2017 Player Previews

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

Claire Urquhart (Junior, Midfielder, Albany, Brisbane)

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

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

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

Isobel Dalton (Junior, Midfielder, Colorado, Caloundra)

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

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

Emma Heckenberg (Junior, Midfielder, Drexel, Melbourne)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kiri Dale (Sophomore, Midfielder, Hawaii, Mullumbimby)

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

Emily Hulbert (Senior, Defender, Hofstra, Melbourne)

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

Monique Iannella (Senior, Defender, Hofstra, Melbourne)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Caitlin Cantrill (Sophomore, Midfielder, LSU, Canberra)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beattie Goad (Sophomore, Midfielder, Stanford, Melbourne)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Teagan Micah (Sophomore, Goalkeeper, UCLA, Brisbane)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alisha Bass (Senior, Midfielder, Wyoming, Sydney)

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

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

Annika Clayton (Junior, Midfielder, Wyoming, Sydney)

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

Jessie Gentle (Junior, Midfielder, Wyoming, Woolgoolga)

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

Jemma House (Junior, Forward, Wyoming, Newcastle)

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

Georgia Rowntree (Senior, Goalkeeper, Wyoming, Sydney)

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

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

Week 11 Wrap

Paige Hayward (Photo Credit: John Posey)

It was a topsy-turvy week this week to say the least, with some vital wins tempered by a couple of brutal losses. Julia De Angelis, Kristy Helmers and Kate Swartwout saw their freshman seasons end with tournament losses, whilst Laura Johns and Jess Coates rounded out their college careers this week as their teams failed to reach conference tournaments. On the other side, Beattie Goad and Stanford are in pole position for a conference title, whilst Demi Koulizakis, Paige Hayward and Isabel Hodgson enjoyed crucial victories.

The undoubted star of the week was Paige Hayward. With Texas Southern needing a win over in-state rival Prairie View A&M in their final league game to secure second place, the junior came up huge for the Tigers. The striker scored both goals for Texas Southern, including a penalty, to ensure that her team would finish in second place and earn a favourable draw for the SWAC conference tournament quarterfinals, where they will play Prairie View A&M again in the 2-7 matchup, with Prairie View A&M hosting the tournament.

Laura Johns’ impact with Massachusetts has been reduced in her senior season after winning the 2015 College Matildas Breakout Player Of The Year, but the South Australian showed just what she could offer in her final college game. Although the Minutewomen lost 3-1 to Dayton in their final game of the season, that goal came courtesy of Laura as she wrapped up her college career in the best way possible on a personal level, if not from a results level.

It was a mixed week for the Aussies in the Pac-12, to say the least. Teagan Micah and UCLA lost both their games this weekend to drop out of conference title contention, but one of those losses came at the hands of Colorado. Whilst Colorado were able to get that win over UCLA, they lost 3-0 to Lulu Pullar and USC, but neither Isobel Dalton nor Kahlia Hogg played any minutes all weekend. It was a better weekend for Beattie Goad and Stanford, though. Their trip south to play the two Arizona schools saw them come away with a pair of wins to take a two-point lead at the top of the Pac-12 table with one game to play.

In an Aussie v Aussie matchup in the Southern Conference quarterfinals, it was Isabel Hodgson and East Tennessee State who got the chocolates over Kate Swartwout and Western Carolina. East Tennessee State opened the scoring on the 20 minute mark through Molly Collinson who finished off some neat play from Irina Brutsch and Eleonora Goldoni. Western Carolina equalised through a penalty in the 73rd minute, but East Tennessee State earned the winner less than 3 minutes later. Isabel Hodgson tallied a single shot, but was heavily involved in the attack throughout the game, opening up several opportunities for the Buccaneers. Meanwhile, Kate Swartwout was solid in defence for the 47 minutes that she played off the bench for the Catamounts.

Demi Koulizakis has been used sparingly off the bench for the most part this season, but in a must-win game against nationally ranked Oklahoma, the Aussie freshman earned a rare start. Koulizakis’ performance must have improved the Texas Tech coaching staff as the Sydneysider saw 69 minutes of playing time in a 1-0 overtime win that saw the Red Raiders steal a Big 12 tournament spot from Monique Iannella and Texas.

This week saw us say goodbye to Nicholls State legend Jess Coates after the Colonels went down 3-0 to Southeastern Louisiana in a game that they had to win to reach the Southland Conference tournament and keep their season alive. Jess finishes her college career as Nicholls State’s all-time assists leader with 19 in 4 seasons, and was also a Senior CLASS Award nominee in her shortened senior season in 2015. Jess also won the 2014 College Matildas Midfielder Of The Year and was also 2nd in the Player Of The Year award in 2014.

Player Of The Year Points:

3: Paige Hayward (Texas Southern)
2: Georgia Rowntree (Wyoming)
1: Laura Johns (Massachusetts)

Complete Results:

Massachusetts (Laura Johns)

This week: lost 2-1 to Saint Joseph’s; lost 3-1 to Dayton

Laura Johns started in both games this weekend, playing 38 minutes against Saint Joseph’s and 56 minutes against Dayton. Despite the loss against Dayton, Laura rounded off her college career with a goal in her final game.

UCLA (Teagan Micah)

This week: lost 1-0 to Colorado; lost 2-0 to Utah

Teagan Micah played two complete games this week, making three saves against Colorado and five saves against Utah.

Colorado (Isobel Dalton, Kahlia Hogg)

This week: defeated UCLA 1-0; lost 3-0 to USC

Neither Isobel Dalton nor Kahlia Hogg saw any playing time for Colorado this weekend.

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Jade Horcicka, Harriet Withers)

This week: drew 0-0 with Austin Peay

Harriet Withers had six shots for Murray State with two on target as the striker played all 110 minutes. Nyomi Devine continued to sit out through injury, whilst Jade Horcicka also did not feature against Austin Peay.

LSU (Caitlin Cantrill)

This week: lost 2-0 to Arkansas

Caitlin Cantrill came off the bench to play 36 minutes in the loss to Arkansas.

Southeast Missouri State (Maddy Cornell, Siena Senatore)

This week: defeated Tennessee-Martin 4-1

Maddy Cornell came off the bench to play 25 minutes, whilst Siena Senatore played 28 minutes as a substitute.

USC (Lulu Pullar)

This week: drew 1-1 with Utah; defeated Colorado 3-0

Lulu Pullar did not feature against Utah, but came off the bench to play the final five minutes against Colorado.

Stanford (Beattie Goad)

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

Beattie Goad came off the bench to play 15 minutes in both games this week, registering a shot on target in the win over Arizona.

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

This week: lost 2-1 to San Diego; lost to BYU 4-0

Ellie Papalexiou missed this week due to injury.

