2014 Season Awards

Goalkeeper Of The Year: Georgia Rowntree (Wyoming)

A fairly simple award to decide, this one. Georgia was the only Australian goalkeeper in NCAA Division I this year, but even if there was competition, she may still have secured the award. Despite being a freshman, Georgia was able to wrest playing time from Wyoming’s senior starting goalkeeper, playing in a total of 9 games and starting 7 of those.

Defender Of The Year: Emily Hulbert (Hofstra)

It was a close-run thing between Alexandra Huynh of Colorado and Emily Hulbert of Hofstra this season for Defender Of The Year, but with Alexandra injuring her foot midway through the season, Emily’s solid form for Hofstra saw her win the award. Aside from being a standout in the Hofstra defence, Emily also popped up at the attacking end of the field with a couple of goals this season to help Hofstra come within a fingernail of reaching the NCAA Tournament.

2nd: Alexandra Huynh (Colorado)

Midfielder Of The Year: Jess Coates (Nicholls State)

Jess was named captain of the Nicholls State side this season, and led from the front with five goals and six assists for the season, with many of these coming in vital moments for the Colonels. Her exploits helped the side win a match in the Southland Conference tournament for the first time as they defeated McNeese State to progress to the semi-finals. Jess just barely beat Wyoming starlet Alisha Bass for midfielder of the year, as both players had stellar seasons linking with their teams’ attackers.

2nd: Alisha Bass (Wyoming)
3rd: Candace Sciberras (Wyoming)

Forward Of The Year: Shelbi Vienna-Hallam (Alabama State)

After starting the season as a defender (where she was in good enough form to win Defender Of The Year if she’d stayed there), Shelbi was moved up front partway through the season, and it proved to be the masterstroke of the season as the Tasmanian junior linked magnificently with Aaliyah Lewis, ironically taking a spot that had been filled by fellow Australian Anastasia McCleary, who moved to Creighton this year. Shelbi finished the season with seven goals and eleven assists, including one game that saw her tally three assists inside 35 minutes against Arkansas-Pine Bluff in one of the performances of the season.

2nd: Harriet Withers (Murray State)
3rd: Lilly Rydon (UMBC)

Freshman Of The Year: Harriet Withers (Murray State)

Despite missing out on the forward of the year award, Harriet Withers still managed to secure the Freshman Of The Year award courtesy of six goals and two assists this season. Harriet got her career started brilliantly with two goals against Georgia State in just her second game, and after a lean spell through the rest of the non-conference schedule, came back with a bang, scoring four goals in conference play to help lead the side into the Ohio Valley Conference tournament, where the Racers were unfortunately defeated by Morehead State in the first round.

2nd: Alisha Bass (Wyoming)
3rd: Candace Sciberras (Wyoming)

Sophomore Of The Year: Alexandra Huynh (Colorado)

With only two sophomores in college soccer this season, it was a 50/50 decision from the outset. Unfortunately, though, Bridget Sankey didn’t feature this season for Southeast Missouri State, leaving Alexandra to be the only sophomore to see playing time this year. Alex did have a solid season though, which was unfortunately punctuated by a foot injury. She returned in time for the last game of the regular season for Colorado, and saw significant playing time in the national tournament, in which the Buffaloes made the second round.

Junior Of The Year: Shelbi Vienna-Hallam (Alabama State)

Shelbi Vienna-Hallam’s exploits have already been outlined as she won Forward Of The Year, but with five juniors playing this season, all of them amongst top players, it took a great season just to finish ahead of Midfielder Of The Year Jess Coates. With Kahlia Hogg also being a junior this year, this was definitely a stacked set of players, and Shelbi shone through with some stellar performances.

2nd: Jess Coates (Nicholls State)
3rd: Kahlia Hogg (Colorado)

Senior Of The Year: Lilly Rydon (UMBC)

The senior class was expected to be a small but high level set of players, with Lilly Rydon, Nicole Calder, and Simone Arthur all being vital parts of their teams this season. Unfortunately, Nicole Calder and Simone Arthur were both ruled out for the season for differing reasons, leaving Lilly to be the final remaining senior. Lilly managed six goals for the season, including one game winner, in what was a disappointing season for UMBC, who were expected to build on last season’s national tournament appearance, but were knocked out in the semi-finals of the America East tournament.

