The Road Less Travelled: Siobhan Longmore’s Journey To Lamar

How does a player from the coastal town of Busselton, Western Australia wind up in south-east Texas at Lamar University? If you’re Siobhan Longmore, it takes a long and winding road that detours through not one, but two junior colleges, and a little bit of guidance from your family. We caught up with Siobhan to find out more about the Dodge City Community College transfer’s journey to this point.

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On the back of a glittering junior career that included state representation and a move from Busselton to Perth to continue her development, Siobhan Longmore has spent the past two seasons as an integral part of the Dodge City Community College women’s soccer team. (Yes, that’s Dodge City as in the term ‘get the hell out of Dodge.’) However, it wasn’t a truly smooth ride to get there in the first place as the Western Australian originally planned on playing at another school altogether.

“My sister, Ariana, was a freshman at Dodge City, and I was originally going to a school in Georgia called Georgia Military College. I got there, and it really just wasn’t what I expected and hoped it to be,” Longmore explained. “So the coach at Dodge City, Tim Romanello, took me in and I came here basically because my sister was here. She’s now graduated and she’s playing in California. So pretty much it’s because of my sister that I came here.”

Ariana’s presence at Dodge City may just have saved Siobhan’s career, because it wasn’t long before she was ready to leave Georgia and head back to Busselton, her college career over even before it started.

“I was going to come home three days into it; I hated it. It wasn’t what I was told it was going to be, so I was going to pack my bags and leave,” Longmore revealed. “But my family’s very supportive, they never want me to give up. My sister’s my biggest fan, I’m her biggest fan; she just said, ‘Nope, you’ve got to give it a chance.’ And I’m glad I did because I’ve made so many friends, and it’s just been amazing.”

But why attend a junior college in the first place? Longmore received interest from four year schools, but her sister’s guidance and the chance to play from the outset made the prospect of using her first two years in the US to set herself up for Division I all the more enticing.

“When I first got recruited, I got a lot of emails from four year schools. But my sister was at a community college, and she pretty much said ‘Listen, it’s going to set you up for a four-year, it’s going to give you the experience,’” Longmore explained. “For most incoming freshmen going to a four year university, it’s hard to get playing time. It was good at the community college, I mean, I played every game and I feel like it definitely has developed me to go to the next level.”

Longmore was certainly thrown in the deep end at Dodge City, though. A centre back throughout her junior years, then-Dodge City coach Tim Romanello had different plans for his newest player, moving Siobhan into a new position from the outset in what proved to be an inspired decision.

“He was an amazing coach, practices were different every day, I learnt so many new things. Honestly, I moved to America to play as a centre back, and the first day I got to America, he put me in as a centre midfielder, and I loved it,” Longmore explained. “I played centre midfield for the last two years, and it’s just developed my game. I’ve created so much more skill and strength and speed that I never had before, that I didn’t know I could have.”

“Over the last two years I’ve gained so much speed that I didn’t know I had. I’m not the best with foot skills, but I’ve got them there, and I have a very strong shot from the left side. I’m very competitive – if someone passes me, I’ll get mad about it and it’ll never happen again.”

“So now I’ve been recruited to play left defender (at Lamar), which is good because I’m left-footed and I love defence, and I also love attacking, which is what I can do in that position.”

However, the chance to play a certain position is never the be-all and end-all when it comes to recruiting, with many other factors coming into play. Hailing from a coastal town, Longmore craved a return to a beachside setting, but clearly there were other factors at play, including the opportunity to play for a team that coach Steve Holeman has turned from a 2 win team in 2016 to conference champions in 2017. However, it wasn’t Holeman who recruited Longmore, but one of his assistants.

“My whole recruiting process didn’t go through him, it went through the assistant coach Henry (Zapata), I knew the background and how (Holeman) has carried the team to be conference winners. I just think it’s amazing how you can turn around in one season. But my whole recruiting process went through Henry, and he was so good, and very open and honest about everything,” Longmore explained.

“We were talking for about a month and a half. I was going to go out and visit, but with school and stuff I couldn’t, and it got to the point where just after Christmas, I actually told him that Lamar probably won’t be a place for me.