Wyoming (Alisha Bass, Annika Clayton, Jessie Gentle, Georgia Rowntree, Candace Sciberras)

This week: defeated Colorado State 1-0

Alisha Bass had four shots, of which three were on target, in 74 minutes of action against Colorado State. Georgia Rowntree played all 90 minutes and saved all five shots that came her way. Annika Clayton and Jessie Gentle both had short stints off the bench, whilst Candace Sciberras missed out through injury.

Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)

This week: defeated Long Island-Brooklyn 4-2; lost 2-1 to Mount St. Mary’s

Sam Roff started both games and played the full 90 minutes on both occasions this week, managing to register a shot against Long Island-Brooklyn.

Nicholls State (Jess Coates, Kristy Helmers)

This week: lost 3-0 to Southeastern Louisiana

Kristy Helmers tallied a single shot in 45 minutes of action, whilst Jess Coates had two shots on target in 84 minutes in what would be her final college game.

Texas (Monique Iannella)

This week: lost 3-2 to TCU

Monique Iannella did not feature this week as Texas’ season came to an end with the loss to TCU.

Texas Southern (Paige Hayward)

This week: defeated Prairie View A&M 2-0

Paige Hayward scored both goals for the Tigers, including one from the spot, from seven shots in a complete game effort.

Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis)

This week: defeated Oklahoma 1-0 (OT)

Demi Koulizakis managed a rare start for Texas Tech and played 69 of the 103 minutes in the overtime win, tallying a shot from midfield.

San Francisco (Price Keogh)

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

Price Keogh did not feature for San Francisco this week.

East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson)

This week: defeated Western Carolina 2-1

Isabel Hodgson played 75 minutes in the win, tallying a shot on target in the process.

Western Carolina (Kate Swartwout)

This week: lost 2-1 to East Tennessee State

Kate Swartwout came off the bench to play 75 minutes in defence in the tight quarterfinal loss.

Albany (Claire Urquhart)

This week: defeated New Hampshire 1-0

Claire Urquhart did not feature for Albany in their conference tournament semi-final victory.

Indiana (Julia De Angelis)

This week: lost 3-1 to Minnesota

Julia De Angelis came off the bench to play 13 minutes as Indiana’s season ended with a quarter-final loss to Minnesota.

Week 9 Wrap

Assists were the order of the week for the Australians this week, as no less than six players combined for nine over the course of the weekend. Three of those were assists for their fellow Australians to score goals, so it was a massive weekend of attacking output across the country.

It was a tough old week for East Tennessee State as the Buccaneers took just one point from the weekend to drop out of the Southern Conference regular season title race and back into 5th spot. Isabel Hodgson was able to make an impact on a personal level though, as her assist against Chattanooga helped salvage what could still be a vital point in the race for seedings in the conference tournament.

It was a spectacular weekend for the Aussies at Wyoming. Despite losing 3-1 to San Jose State, Annika Clayton was able to tally the assist on the Cowgirls’ solitary goal of the game, before Alisha Bass and Jessie Gentle took charge against Fresno State. Alisha was the main contributor, registering assists on both goals in Wyoming’s 2-1 win, but assists don’t come unless someone puts the ball in the back of the net, which is exactly what Jessie Gentle did for the first time in her college career, knocking hime the game winner in the 69th minute.

It may have been Jess Coates’ Senior Day down in Thibodaux, but the Nicholls State midfielder was the one dishing out the gifts in a 3-0 hammering of Sam Houston State. After defeating Sam Houston State 1-0 in an upset win in their first game of the weekend, spirits were sure to be high in the Colonels’ camp, and it proved as much in the demolition of lowly Sam Houston State. Jess Coates assisted on all 3 Nicholls goals, with fellow Australian Kristy Helmers was the recipient of two of those assists to finish with a brace as the Aussies continued what has been an excellent partnership in attack this season.

Alexandra Huynh also celebrated her Senior Day this weekend and, like Jess Coates, delivered for her teammates. After a disappointing 2-0 loss to Coastal Carolina in the weekend’s first game, it was Alex’s corner that led to a Troy goal which would secure victory and send Alex and her fellow seniors out on a high.

Murray State kept themselves atop the Ohio Valley Conference with a win and a draw, but two dropped points to SIU Edwardsville means the chasing pack is right on the Racers’ heels. Harriet Withers surprisingly didn’t manage a goal in a 3-0 win over Eastern Illinois, but did tally an assist in the win. More surprisingly, four shots on target from the reigning OVC Offensive Player Of The Year against SIU Edwardsville didn’t lead to a goal from Harriet as the goalkeepers at both ends played spoiler in a 1-1 draw between the top two teams in the league. Nyomi Devine was ever-present at the back for Murray State as a top defensive effort saw the Racers concede a solitary goal in 200 minutes of play.

Texas Southern came up against Howard this weekend in a top of the table clash in the SWAC, coming within 45 seconds of salvaging a point and giving the ladder leading Bison something to sweat over in the latter stages of the season. After going down 1-0, Australian striker Paige Hayward equalised for the Tigers, but a Howard goal in the final minute of overtime broke Texas Southern hearts and, combined with Arkansas-Pine Bluff’s results this weekend, dropped the Tigers to 3rd in the SWAC with 3 games remaining in the league schedule.

Player Of The Year Points:

3: Jess Coates (Nicholls State)
2: Kristy Helmers (Nicholls State)
1: Alisha Bass (Wyoming)

Complete Results:

Indiana (Julia De Angelis)

This week: defeated Ohio State 3-2; defeated Maryland 1-0

Julia De Angelis started both games for Indiana, but only played around half the minutes of the weekend as Indiana continues to manage her playing time following injury.

Massachusetts (Laura Johns)

This week: lost 1-0 to Davidson; drew 1-1 with Rhode Island

Laura Johns came off the bench in both games, playing 18 minutes against Davidson and 9 minutes against Rhode Island.

UCLA (Teagan Micah)

This week: defeated Arizona 2-1 (OT)

Teagan Micah played all 101 minutes in the overtime win, making 3 saves including one just 45 seconds from the end of the first overtime period to keep the game tied at 1-1 before Sunny Dunphy’s winner in the second overtime period.

Wyoming (Alisha Bass, Annika Clayton, Jessie Gentle, Georgia Rowntree, Candace Sciberras)

This week: lost 3-1 to San Jose State; defeated Fresno State 2-0

Georgia Rowntree played the full 90 minutes in both games, making three saves against San Jose State and four against Fresno State. Alisha Bass played 57 minutes against San Jose State, tallying a shot, before notching assists on both goals against Fresno State in an 87 minute effort. Jessie Gentle played just 4 minutes off the bench against San Jose State, but tallied Wyoming’s second goal against Fresno State in a half-hour stint. Annika Clayton tallied an assist on Wyoming’s only goal against San Jose State and played 46 minutes off the bench against Fresno State.

Southeast Missouri State (Maddy Cornell, Siena Senatore)

This week: lost 1-0 to Tennessee Tech; lost 2-1 to Eastern Kentucky (OT)

Maddy Cornell came off the bench in both games this week, playing 13 minutes against Tennessee Tech and 27 minutes against Eastern Kentucky. Siena Senatore also came off the bench in both games, playing 48 minutes against Tennessee Tech and 31 minutes against Eastern Kentucky.

