came with just 33 seconds remaining in overtime, with Rowntree’s punch from a free kick unable to be cleared by the defence before being directed home by a Baylor attacker. Jemma House made her debut for Wyoming in the contest, whilst Alisha Bass and Jessie Gentle also started and made significant contributions throughout for the Cowgirls.

Player Of The Year Points:

3: Harriet Withers (Murray State)
2: Maddy Cornell (Southeast Missouri State)
1: Georgia Rowntree (Wyoming)

Full Schedule:

Albany (Claire Urquhart)

This week: lost 3-0 to Old Dominion

Claire Urquhart came off the bench late in the first half and played 41 minutes in Albany’s loss to Old Dominion.

Central Connecticut State (Lauren Featherstone)

This week: defeated Massachusetts 3-0

Lauren Featherstone did not feature for Central Connecticut State in their win over Massachusetts.

Colorado (Isobel Dalton)

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

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

Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)

This week: lost 2-1 to Maryland; defeated Quinnipiac 3-0

Emma Heckenberg did not feature for Drexel against Maryland, before playing 13 minutes off the bench against Quinnipiac.

East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson)

This week: defeated South Carolina State 8-0; lost 1-0 to Tennessee Tech

Isabel Hodgson started for East Tennessee State in their win over South Carolina State, playing 70 minutes and delivering the assist for the Buccaneers’ third goal. Hodgson also started in the loss to Tennessee Tech, playing 76 minutes and registering a single shot on target.

Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)

This week: lost 3-2 to Temple (OT); defeated Hartford 3-1

Sam Roff started for Fairleigh Dickinson and was ever-present in their 3-2 overtime loss to Temple, and backed up for another complete game in the win over Hartford.

Grand Canyon (Sandra Hill)

This week: lost 1-0 to Texas Tech; lost 1-0 to New Mexico

Sandra Hill came off the bench to play 13 minutes in the loss to Texas Tech, before coming off the bench to play 31 minutes against New Mexico.

Hawaii (Kiri Dale)

This week: defeated Utah Valley 2-1 (OT); defeated Fairfield 2-1

Kiri Dale came off the bench and played 74 minutes in the win over Utah Valley, delivering the assist on the game-winner in overtime. Dale then earned the start in the win over Fairfield, registering a shot on target in her 52 minutes of action.

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert, Monique Iannella)

This week: lost 1-0 to Pittsburgh; lost 3-0 to Penn State

Emily Hulbert started for Hofstra in both games this week, completing the entire 90 minutes on both occasions. Monique Iannella came off the bench against Pittsburgh to play 62 minutes, before earning her first start for Hofstra and playing 78 minutes against Penn State.

La Salle (Claudia Jenkins)

This week: drew 3-3 with St. John’s; defeated Temple 2-0

Claudia Jenkins did not feature for La Salle in either game this week as regular goalkeeper Larisa Zambelli retained her starting position from last season.

LSU (Caitlin Cantrill)

This week: defeated Mississippi Valley State 5-0; defeated Colgate 3-0

Caitlin Cantrill came off the bench against Mississippi Valley State to play 20 minutes, registering a shot which went narrowly wide in the late stages of the game, but did not feature against Colgate.

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)

This week: defeated Marshall 2-0

Harriet Withers banged in both goals for Murray State in their win over Marshall in an 82 minute starter’s effort. Nyomi Devine also started and played the full 90 minutes for the Racers.

Nicholls State (Tenille Harberger, Kristy Helmers)

This week: lost 3-1 to Southern Miss; lost 1-0 to Mississippi Valley State

Kristy Helmers started for Nicholls State and registered two shots, with on one target, in 69 minutes of play in the loss to Southern Miss. Helmers then played 66 minutes in an unexpected loss to Mississippi Valley State, but did not register a shot. Tenille Harberger did not feature for Nicholls State in either game.

Old Dominion (Gaby Bentley)

This week: defeated George Mason 4-1; defeated Albany 3-0

Gaby Bentley had a short stint off the bench in the win over George Mason, playing 8 minutes. The South Australian was afforded slightly more playing time against Albany, chalking up 28 minutes of playing time.