“He came back, he offered me a full scholarship, and he pretty much made it sound like everything I wanted it to be. I have family in Texas, so at that point we took the drive up there, and I looked at the campus, and I absolutely loved it. I saw the soccer field, and I’m actually going up there in about three weeks to meet the team and watch them play one of their spring games, so I’m really excited.”

“When I came in as a sophomore, I said to everyone, ‘I am going somewhere on the beach, I don’t care where it is!’ I put it out there to schools in California and Florida, and, there was a school in Florida that I was going to go to, but Lamar came up and it was the best option for me.”

So what does the future hold for Lamar’s newest Australian? The junior certainly has big dreams, with one eye on entering the professional ranks following her two years at the top level of college soccer.

“I’m staying in America for the summer, so I’m going to be training hard, and after the two years, I know that this is big to say, but I really want to get picked up by the Houston Dash. I guess that’s kind of the dream, so I have to go hard from start to finish,” Longmore explains, slightly shyly.

“But you know, if I was to come home, I would hopefully try to get into the Perth Glory team. I’ve tried that before, but then I’ve developed so much as a player, like I didn’t even know I could develop that much. But I definitely want to continue soccer, I want to keep playing at the highest level I can.”

Interestingly, Siobhan will not be the only Australian junior college transfer to be playing in the Southland Conference, with Iowa Lakes Community College transfer Tessa Calabria joining fellow Australians Kristy Helmers and Tenille Harberger at Nicholls State. The pair even faced off in a junior college match last season, with both sides featuring a number of Australians.

“We actually have a photo together! We we played against them at the start of the season, and one of the other girls who plays on the Iowa team, I went to school with her and lived with her when I went to John Curtin College (in Perth). So it was kind of a big reunion there, and then we got together and there were four Australians on the team. I was like, ‘Let’s take a big photo of all the Australians!’. There’s another Australian on my team, my roommate, who’s also from Busselton, so we have a photo of about six of us, which was cool.”

Madeleine Duncan, Tessa Calabria, Sienna Scully (all Iowa Lakes CC), Siobhan Longmore, and Keeley Milner (both Dodge City CC)

“We’ve been in contact, we’ve been talking about it, and she told me that’s where she was going to go, and I said that’s awesome, we’re going to be playing against each other. I love playing against other Aussies, and even when I’m at basketball games and I see Australians on the other team’s roster, after the game I go up to them, I give them a hug, we have such good chats, it’s so cool.”

JUCO transfer Tessa Calabria becomes Nicholls’ third Aussie

The Australian contingent at Nicholls State has grown to three, with junior college transfer Tessa Calabria joining Kristy Helmers and Tenille Harberger in Thibodaux. A forward out of Adelaide, Calabria spent the past two seasons at Iowa Lakes Community College, helping the team to 15 wins during her stint with the program. A First Team All-Region selection in 2016, Calabria also received an All-Tournament Team selection following her performances in the 2016 NJCAA Region XI tournament, which included a hat-trick in a 5-0 quarter-final win over Dakota County Technical College.

Nicholls State struggled to score goals in conference play last season, an area in which Calabria excelled during her two seasons in junior college. The South Australian scored over 20 goals in her two seasons in Iowa, establishing herself as one of the Iowa Lakes side’s most potent attacking threats due to her ability in front of goal. Having scored just five goals in Southland Conference play and picking up only 3 wins in 11 games last season, the Colonels’ faithful will be hoping that potency can transfer to the Division I level, and in the process turn a couple of losses into draws or wins.

Calabria will no doubt be expected to shoulder at least part of the goalscoring load left by the graduating Emily Werenskiold, who was equal second-highest scorer on the team with three of the Colonels’ 16 goals in 2017. With fellow Australian Kristy Helmers now entering her junior year with the program, Nicholls State fans will surely be hoping that the new pair of Australian attacking players can form the same link that Helmers did with Colonels legend Jess Coates prior to Coates’ graduation following the 2016 season.