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Jade Horcicka, Harriet Withers)

This week: defeated Eastern Illinois 3-0; drew 1-1 with SIU Edwardsville

Nyomi Devine played all 200 minutes of action for Murray State this week, remaining a rock at the back for the Racers. Harriet Withers tallied an assist in 80 minutes of action against Eastern Illinois, and did everything but score as she tallied 4 shots on target in 104 minutes of playing time against SIU Edwardsville.

Nicholls State (Jess Coates, Kristy Helmers)

This week: defeated Stephen F. Austin 1-0; defeated Sam Houston State 3-0

Kristy Helmers played 60 minutes against Stephen F. Austin, before tallying two goals against Sam Houston State. Jess Coates played the full 90 minutes against Stephen F. Austin, then tallied assists on all 3 goals against Sam Houston State, playing 75 minutes on Senior Day.

Colorado (Isobel Dalton, Kahlia Hogg)

This week: defeated Washington 2-1

Neither Kahlia Hogg nor Isobel Dalton featured for Colorado in the win over Washington.

Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)

This week: drew 0-0 with Elon; lost 2-1 to William & Mary

Emma Heckenberg started both games for Drexel, tallying a shot on target in the draw with Elon.

East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson)

This week: drew 2-2 with Chattanooga; lost 3-0 to Samford

Isabel Hodgson played all 110 minutes against Chattanooga and tallied an assist, before playing 70 minutes against Samford.

Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)

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

Sam Roff played all 110 minutes against Sacred Heart, and all bar four minutes of the win over Bryant.

Western Carolina (Kate Swartwout)

This week: lost 2-1 to Samford; lost 1-0 to Chattanooga

Kate Swartwout started against Samford, but came off the bench against Chattanooga to register a single shot.

Troy (Alexandra Huynh)

This week: lost 2-0 to Coastal Carolina; defeated Texas State 2-1

Alex Huynh started both games, playing 69 minutes against Coastal Carolina and the full 90 minutes against Texas State, tallying an assist against Texas State on Senior Day.

LSU (Caitlin Cantrill)

This week: lost 1-0 to Mississippi State

Caitlin Cantrill did not feature for LSU in the loss to Mississippi State.

Texas (Monique Iannella)

This week: lost 2-0 to Iowa State

Monique Iannella started and played 45 minutes in the loss to Iowa State.

Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis)

This week: lost 1-0 to West Virginia

Demi Koulizakis came off the bench but only played 2 minutes against West Virginia.

Stanford (Beattie Goad)

This week: defeated Oregon State 3-2

Beattie Goad started and played 59 minutes in the win over Oregon State, registering a shot.

Iona (Kiri Dale)

This week: lost 4-1 to Canisius

Kiri Dale started for Iona in the loss to Canisius, tallying a single shot on target.

Winthrop (Jai Jackson)

This week: lost 2-1 to Gardner-Webb

Jai Jackson started for Winthrop and played 73 minutes in the loss to Gardner-Webb.

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert)

This week: defeated Northeastern 2-1

Emily Hulbert started for Hofstra and played all 90 minutes in the upset win, tallying a shot.

USC (Lulu Pullar)

This week: defeated Arizona State 2-0

Lulu Pullar did not feature for USC against Arizona State.

Texas Southern (Paige Hayward)

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

Paige Hayward started for Texas Southern in the overtime loss, scoring the Tigers’ equaliser.

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

This week: lost 2-0 to Loyola Marymount

Ellie Papalexiou did not feature for Pacific this week due to injury.

Albany (Claire Urquhart)

This week: defeated Vermont 3-0

Claire Urquhart did not feature for Albany against Vermont.

Week 3 Wrap

It was a week of firsts for the Australians this week, as no less than three players tallied either their first career goal or assist. There were goals for the more experienced players too though, as Harriet Withers and Jess Coates continued their recent scoring form.

Kiri Dale didn’t get any game time in her freshman year, but she’s quickly making up for lost time and this week provided her first mark on the stat sheet, providing a ripping assist for Iona’s only goal in a 2-1 loss to NJIT. Skinning a defender down the left wing, Dale whipped in a cross which found a teammate who bundled the ball into the net. Kiri also started in Iona’s second game of the week, a 1-1 draw against Yale.

Whilst Julia De Angelis’ injury denied us an Aussie v Aussie matchup as LSU took on Indiana, Caitlin Cantrill ensured all was not lost as the Tigers notched a 3-0 win. Cantrill notched her first career goal to open the scoring, pouncing on a rebound to slot the ball home to double LSU’s advantage just before halftime after they had gone 1-0 up in the 34th minute. Caitlin also came off the bench in LSU’s second game of the week, a 2-1 win over Butler that saw the Tigers take home the Hoosier Challenge Cup for the weekend’s efforts in Indiana.

It’s rare that Harriet Withers goes long without scoring, and the Murray State junior was on the scoresheet again this week. Whilst it was a long old game against Vanderbilt as the Racers were whipped soundly and put to bed in a 4-0 drubbing, the Racers were back to their attacking best against Arkansas State, save for their ability to score goals. Despite outshooting the Red Wolves 27-11, a massive FIFTEEN saves by Arkansas State goalkeeper Kelsey Ponder saw Harriet’s goal be Murray State’s solitary tally as Arkansas State somehow salvaged a 1-1 draw.

Kate Swartwout has established herself as part of the Western Carolina side and despite being a defender, her attacking instincts are already well-known. This week, these instincts had a tangible impact on the game, as teammate Kasey Cooke knocked the ball home from point blank range to give Kate her first assist of the season and tie the game. Cooke added her second of the game two minutes later to give Western Carolina the win. Kate would start the second game of the week, against Elon, and play 64 minutes, but Western Carolina would go down 1-0 in a tight game.

Monique Iannella is another freshman who has slotted into a back four with consummate ease, and the former Adelaide United defender added another assist to her season stats this week in Texas’ 7-0 demolition of Sam Houston State. Benefitting from the “hockey assist” as it is colloquially known, Monique provided the pass which led directly to a cross for Texas’ third goal. Texas would go down 1-0 to California in the team’s second game of the week, but to concede just a single goal to this California team is still a remarkable effort after they demolished Demi Koulizakis and Texas Tech 4-0 just two days earlier.

Jess Coates and Kristy Helmers were amongst the goals yet again for Nicholls State as they continued their in-state slate of games. Although the Colonels went down 1-0 to Louisiana-Monroe, Jess was able to tally 3 shots, only to be denied by ULM goalkeeper Brooke Scroggins on two occasions. Grambling State, on the other hand, were never expected to be a real challenge, but much like the Spanish Inquisition, nobody expects a 10-0 win. However, that’s exactly what Nicholls State pulled off. Kristy Helmers banged home two goals, whilst Jess added one of her own in the Colonels’ second massive win in just a couple of weeks.