Oregon State (Olivia Ellis)

This week: drew 0-0 with Kansas State; defeated Seattle 2-1

Olivia Ellis did not feature in either match for Oregon State this weekend.

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

This week: lost 3-0 to Fresno State; drew 1-1 with Cal State Northridge

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

Saint Francis (Shelby Milton)

This week: lost 6-0 to Miami (FL); lost 3-1 to Florida Atlantic

Shelby Milton did not feature for Saint Francis in either game of their Florida road trip, which culminated in a pair of losses.

Southeast Missouri State (Maddy Cornell)

This week: defeated Evansville 2-0; defeated Illinois-Springfield 3-0

Maddy Cornell started against Evansville, playing 59 minutes and scoring the second goal in Southeast Missouri State’s 2-0 opening day win. Cornell also started against Illinois-Springfield, playing 51 minutes and tallying two shots.

Stanford (Beattie Goad)

This week: defeated Marquette 4-0; defeated Wisconsin 5-0

Beattie Goad came off the bench against Marquette to play the last 26 minutes before playing 36 minutes off the bench in the win over Wisconsin.

Texas Southern (Paige Hayward)

This week: lost 3-0 to Houston; drew 1-1 with St. Thomas

Paige Hayward started against Houston and played 70 minutes, before tallying 103 minutes and registering 4 shots against St. Thomas.

Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis)

This week: defeated Grand Canyon 1-0; defeated San Francisco 1-0

Demi Koulizakis came off the bench for Texas Tech in their 1-0 win over Grand Canyon, but was afforded only three minutes of playing time. The sophomore also came off the bench against San Francisco, registering a single shot in 13 minutes of playing time.

UCLA (Teagan Micah)

This week: defeated San Diego State 5-1; defeated Long Beach State 5-1

Teagan Micah played all 90 minutes against San Diego State, but was forced to make just two saves and the goal she conceded came from a penalty. Micah backed up for another complete game performance against Long Beach State, making another two saves as UCLA almost let a two-goal lead slip before going on to a 5-1 win.

Western Carolina (Kate Swartwout)

This week: defeated Morehead State 3-1

Kate Swartwout started for Western Carolina in a defence that gave up just three on-target shots to Morehead State in a 3-1 win.

William & Mary (Lorena Bugden)

This week: defeated Providence 2-0; defeated Boston College 3-1

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

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

This week: lost 2-1 to Baylor (OT)

Georgia Rowntree, Alisha Bass, and Jessie Gentle each started for Wyoming in their only game this week. Rowntree played the entire game between the sticks, making an impressive seven saves. Alisha Bass played 92 minutes in attack, whilst Jessie Gentle registered 69 minutes. Jemma House came off the bench to play an impressive 63 minutes on debut, but Annika Clayton did not feature in the season opener.

2017 Player Previews

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

Claire Urquhart (Junior, Midfielder, Albany, Brisbane)

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

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

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

Isobel Dalton (Junior, Midfielder, Colorado, Caloundra)

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

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

Emma Heckenberg (Junior, Midfielder, Drexel, Melbourne)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kiri Dale (Sophomore, Midfielder, Hawaii, Mullumbimby)

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

Emily Hulbert (Senior, Defender, Hofstra, Melbourne)

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

Monique Iannella (Senior, Defender, Hofstra, Melbourne)

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

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

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

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

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

Caitlin Cantrill (Sophomore, Midfielder, LSU, Canberra)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beattie Goad (Sophomore, Midfielder, Stanford, Melbourne)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Teagan Micah (Sophomore, Goalkeeper, UCLA, Brisbane)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alisha Bass (Senior, Midfielder, Wyoming, Sydney)

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

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

Annika Clayton (Junior, Midfielder, Wyoming, Sydney)

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

Jessie Gentle (Junior, Midfielder, Wyoming, Woolgoolga)

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

Jemma House (Junior, Forward, Wyoming, Newcastle)

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

Georgia Rowntree (Senior, Goalkeeper, Wyoming, Sydney)

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

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