Breakout Player Of The Year: Kahlia Hogg (Colorado)

After two seasons at Florida State that saw Kahlia play limited minutes in a top-shelf squad, a transfer to Colorado to join fellow Aussie Alexandra Huynh saw Kahlia reinvigorate her college career. The Canberra junior scored 4 goals and added three assists as a move to a new school also meant a move to a more advanced position on the field which turned out to be as big a masterstroke as the transfer itself, as Kahlia proved to be a major part of a side which reached the second round of the national tournament – not as far as Kahlia had travelled with Florida State, but she played in more games this season than in her two seasons with the Seminoles combined.

Most Assists: Shelbi Vienna-Hallam (Alabama State) – 11 assists

2nd: Alisha Bass (Wyoming), Jess Coates (Nicholls State) – 6 assists

Top Goalscorer: Shelbi Vienna-Hallam (Alabama State) – 7 goals

2nd: Lilly Rydon (UMBC), Harriet Withers (Murray State) – 6 goals

Player Of The Year:

3rd: Harriet Withers (Murray State)
2nd: Jess Coates (Nicholls State)
1st: Shelbi Vienna-Hallam (Alabama State)

With a season like the one Shelbi Vienna-Hallam has produced, it was always going to be difficult for anyone else to top her for Player Of The Year. Various players went close, but in the end it was Shelbi’s brilliant performances throughout the conference season, with a goal or an assist in 9 of the side’s last 11 games, that saw her put together a season CV strong enough to see her named Player Of The Year.

Week 9 Wrap

UMBC (Lilly Rydon)

This week: lost to Vermont 2-1, tied with Stony Brook 1-1 (2OT)

An unexpectedly tough week for UMBC this week, as the conference favourites stuttered their way through two games to end with a loss and a draw. Vermont had managed just 2 wins so far this season, but that mattered little as they opened the scoring 23 minutes in, before adding a second 12 minutes after halftime. Aussie senior Lilly Rydon scored a late goal for UMBC, but it proved to be no more than a consolation as the Retrievers were unable to find a second goal which would have sent the game into overtime. Stony Brook also came into this week with just two wins under their belt, but also battled hard, with the sides going into the break tied 0-0. UMBC were able to break the deadlock nine minutes after the interval, but Stony Brook hit back quickly, tallying an equaliser just 4 minutes later. Lilly Rydon also started in this game, and tallied a shot but was not involved in UMBC’s goal.

Creighton (Anastasia McCleary)

This week: defeated Providence 2-1 (2OT), tied with Seton Hall 1-1 (2OT)

Two overtime games for Creighton this week, and whilst the Bluejays won the tougher game against Providence, they left a potential win on the field against Seton Hall in a 1-1 tie. The Providence game saw Creighton go 1-0 down in the 35th minute, but managed to win a penalty literally 30 seconds later, which was converted to make the game 1-1, which is how it stayed until the 106th minute, when Creighton managed to tally the winner to seal the upset. The Seton Hall game was notable mainly for a crazy five minute period early in the second half. After the sides failed to tally a goal throughout the first half, a 54th minute penalty saw Seton Hall take the lead. Just four minutes later, however, Creighton won a penalty of their own which was duly converted to tie things up. Despite the sides combining for THIRTY-TWO shots over the 110 minutes of play, these two penalties remained the only goals of the game. Anastasia McCleary played 14 minutes off the bench against Seton Hall, but the Creighton coach’s unwillingness to use substitutes saw Anastasia (along with most of the substitute players) miss out on playing time against Providence.

Wyoming (Alisha Bass, Georgia Rowntree, Candace Sciberras)

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

A mixed week for Wyoming, but with three wins from four games in conference play, it’s hardly time for panic to set in. The Utah State game saw Georgia Rowntree and Alisha Bass once again start for the Cowgirls, but Rowntree was forced off after half an hour after appearing to roll her ankle. Utah State scored 11 minutes later from a free kick, and then 3 minutes after the break added a second, a deficit from which Wyoming were unable to come back. Rowntree sat out the game against Boise State, but Alisha Bass and Candace Sciberras started, with both players creating numerous chances, tallying four and five shots respectively. Despite Wyoming’s dominance of play, it took 19 shots and 104 minutes before Kaitlyn Lomsnes knocked home a parry from the goalkeeper to give Wyoming the win.