Player Of The Year Points:

3: Kristy Helmers (Nicholls State)
2: Teagan Micah (UCLA)
1: Caitlin Cantrill (LSU)

Complete Results:

Colorado (Isobel Dalton, Kahlia Hogg)

This week: lost 2-1 to Michigan State (OT); defeated Drexel 5-0

Kahlia Hogg started both games, playing 89 minutes against Michigan State and 78 minutes against Drexel. Isobel Dalton came off the bench to play 26 minutes against Drexel.

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Jade Horcicka, Harriet Withers)

This week: lost 4-0 to Vanderbilt; drew 1-1 with Arkansas State

Nyomi Devine started both games, playing 86 minutes against Vanderbilt and the full 110 minutes against Arkansas State, tallying a shot on target against Arkansas State. Harriet Withers started and played 86 minutes in both games. Harriet tallied 3 shots against Vanderbilt, before registering 8 shots against Arkansas State and scoring the opening goal of the game.

Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)

This week: lost 5-1 to Colgate; lost 3-2 to Hartford

Sam Roff started both games, playing a full game on both occasions.

Albany (Claire Urquhart)

This week: defeated Rhode Island 2-1 (OT); lost 2-1 to Marist

Claire Urquhart did not feature this week for Albany.

East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson)

This week: lost 4-3 to Davidson; lost 3-0 to Marshall

Isabel Hodgson played all 180 minutes this week, registering a shot on target in each game.

Stanford (Beattie Goad)

This week: defeated Wisconsin 2-1; defeated Marquette 3-0

Beattie Goad came off the bench in both games, playing 17 minutes against Wisconsin and 25 minutes against Marquette.

Iona (Kiri Dale)

This week: lost 2-1 to NJIT; drew 1-1 with Yale

Kiri Dale started both games this week, tallying her first career assist against NJIT.

Indiana (Julia De Angelis)

This week: lost 3-0 to LSU; v Southern Methodist – 3am, Tuesday 6th September

Julia De Angelis did not feature for Indiana this week due to injury.

LSU (Caitlin Cantrill)

This week: defeated Indiana 3-0; defeated Butler 2-1

Caitlin Cantrill came off the bench in both games this week, scoring her first career goal in the win over Indiana.

Nicholls State (Jess Coates, Kristy Helmers)

This week: lost 1-0 to Louisiana-Monroe; defeated Grambling State 10-0

Jess Coates and Kristy Helmers each started both games, with Kristy scoring two goals against Grambling State and Jess tallying one of her own.

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

This week: lost 1-0 to Connecticut; lost 5-1 to Boston College

Ellie Papalexiou started both games, tallying a single shot against Connecticut.

USC (Lulu Pullar)

This week: defeated Georgia 3-0; defeated Auburn 2-0

Lulu Pullar did not feature for USC this week.

Texas (Monique Iannella)

This week: defeated Sam Houston State 7-0; lost 1-0 to California

Monique Iannella started both games this week, playing 69 minutes and tallying an assist against Sam Houston State before playing a full 90 minutes against California, also tallying two shots with one on target.

Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)

This week: lost 1-0 to Northern Colorado; lost 5-0 to Colorado

Emma Heckenberg came off the bench in both games, playing 30 minutes against Northern Colorado and an impressive 78 minutes against Colorado.

Western Carolina (Kate Swartwout)

This week: defeated Kennesaw State 3-2; lost to Elon 1-0

Kate Swartwout started both games, tallying her first career assist against Kennesaw State.

Winthrop (Jai Jackson)

This week: lost 3-2 to Georgia Southern

Jai Jackson did not feature for Winthrop this week.

San Francisco (Price Keogh)

This week: lost 4-1 to Missouri; lost 2-1 to Vanderbilt

Price Keogh came off the bench in both games this week, playing 7 minutes against Missouri and 12 minutes against Vanderbilt.

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert)

This week: drew 1-1 with DePaul; defeated UNC Greensboro 5-2

Emily Hulbert came off the bench to play 10 minutes against DePaul and register a shot, but did not feature against UNC Greensboro.

Troy (Alexandra Huynh)

This week: lost 2-1 to Tennessee-Martin; lost 1-0 to Mississippi

Alex Huynh played 73 minutes against Tennessee-Martin, registering a shot, and played the full 90 minutes against Mississippi.

Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis)

This week: lost 4-0 to California; defeated Abilene Christian 3-1

Demi Koulizakis came off the bench in both games, playing 5 minutes against California and 41 minutes against Abilene Christian. Demi also tallied a shot against Abilene Christian.

Wyoming (Alisha Bass, Annika Clayton, Jessie Gentle, Georgia Rowntree, Candace Sciberras)

This week: lost 2-0 to UTEP; defeated New Mexico State 4-1

Georgia Rowntree played the full 90 minutes against UTEP, making 4 saves, and 83 minutes against New Mexico State, making 1 save. Alisha Bass started both games and registered a shot against UTEP. Jessie Gentle started up front in both games, tallying a shot against New Mexico State, but Annika Clayton and Candace Sciberras sat out this week.

UCLA (Teagan Micah)

This week: defeated Penn State 1-0 (OT)

Teagan Micah played the entire 98 minutes, making six saves in the win.

Massachusetts (Laura Johns)

This week: defeated Maine 1-0

Laura Johns came off the bench to play 21 minutes in the win.

Texas Southern (Paige Hayward)

This week: lost 7-0 to TCU

Paige Hayward played the full 90 minutes, tallying a single shot.

Southeast Missouri State (Maddy Cornell, Siena Senatore)

This week: drew 0-0 with Evansville

Maddy Cornell came off the bench to play 50 minutes, tallying three shots with two on target.

Week 2 Wrap

There were plenty of goals and assists for the Australians this week, with no less than five Aussies tallying assists and three more scoring goals. The Nicholls State pair of Jess Coates and Kristy Helmers may have stolen the show but Troy defender Alex Huynh popped up with some surprising offensive impact to complement excellent defensive performances.

Jess Coates and Kristy Helmers were the undoubted stars of the week amongst the Australians. The attacking pair were instrumental for Nicholls State as the Colonels finished the weekend with two wins from their first two games. Coming up against Louisiana-Lafayette, the Nicholls State side fairly shredded the form book and threw it on the fire in a 3-1 victory in which Kristy Helmers tallied an assist on her debut. That, however, was just an appetiser for what the Aussie pair would bring in an 8-0 over Southern University. Jess Coates would finish with a hat-trick and an assist, whilst freshman Helmers tallied two goals of her own as well as two assists, only being denied Southland Conference Offensive Player Of The Week by, you guessed it, Jess Coates!