Calabria is the second JUCO transfer to join a Division I team this year, alongside Lamar’s Siobhan Longmore, who joined from Dodge City Community College in Kansas. The pair actually faced off last season, with both Calabria and Longmore tallying 3 shots and 2 shots on target in a game that Dodge City won 2-1. The pair will now face off at least once in each of the next two seasons, with both Nicholls State and Lamar playing in the Southland Conference.

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 7 Wrap

Harriet Withers continues her charge to becoming one of Murray State’s all-time great players, whilst Emily Hulbert returned from injury and Georgia Rowntree was an absolute saviour for Wyoming.

Harriet Withers continues her remarkable season for Murray State, breaking the team’s record for career goals after bringing up the tying goal last week. Withers’ goal in the 18th minute against Southeast Missouri State not only broke the career goalscoring record, but also proved to be the winner as the Racers secured a 1-0 victory. Withers then extended her record with two goals in less than a minute to lead Murray State to a 3-1 win in a game that was still 0-0 with ten minutes to play. With 12 goals this season, Withers has now eclipsed her personal mark of 11 which she set in 2015, and is now one goal shy of the Racers’ single season record and four points shy of the single season points record, which she already shares.

It’s been a few weeks between goals for Paige Hayward, but the 2016 Player of the Year scored one at the best possible time this week. In a 1-0 win over Alabama State, Hayward’s goal proved the difference in a game that saw Texas Southern outshot 13-4 by the Hornets, but somehow come away with a win courtesy of the Australian’s strike. Hayward had another four shots against Alabama A&M as the Tigers came away with another 1-0 win in a successful trip to Alabama.

In a week during which their goalscoring was lacking, Wyoming could not have been more thankful for the performances of goalkeeper Georgia Rowntree. The senior’s three saves against Fresno State earned the Cowgirls a 0-0 draw as they were unable to find the back of the net despite 8 shots on target. Rowntree then came up big a second time, making four saves against San Jose State as an 81st minute winner proved the difference in a 1-0 win to see Wyoming bounce back from last week’s loss to Air Force with a pair of solid results that moved the team into a solid mid-table position in the Mountain West Conference.

Staying in the south, Kristy Helmers’ week started off less than impressively as her Nicholls State side fell 4-0 to Houston Baptist. Things quickly improved though, with Helmers scoring the opener with her only shot of the game as the Colonels knocked off Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 2-1 to salvage something from an initially tough trip to Texas.

Monique Iannella continued her solid form for Hofstra, playing the complete 90 minutes on both occasions this week as the Pride defeated Drexel 2-0 before dispatching with William & Mary 3-1, with Iannella and the Hofstra defence holding their opponents to 8 shots on targets across the two games. However, the highlight of this week was the return of Emily Hulbert from a minor injury to play 39 minutes in the game against William & Mary with no apparent problems in the aftermath.

Olivia Ellis may be coming off the bench for Oregon State at this early point in her career, but over the weekend saw playing time generally reserved for starters in the Beavers’ losses to USC and UCLA. With her side down 2-0 early on against USC, Ellis came on to play 57 minutes in the eventual 4-0 loss to the defending national champions. After another poor defensive start against UCLA, where the Beavers fell behind 2-0 inside 7 minutes, Ellis once again came on in the first half, playing another 68 minutes in a 4-1 loss, and surely it can’t be long until the former Melbourne City defender gets a chance in the starting lineup.

Player Of The Year Points:

3: Harriet Withers (Murray State)
2: Kristy Helmers (Nicholls State)
1: Georgia Rowntree (Wyoming)

Full Schedule:

Albany (Claire Urquhart)

This week: lost 1-0 to Binghamton; lost 3-0 to New Hampshire

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

Central Connecticut State (Lauren Featherstone)

This week: lost 1-0 to Fairleigh Dickinson; lost 1-0 to Mount St. Mary’s

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

Colorado (Isobel Dalton)

This week: defeated Washington State 2-0; drew 0-0 with Washington

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

Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)

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

Emma Heckenberg started both games for Drexel this week, playing 75 minutes and rattling off two shots against Hofstra before playing 61 minutes in the win over Towson.

East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson)

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

Isabel Hodgson played the full 90 minutes in both games, registering four shots in the loss to VMI.

Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)

This week: defeated Central Connecticut State 1-0

Sam Roff played the full 90 minutes in defence for Fairleigh Dickinson in the Knights’ 1-0 win over Central Connecticut State.

Grambling State (Priya Gakhar)

This week: defeated Jackson State 2-1; defeated Southern 2-1 (OT)

Priya Gakhar came off the bench in both games for Grambling State this week, playing five minutes against Jackson State and six minutes against Southern.

Hawaii (Kiri Dale)

This week: lost 1-0 to UC Davis; lost 2-0 to Long Beach State

Kiri Dale played the full 90 minutes in both games this week, managing to register two shots against UC Davis, with one on target.

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert, Monique Iannella)

This week: defeated Drexel 2-0; defeated William & Mary 3-1

Monique Iannella played the full 90 minutes in both games, even managing to tally a shot on target against William & Mary. Emily Hulbert missed the game against Drexel, but returned from injury against William & Mary to play 39 minutes.

La Salle (Claudia Jenkins)

This week: defeated Dayton 4-0; defeated Rhode Island 2-0

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

LSU (Caitlin Cantrill)

This week: lost 3-0 to Kentucky

Caitlin Cantrill came off the bench for LSU in their loss to Kentucky, playing two minutes.

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)

This week: defeated Southeast Missouri State 1-0; defeated Tennessee-Martin 3-1

Harriet Withers scored the game’s only goal in the win over Southeast Missouri State, and followed up with a brace in the space of 38 seconds to lead the Racers to victory over Tennessee-Martin. Nyomi Devine was again rock solid in defence, playing every minute of the two games.

Nicholls State (Tenille Harberger, Kristy Helmers)

This week: lost 4-0 to Houston Baptist; defeated Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 2-1 (OT)

Kristy Helmers started both games this week, playing 63 minutes in the loss to Houston Baptist and scoring with her only shot of the game against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi as part of a 56 minute shift. Tenille Harberger did not feature for Nicholls State in either game this week.

Old Dominion (Gaby Bentley)

This week: defeated Texas-San Antonio 2-1; defeated UTEP 2-1

Gaby Bentley came off the bench in both games for Old Dominion this week, registering a shot in the win over Texas-San Antonio.

Oregon State (Olivia Ellis)

This week: lost 4-0 to USC; lost 4-1 to UCLA

Olivia Ellis came off the bench in both games, playing 57 minutes against USC and 68 minutes against UCLA.

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

This week: lost 2-1 to Gonzaga; defeated Portland 2-0

Ellie Papalexiou did not feature for Pacific this week as the team continues to manage her return from injury.

St. Francis (Shelby Milton)

This week: defeated Sacred Heart 2-0; defeated Bryant 2-1

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

Southeast Missouri State (Maddy Cornell)

This week: lost 1-0 to Murray State

Maddy Cornell started for Southeast Missouri State and played 75 minutes in their loss to Murray State.

Stanford (Beattie Goad)

This week: defeated Arizona 1-0; defeated Arizona State 6-0

Beattie Goad did not feature against Arizona, but came off the bench to play 47 minutes and register a shot.

Texas Southern (Paige Hayward)

This week: defeated Alabama State 1-0; defeated Alabama A&M 1-0

Paige Hayward played every minute of the week for Texas Southern, scoring the game’s only goal in the win over Alabama State.

Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis)

This week: lost 3-2 to Texas (OT); lost 1-0 to TCU (OT)

Demi Koulizakis did not feature for Texas Tech in either game this week.

UCLA (Teagan Micah)

This week: defeated Oregon 2-0; defeated Oregon State 4-1

Teagan Micah played all 180 minutes for UCLA this week, making three saves against Oregon and two more against Oregon State.

Western Carolina (Kate Swartwout)

This week: defeated VMI 1-0 (OT); drew 2-2 with UNC Greensboro

Kate Swartwout came off the bench to play 60 minutes and register a shot against VMI, then started against UNC Greensboro, playing 77 minutes.