Alex Huynh has become a staple of the Troy backline, and there was no change this week as the senior played all bar 17 minutes of the week, only being subbed out late in the team’s third game of the week after picking up a yellow card. Helping the team to clean sheet victories against Belmont and Jacksonville State, Alex also helped the side at the attacking end, picking up two assists across the weekend with a pair of sublime free kicks that set teammates up perfectly as the Trojans finished with three victories, finishing the week with a 4-1 win over Alabama State.

Teagan Micah appears to have supplanted Siri Ervik as UCLA’s starter, with UCLA coach Amanda Cromwell impressed by the confidence that the young Queenslander gives the team’s back four. Tallying eleven saves across the weekend, Teagan kept a clean sheet in the Bruins’ 1-0 victory over Texas A&M, but couldn’t quite save the team in a 4-3 overtime loss to Florida in the side’s second game of the weekend. It must be said, however, that Teagan was left with little chance on any of Florida’s goals, with the match-winning golden goal coming from a deflection with Teagan in otherwise good position.

Paige Hayward kept up her goalscoring form, and her Texas Southern team needed her to after the team laboured to victory over NAIA team University of St. Thomas. In the side’s only game of the week, it was Paige’s penalty that proved to be the game-winner as the former UNSW striker tallied her fourth goal of the season.

Whilst Georgia Rowntree and Alisha Bass have been the standout Aussies at Wyoming so far, Annika Clayton is quietly going about her work and reaping the rewards. Although the Cowgirls went winless this past week, Annika helped ensure that they would at least secure a draw against Montana, feeding a pinpoint pass through to Michaela Stark for the opener, although Montana would hit back four minutes from time with a header that left Georgia Rowntree with no chance. Clayton unfortunately did not play against Iowa, although having sat in other games with a slight knock this may have been precautionary.

Texas freshman Monique Iannella has slotted straight into the Longhorns’ side, and this week made her first impact on the box score as her side finished the week with a pair of 3-1 wins against College of Charleston and Detroit. Playing 80 or so minutes in both games, Monique tallied an assist on Texas’ 2nd goal against College of Charleston that proved to be the game winner.

Player Of The Year Points:

3: Jess Coates (Nicholls State)
2: Kristy Helmers (Nicholls State)
1: Alexandra Huynh (Troy)

Complete Results:

Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)

This week: lost 3-2 to La Salle; defeated Monmouth 1-0

Emma Heckenberg came off the bench to play 52 minutes against La Salle, and started against Monmouth, playing 70 minutes and registering a single shot.

Massachusetts (Laura Johns)

This week: lost 4-0 to UCF; lost 3-0 to South Florida

Laura Johns came off the bench in both games, registering a shot on goal in 22 minutes against UCF and playing 17 minutes against South Florida.

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert)

This week: defeated Boston University 2-0; defeated Columbia 1-0

Emily Hulbert started against Boston University and tallied a shot in her 80 minutes of play, but did not feature against Columbia.

Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)

This week: lost 5-0 to Rider

Sam Roff started against Rider and played 54 minutes.

Southeast Missouri State (Maddy Cornell, Siena Senatore)

This week: defeated Green Bay 1-0 (OT), defeated Milwaukee 1-0

Maddy Cornell started against Green Bay and played 26 minutes, but did not feature against Milwaukee. Siena Senatore played 9 minutes against Green Bay and 10 minutes against Milwaukee, coming off the bench on both occasions.

LSU (Caitlin Cantrill)

This week: lost 3-1 to George Washington; lost 2-1 to Colgate

Caitlin Cantrill started both games, playing 85 minutes against George Washington and 50 minutes against Colgate, registering a shot on target in each game.

Iona (Kiri Dale)

This week: lost 4-0 to Columbia – 6am; lost 3-0 to Dartmouth

Kiri Dale started in both games and registered a shot in each, playing 76 minutes against Columbia. Minutes for the Dartmouth game were not available.

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Jade Horcicka, Harriet Withers)

This week: defeated Chattanooga 2-0

Nyomi Devine played a full 90 minutes in this week’s game. Harriet Withers played 82 minutes, registering two shots with one on target. Jade Horcicka did not feature in this game.

Albany (Claire Urquhart)

This week: lost 1-0 to Siena; lost 2-0 Syracuse

Claire Urquhart did not feature for Albany this week.

Nicholls State (Jess Coates, Kristy Helmers)

This week: defeated Louisiana-Lafayette 3-1; defeated Southern University 8-0

Jess Coates started in both games. Coates played 71 minutes against Louisiana-Lafayette, registering four shots, and played 53 minutes against Southern, scoring a hat-trick and tallying an assist. Kristy Helmers also started both games. Helmers played 61 minutes against Louisiana-Lafayette, registering 3 shots, and played 54 minutes against Southern, scoring two goals and tallying two assists.

Wyoming (Alisha Bass, Annika Clayton, Jessie Gentle, Georgia Rowntree, Candace Sciberras)

This week: drew 1-1 with Montana; lost 3-2 to Iowa

Georgia Rowntree played a complete game in goal in both games this week, making one save against Montana and five saves against Iowa. Alisha Bass started in defence and played a complete game on both occasions, registering three shots against Montana, two of which were on target. Annika Clayton started against Montana and played 58 minutes, registering two shots and an assist, but did not play against Iowa. Jessie Gentle came off the bench in both games, playing 54 minutes against Montana and 49 minutes against Iowa, registering a single shot against Montana and two on target against Iowa.

Western Carolina (Kate Swartwout)

This week: lost 3-1 to UNC Asheville; lost 4-0 to East Carolina

Kate Swartwout did not play against UNC Asheville, but came off the bench against East Carolina to play 31 minutes.

Indiana (Julia De Angelis)

This week: defeated Butler 1-0; defeated Northern Colorado 3-0

Julia De Angelis did not feature this week due to injury.

Winthrop (Jai Jackson)

This week: lost 2-1 to Coastal Carolina; defeated South Carolina State 2-0

Jai Jackson came off the bench to play 28 minutes against Coastal Carolina and played 22 minutes off the bench against South Carolina State.

Troy (Alexandra Huynh)

This week: defeated Belmont 2-0; defeated Jacksonville State 1-0; defeated Alabama State 4-1

Alexandra Huynh played a full 90 minutes against Belmont and Jacksonville State, and 73 minutes against Alabama State. The defender also tallied assists against Belmont and Alabama State.

Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis)

This week: drew 2-2 with Arizona; defeated Northeastern 2-0

Demi Koulizakis came off the bench in both games, playing a season-high 49 minutes against Northeastern.

Colorado (Isobel Dalton, Kahlia Hogg)

This week: lost 1-0 to Kansas; lost 2-1 to Missouri (OT)

Kahlia Hogg started at centre back and played every minute of the weekend, but Isobel Dalton did not feature this week.

UCLA (Teagan Micah)

This week: defeated Texas A&M 1-0; lost 4-3 to Florida (OT)

Teagan Micah played two complete games this week, tallying 5 saves against Texas A&M and 6 saves against Florida.

USC (Lulu Pullar)

This week: lost 1-0 to Long Beach State; defeated Pepperdine 3-0

Lulu Pullar did not feature for USC this week.

San Francisco (Price Keogh)

This week: lost 2-1 to Cal Poly (OT); lost 2-0 to UC Santa Barbara

Price Keogh did not feature for San Francisco this week.

Stanford (Beattie Goad)

This week: defeated Florida 1-0

Beattie Goad came off the bench to play 11 minutes.

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

This week: lost 5-2 to New Mexico

Ellie Papalexiou started for Pacific against New Mexico, tallying a single shot.

East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson)

This week: lost 3-2 to Tennessee

Isabel Hodgson started and played a full 90 minutes for East Tennessee State.

Texas Southern (Paige Hayward)

This week: defeated St. Thomas 1-0

Paige Hayward played 85 minutes in Texas Southern’s only game of the week, scoring the only goal.

Texas (Monique Iannella)

This week: defeated College of Charleston 3-1; defeated Detroit 3-1

Monique Iannella started both games this week, playing 83 minutes and tallying an assist against College of Charleston before seeing 74 minutes of action against Detroit.

2016 Player Previews

2016 will see a massive 33 Australians suiting up in NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer, an increase of 6 on last year and nearly double the number of players we saw in 2014. Ten of these players are freshmen, whilst one newcomer, Isobel Dalton, is an NAIA transfer from Lindsey Wilson College. With no less than 13 players, including 4 freshmen, possessing W-League experience and several others featuring for youth national teams, there is definitely plenty of Aussie talent in the college ranks this season.

Claire Urquhart (Sophomore, Defender, Albany, Brisbane)

Claire was used sparingly at Albany in 2015, but returns in 2016 ready to have more of an impact in defence. The Albany defence is exceedingly young this season, with four sophomores and one freshman comprising the five natural defenders in the squad, so opportunities may just open up for the sophomore from Brisbane. Claire played 5 games last season, starting in 2 of these contests, as Albany won the America East title before going down to eventual national champions Penn State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

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

Isobel adds to the Australian contingent at Colorado following a season playing NAIA soccer in Kentucky with Lindsey Wilson College, helping the Blue Raiders to a national championship final berth. A former Brisbane Roar W-League player, Isobel has also played in England’s Women’s Super League for Bristol Academy before making the move to the US. Isobel played in 23 games for Lindsey Wilson, scoring 7 goals and also contributing a pair of assists for the Blue Raiders.

Kahlia Hogg (Senior, Defender/Midfielder, Colorado, Canberra)

Kahlia had an excellent first season for Colorado in 2014 after transferring from Florida State, and looked set to continue in the same vein in her senior season. Unfortunately, after starting in six games and playing an average of 85 minutes, Kahlia suffered an injury and was forced to sit out the remainder of the season. Fortunately, Kahlia has been awarded an additional season and will compete again as a senior in 2016, looking to make amends for 2015. One of the fittest players in the team, Kahlia averaged over 85 minutes of playing time per game in 2015, playing a full 90 minutes in four of her six games as Colorado conceded less than 0.7 goals per game with Kahlia on the pitch.

Emma Heckenberg (Sophomore, Midfielder, Drexel, Melbourne)

Emma made a reasonable if not spectacular start to her college career last season, featuring in 8 matches. The Victorian forward also started two of these games, both of which were conference games. The Drexel forward line is young, but features Vanessa Kara, who scored 11 goals last season, which represented almost half of the team’s offensive output. With Kara a lock to start again this season, Emma and the remaining forwards will be fighting for the other spot up front. Emma was a star in the classroom last season though, picking up the CAA Commissioner’s Academic Award.

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

Isabel enjoyed a fantastic first season at East Tennessee State, quickly establishing herself as the team’s starting right back. A product of Adelaide United’s W-League team, Isabel played in all 19 games for the Buccaneers in 2015 as the team finished with a respectable 9-9-1 record. With star midfielder and Austrian national team player Sarah Zadrazil having graduated following the 2015 season, the returning starters will all have to step up if the Buccaneers are to be competitive again in 2016 and Isabel is no different.

Sam Roff (Freshman, Midfielder, Fairleigh Dickinson, Canberra)

One of four players from the same ACT Academy of Sport class to make the move to Division I this year, Sam links up with a fellow Australian at Fairleigh Dickinson, with assistant coach Julia Bazi hailing from Sydney. Primarily a midfielder but also with the ability to play in defence, Sam has been a member of the ACT Academy of Sport for three seasons and also trained with W-League club Canberra United before making the move to Fairleigh Dickinson. The Knights went 16-6 last season, winning the Northeast Conference title and only narrowly losing to Rutgers in the first round of the national tournament, going down 1-0. However, they have lost a massive ten seniors to graduation and star Canadian forward Rachel Hoekstra is transferring to Georgia Southern, taking with her 16 of the side’s 50 goals from last season, so expect this to be a rebuilding season for the team.

Emily Hulbert (Junior, Defender/Midfielder, Hofstra, Melbourne)

An instrumental part of Hofstra’s side for two seasons, Emily will again be part of a solid Hofstra side that will look to limit the damage of the graduation of English international and NWSL player Leah Galton, who was the star of the Pride team last season. Emily’s chances last season were slightly down from 2014, starting just 4 matches in comparison to the 14 she started two seasons ago. Nonetheless, the fullback was able to contribute enough to earn the 2015 College Matildas Defender of the Year award. With another season under her belt, she may just have enough in her locker to win the same award again.

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

An integral part of Canberra United’s W-League squad since 2014, Julia will no doubt be one of the top Australian freshmen in college this season as she joins an Indiana side desperate to improve on last seasons 3-10-6 record. Julia has represented Australia at several youth team levels and was also named Canberra United’s Rising Star in both 2014 and 2015. With a pair of midfield spots opening up in 2016 following the graduation of two players, Julia will certainly have the chance to earn a starting spot from the outset.

Kiri Dale (Sophomore, Defender, Iona, Mullumbimby)

One of no less than five Palm Beach products playing in Division I this season, Kiri unfortunately did not see any playing time in her freshman year, but that will surely just make her hungrier to make an impact in her sophomore year. Iona are yet to reveal their freshman class for 2016, but with only four natural defenders returning from last season, this may just be Kiri’s chance to shine and establish herself going forward for Iona. With the Gaels only winning 3 games last year and giving up 49 goals in 19 games, that defence is going to have to stand up this season if the team is to compete.

Caitlin Cantrill (Freshman, Midfielder, LSU, Canberra)

One of the first Australians to commit to a college amongst this year’s freshmen, Caitlin joins an LSU side looking to progress from last season’s SEC semi-final berth and a first round loss to South Alabama in the NCAA Tournament. They do have a slight issue though, that being the loss of nine players to graduation after the 2015 season. Whilst this may be a transition season of sorts for LSU, it also offers Caitlin the chance to see plenty of playing time from the outset. A former member of the Australian Under 17 national team, Caitlin is yet another of the ACT Academy of Sport graduates in this year’s freshman class.