William & Mary (Lorena Bugden)

This week: drew 0-0 with College of Charleston; lost 3-1 to Hofstra

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: drew 0-0 with Fresno State; defeated San Jose State 1-0

Georgia Rowntree lived up to her Great Wall of Laramie moniker, making seven saves two finish with two crucial clean sheets which earned the Cowgirls an undefeated weekend. Alisha Bass started both games, playing 94 minutes against Fresno State and 73 minutes against San Jose State, tallying a pair of shots on target in the latter game and one against Fresno State. Annika Clayton came off the bench to play 47 minutes against Fresno State, but earned the start against San Jose State, playing 62 minutes. Jessie Gentle came off the bench for a pair of extended stints, playing 58 minutes against Fresno State and 47 minutes against San Jose State, whilst Jemma House played 32 minutes off the bench against Fresno State and 9 minutes against San Jose State.

2017 Week 5 Wrap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Full Schedule:

Albany (Claire Urquhart)

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

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

Central Connecticut State (Lauren Featherstone)

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

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

Colorado (Isobel Dalton)

This week: defeated Denver 6-1

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

Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)

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

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

East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson)

This week: lost 6-1 to George Mason

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

Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)

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

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

Grand Canyon (Sandra Hill)

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

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

Hawaii (Kiri Dale)

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

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

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert, Monique Iannella)

This week: defeated Stony Brook 1-0

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

La Salle (Claudia Jenkins)

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

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

LSU (Caitlin Cantrill)

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

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

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)

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

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

Nicholls State (Tenille Harberger, Kristy Helmers)

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

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

Old Dominion (Gaby Bentley)

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

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

Oregon State (Olivia Ellis)

This week: lost 1-0 to Portland

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

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

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

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

St. Francis (Shelby Milton)

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

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

Southeast Missouri State (Maddy Cornell)

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

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

Stanford (Beattie Goad)

This week: defeated Santa Clara 2-1

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

Texas Southern (Paige Hayward)

This week: lost 1-0 to LSU-Alexandria

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

Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis)

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

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

UCLA (Teagan Micah)

This week: drew 1-1 with Pepperdine

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

Western Carolina (Kate Swartwout)

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

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

William & Mary (Lorena Bugden)

This week: lost 1-0 to UNC Greensboro

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

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

This week: defeated Idaho State 3-0

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

2017 Week 5 Preview

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Full Schedule:

Albany (Claire Urquhart)

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

Central Connecticut State (Lauren Featherstone)

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

Colorado (Isobel Dalton)

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

Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)

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

East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson)

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

Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)

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

Grand Canyon (Sandra Hill)

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

Hawaii (Kiri Dale)

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

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert, Monique Iannella)

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

La Salle (Claudia Jenkins)

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

LSU (Caitlin Cantrill)

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

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)

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

Nicholls State (Tenille Harberger, Kristy Helmers)

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

Old Dominion (Gaby Bentley)

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

Oregon State (Olivia Ellis)

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

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

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

St. Francis (Shelby Milton)

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

Southeast Missouri State (Maddy Cornell)

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

Stanford (Beattie Goad)

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

Texas Southern (Paige Hayward)

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

Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis)

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

UCLA (Teagan Micah)

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

Western Carolina (Kate Swartwout)

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

William & Mary (Lorena Bugden)

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

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

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

2017 Week 3 Preview

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

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

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

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

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

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

Full Schedule:

Albany (Claire Urquhart)

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

Central Connecticut State (Lauren Featherstone)

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

Colorado (Isobel Dalton)

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

Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)

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

Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)

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

Grambling State (Priya Gakhar)

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

Grand Canyon (Sandra Hill)

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

Hawaii (Kiri Dale)

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

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert, Monique Iannella)

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

La Salle (Claudia Jenkins)

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

LSU (Caitlin Cantrill)

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

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)

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

Nicholls State (Tenille Harberger, Kristy Helmers)

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

Old Dominion (Gaby Bentley)

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

Oregon State (Olivia Ellis)

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

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

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

St. Francis (Shelby Milton)

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

Southeast Missouri State (Maddy Cornell)

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

Stanford (Beattie Goad)

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

Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis)

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

UCLA (Teagan Micah)

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

Western Carolina (Kate Swartwout)

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

William & Mary (Lorena Bugden)

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

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

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