Laura Johns (Senior, Forward, Massachusetts, Adelaide)

The 2015 College Matildas Breakout Player of the Year, Laura tallied the first goal of her college career last season and also notched four assists, a marked improvement on the total of one she managed in the previous two years. More notably, Laura transitioned from what had mainly been a rotational role off the bench to a starter for the majority of the 2015 season. One of four Australian seniors this year, Laura’s continued rise at Massachusetts may just make her the dark horse for the College Matildas Senior of the Year award this season.

Nyomi Devine (Junior, Defender, Murray State, Gold Coast)

A starter from the outset at Murray State, Nyomi was instrumental in keeping things tight at the back during last season’s perfect conference slate as Murray State won the Ohio Valley conference title. Whilst fellow Palm Beach product Harriet Withers may have received the accolades in 2015, there is no doubting that Nyomi was one of the key parts of the Racers’ defence which conceded just 22 goals in 21 games in 2015. Nyomi was also named to the Ohio Valley Conference All-Tournament team to go along with her championship ring.

Jade Horcicka (Freshman, Midfielder, Murray State, Gold Coast)

The newest member of the Palm Beach contingent at Murray State, Jade has not featured for the senior Palm Beach team nearly as much as both Nyomi Devine and Harriet Withers did before they moved on to college, but that doesn’t mean Jade doesn’t come with a solid pedigree. After a single appearance in the Palm Beach first team in 2015, Jade was a regular with the team in 2016 before leaving for college, and was also a mainstay of the Under 20s team last season. Jade has also played for the Queensland Schoolgirls side in 2014 and 2015. The Murray State midfield is burgeoning with players, but many are young and others are employed in other roles, so there may just be some playing time available for Jade early on. The early non-conference games will be telltale, though.

Harriet Withers (Junior, Forward, Murray State, Gold Coast)

Harriet enjoyed a solid first season for Murray State in 2014, scoring six goals and contributing 2 assists in 20 games. That was simply a precursor for an exceptional 2015 season which saw the striker win College Matildas Player Of The Year honours. Harriet banged home 11 goals and also tallied 7 assists as the Racers enjoyed a perfect Ohio Valley conference season before going down in a 1-0 loss to Ole Miss in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Harriet will need to have another season of similar ilk if Murray State are going to have a chance of repeating, as they lose 11 goals and 11 assists from last season through the graduation of Taylor Stevens and Marissa Burroughs.

Jess Coates (Senior, Midfielder, Nicholls State, Sydney)

A broken wrist put paid to what should have been a glorious senior season for Jess, but after a long wait has been awarded an additional season and will get the chance to play out a proper senior campaign. Jess’ attacking partner, Spencer Valdespino, has now graduated but that may open up a chance for Jess to combine with a fellow Australian, freshman Kristy Helmers, in her senior season. With seven assists in her junior year in 2014, expect Jess to once again be feeding the strikers perfectly – the only question from there is whether they can step up to fill the void left by Valdespino.

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

Kristy Helmers will be one of the Nicholls State forwards tasked with making up Spencer Valdespino’s 14 goal tally from last season. With only four recognised forwards in the Nicholls State squad this season, Kristy will no doubt be thrust into the action from the outset. One of four recent ACTAS graduates to be starting college this season, Kristy scored 12 goals in 14 appearances in last season’s Capital Football WPL, following up with 7 goals in 7 appearances this season.

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

A dreaded ACL injury put paid to Ellie’s season in 2015, but the fullback returns this season as a redshirt sophomore looking to showcase the kind of form that saw her enjoy a successful 2014 season with Pacific. With a new coach on board in Stockton, Ellie will be forced to prove herself once again, but was able to do this as a freshman and there’s no reason she won’t be able to do so again. Able to play either at left back or on the wing, this versatility should stand Ellie in good stead as she looks to earn back her starting position.

Price Keogh (Sophomore, Defender, San Francisco, Charlotte)

Price represents a slight change of pace amongst the 34 Australians in NCAA Division I this season in that she is actually from Charlotte, North Carolina. The 5’4 defender played in just the one game in her first season in San Francisco, but with two of the team’s starting defenders finishing their careers in 2015, opportunities will surely open up for Price. San Francisco had a reasonably solid year in 2015, finishing 13-4-3 and finishing in 2nd place in the West Coast Conference. Unfortunately, the WCC does not play a postseason tournament, denying the Dons an opportunity to secure a bid to the national tournament, with the team well out of the at-large picture.

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

Three becomes two with regards to the number of Australians at Southeast Missouri State following midfielder Jenna Collingridge’s graduation. Maddy Cornell is the more senior of the two, with the versatile fullback moving into her junior season in 2016. Maddy featured in 18 games in 2015, starting six of these, which is double the number of both appearances and starts that she saw in 2014. Maddy’s goal now will be to convert those 12 appearances off the bench into starts this year as Southeast Missouri State attempt to make a return trip to the Ohio Valley Conference championship game, with the aim this year to go one better than last year’s overtime loss to Murray State.

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

An Under 17 Australian representative before making the move to college, Siena took a few games to find her groove last season, but eventually became a vital part of the defence before suffering an injury late on in the season. After starting the first three games of the season, Siena came off the bench for a few weeks before being returned to the starting lineup as the Redhawks kept 4 clean sheets in a row in the space of 9 days. Siena sat for a couple of weeks with injury, but returns in 2016 ready to slot straight back into the starting lineup in the centre of defence.

Beattie Goad (Freshman, Midfielder, Stanford, Melbourne)

The undoubted star of the 2016 freshman class, Beattie already has a W-League title under her belt, having been an instrumental part of a Melbourne City side that finished undefeated in 2015/16. One of the best young Australian players, Beattie combined those football skills with outstanding academic achievement to open up the chance to play for Stanford, one of the most successful programs in NCAA women’s soccer. A pacy winger with excellent technical abilities, Beattie will face stiff competition for playing time from the likes of United States youth national team representatives Jordan DiBiasi and Andi Sullivan. However, Beattie has spent the year learning from some of the best players in the world, including Lisa De Vanna, and will push all the way for a spot in the lineup.

Alexandra Huynh (Senior, Defender, Troy, Sydney)

After three outstanding seasons at Colorado, Alexandra has this season made the move south to Troy for her senior year. A three year starter at Boulder, the centre back was almost ever-present for the Buffaloes save for an injury midway through her sophomore year. As a member of a Colorado defence that set school clean sheet records in 2015, Alexandra will no doubt be a vital part of the back line in her new team. Troy kept 10 clean sheets in winning 14 of 20 games last season, and with Alexandra now set to replace graduating stalwart Payton Donley in defence, Troy will be well placed to use defence as the foundation of a successful season in 2016.

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

The lone Australian player in the SWAC this season following the graduation of Alabama State’s Shelbi Vienna-Hallam, Paige transferred to Texas Southern in 2015 after a season of NAIA play, and immediately slotted into the team. Hayward played a full 90 minutes on six occasions last season, starting on all 17 occasions that she played. Hayward contributed 2 goals and 5 assists in 2015 as Texas Southern compiled an 8-11 record, going down to Alabama State in the first round of the SWAC Tournament. With no seniors amongst the forwards in 2015, Paige and her fellow strikers will have the opportunity to improve on last year’s output. They may have to if the team is to stay competitive, with last season’s starting goalkeeper and two defenders graduating after the 2015 season.

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

The scorer of the W-League’s 900th goal, Demi saw regular playing time for Western Sydney Wanderers last season but has now made the move to the Lone Star state to become Australia’s sole representative in the powerful Big 12 conference this season. Able to play in the midfield or up front, Demi is likely to be used in a more attacking role at Texas Tech. Demi will be part of the group tasked with replacing graduating Canadian national team player Janine Beckie, who is now playing with the NWSL’s Houston Dash.

Teagan Micah (Freshman, Goalkeeper, UCLA, Brisbane)

Teagan made the move from Brisbane to Western Sydney this past W-League season, but that was nothing in comparison to the jump the goalkeeper has made in 2016. UCLA have been one of the most successful programs of the last decade, winning a national title and producing players such as Lauren Holiday, Sydney Leroux, Samantha Mewis, Megan Oyster, Caprice Dydasco, Abby Dahlkemper, Sarah Killion, McCall Zerboni, Zakiya Bywaters, Lauren Barnes, and Katelyn Rowland. Teagan will have to fight for every minute of playing time, but with last season’s backup Arielle Schechtman making the move to Georgetown, it will now be a fight between 3 rather than 4 players for the starting spot.

Lulu Pullar (Freshman, Defender, USC, Brisbane)

Lulu had been on USC’s radar for over a year, and made the move to Los Angeles in January to get a headstart on her college career. Set to be used in either the back line or anchoring the midfield, Lulu has represented Australian Schoolgirls and has trained with Brisbane Roar’s W-League squad before moving to college. Having already seen plenty of playing time in USC’s spring friendlies, Lulu is well-placed to hit the ground running when competitive play starts in late August.

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

Originally from the Gold Coast but having learned her trade in Lake Norman, North Carolina, Kate’s new college isn’t actually all that far from home for the freshman. In a young side, but one that only lost a single defender to graduation after 2015, Kate’s ability to also play in midfield looks as if it may stand her in good stead as she vies for playing time in her freshman year. Not without goalscoring ability either, Kate once banged home a hat-trick in a single half playing up front for her club team in Lake Norman.

Jai Jackson (Sophomore, Midfielder, Winthrop, Toowoomba)

A rotational player early on in 2015, Jai finished her freshman season with a flourish, playing full games in each of Winthrop’s last six games as the Eagles finished with a 6-9-3 record, falling to Liberty in the first round of the Big South tournament. Primarily employed deeper in midfield, Jai has also shown a knack for getting forward when required, with her footballing IQ clearly amongst the best in the Winthrop squad. There is little doubt that Jai will reprise her role as an integral part of the Winthrop midfield going forward, with the Queenslander well placed to be a vital cog for her remaining three seasons.

Alisha Bass (Junior, Defender/Midfielder, Wyoming, Sydney)

Is she a midfielder? Is she a defender? Well, ask most people in the Sydney women’s soccer community and they’ll tell you Alisha is an attacking midfielder every day of the week and twice on Sunday. But ask people in Wyoming and they’ll tell you she’s a vital part of the Cowgirls’ defence that helped the team compile a 10-6-4 record before falling in the first round of the Mountain West tournament to Colorado College. Alisha also tallied a pair of goals last season and notched an assist, proving that she still has the attacking instincts that saw her represent Australia at youth level. With no seniors in the 2015 squad, Wyoming have a real chance to build on last year’s successes and become a real force in the Mountain West this season.

Annika Clayton (Sophomore, Midfielder, Wyoming, Sydney)

A starter in 14 games in 2015, Annika featured in all 20 of Wyoming’s contests last season, notching two goals and an assist from midfield in her freshman campaign. Whilst her tangible stats are not out of this world, Annika certainly did enough to average over an hour of playing time per game by the end of last season, with the Wyoming coaching staff clearly impressed by the Sydneysider. With Wyoming’s squad barely changing from last season, Annika should see at least as much time on the field in 2016 as the Cowgirls attempt to build on last season’s 10 wins.

Jessie Gentle (Sophomore, Forward, Wyoming, Woolgoolga)

Like Annika Clayton, Jessie joined Wyoming last season and played in all 20 games, starting in 16. Lining up on the wing for the most part, Jessie averaged over 70 minutes per game, tallying a single assist on Laurel Ramer’s opener against Hawaii in a 2-2 draw early on in the season. Jessie will be looking to create a more tangible impact this season, but has clearly shown that she has the ability to be a major part of the Wyoming side in 2016.

Georgia Rowntree (Junior, Goalkeeper, Wyoming, Sydney)

A starter in 16 games in 2015, Georgia shared the goalkeeping responsibilities with local player Cassidy Entsminger last season and things appear set to stay the same in 2016. Conceding an average of just a single goal per game, Georgia notched a .786 save percentage in 2015, representing an improvement on 2014’s 1.20 goals conceded per game, but with an identical save percentage. However, the most notable of Georgia’s stats was her minutes played. After playing 9 games and earning 451 minutes of playing time in 2014, Georgia played 810 minutes in 2015 as she and Entsminger established themselves as an excellent pairing in goal. Running unopposed for Goalkeeper of the Year for the last two seasons, Georgia has competition for the first time, in the form of UCLA’s Teagan Micah.

Candace Sciberras (Junior, Midfielder, Wyoming, Sydney)

Candace came to Wyoming in 2013 alongside Alisha Bass, but has followed a slightly different course since that time. The winger suffered an ACL injury and was forced to sit out most of the 2015 season after a promising start to the season which saw Candace start the first five games of the campaign. With very little change to the Wyoming roster, expect to see Candace back in the rotation this season and hopefully earning back that starting spot that she had rightfully claimed before last season’s injury.

Kristy Helmers Signs With Nicholls State

Yet another Canberra-based player has made the switch to a Division I college, with Tuggeranong United striker Kristy Helmers continuing the Aussie presence at Nicholls State, signing with the Colonels. A shadow player for the Australian schoolgirls side, Helmers finished in the top five goalscorers in the Capital Football Women’s Premier League in 2015, scoring 12 goals in 14 games.

With Jess Coates being an integral part of the Nicholls State side for her entire college career, Colonels’ coach Dylan Harrison is already well aware of what an Australian can bring to the program, and will no doubt be excited for Helmers to make a similar impact throughout her four years.