Southern (Simone Arthur)

This week: defeated Alcorn State 3-0, tied with Mississippi Valley State 0-0 (2OT)

Southern remain undefeated after this week, but the record is no longer perfect as a plucky Mississippi Valley State side held out the more fancied Jaguars for 110 minutes for a 0-0 draw. The match against Alcorn State was a much easier affair, with a 3rd minute goal getting things off to a great start, before a second ten minutes before the break put Southern firmly in command. The Jaguars then rounded out the win with a goal shortly before full-time for a 3-0 victory. Unfortunately, Simone Arthur has been ruled out for the season, and with this being her senior year, this signals an end to her college career.

Colorado (Kahlia Hogg, Alexandra Huynh)

This week: defeated USC 1-0, lost to UCLA 1-0

When you’ve been pretty much written off in the weekend’s games, any result is better than no result, and Colorado managed to come away with a win and a loss in two fixtures in which they looked, on paper, to be fairly outmatched. With Alexandra Huynh out through injury, the Colorado defence was a little leakier than usual, allowing USC 19 shots, but the Trojans forced Colorado goalkeeper Kate Scheele into just four saves. This could possibly be chalked up to the pressure applied by Colorado – they had USC chasing the game from the fifth minute after Madison Krauser’s early goal, and that goal proved to be enough. Considering the result against USC, you could argue that Colorado did enough to win against top-ranked UCLA – they managed 7 shots and allowed UCLA only 9, and both teams had 3 shots on target. Allowing Sam Mewis to shoot, however, is never a smart idea, and it was one of her three, in the 64th minute, that saw the deadlock broken to give UCLA a 1-0 win. Kahlia Hogg started up front in both games for Colorado, playing around 75 minutes in each game.

Nicholls State (Jess Coates)

This week: defeated Lamar 2-0

A win in their sole game of the weekend saw Nicholls State move to 3-2 in conference play and get their season back on track after an inconsistent start to the league schedule. The Colonels were always going to be favoured in this game against Lamar, and the Cardinals didn’t help their slim chances when they conceded an own goal on the half-hour mark, which proved to be the only goal of the first half. 9 minutes after halftime, the international pairing of Norway’s Emily Werenskiold and our own Jess Coates combined, with Werenskiold teeing up Coates, who slotted the ball home for Nicholls State’s second, which proved to be two too many for Lamar. Jess started for Nicholls State, and her goal was one of five shots, of which two were on target.

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert)

This week: lost to James Madison 3-1, defeated Towson 1-0

Another loss for Hofstra in their Friday game this week threatened to derail the Pride’s season, but they got things back on track on Sunday, managing to grind out a 1-0 win over Towson. Hofstra took the lead early against James Madison, scoring just 6 minutes into the match, but the Dukes were unfazed by going down 1-0 early, and equalised on the half-hour mark. James Madison didn’t let up in the second half either, notching another pair to go home with the win. The Towson match was a different event entirely – Hofstra took 19 shots but it was all academic after Sam Scolarici’s 5th minute opener – Towson weren’t unable to get even one shot on target throughout the match, so despite Hofstra’s inability to turn their attacking dominance into goals, they were never in danger of losing their lead. Emily Hulbert started both games and played a majority of minutes in each, moving back to her regular position in defence after a stint in midfield in the last couple of weeks.

Southeast Missouri State (Jenna Collingridge, Maddy Cornell, Bridget Sankey)

This week: lost to Tennessee-Martin 2-1, defeated Murray State 2-1

A week of 2-1 games for the Redhawks this week, with the results going in opposite directions. Southeast Missouri State weren’t expected to pull out a win over Tennessee-Martin, but they looked all but certain of getting a draw after cancelling out Tennessee-Martin’s 76th minute opener with an 85th minute equaliser. Football can be a strange sport at times, however, and Tennessee-Martin were able to score with just two minutes remaining to clinch the victory. Jenna Collingridge proved to be top of the five-Aussie pile in the match against Murray State, as she notched an assist on Southeast Missouri State’s opening goal, delivering a corner that would be headed in by Kasey Crowden. Murray State managed an equaliser, but the Redhawks managed to grab the lead with 11 minutes to go and hang on. As well as Jenna Collingridge’s efforts in the second game, she also started against Tennessee-Martin, whilst Maddy Cornell came off the bench against Murray State.

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)

This week: lost to SIU Edwardsville 2-1 (2OT), lost to Southeast Missouri State 2-1

Two losses this week for Murray State saw them fall back to .500 in conference play, as a tight match against league leaders SIU Edwardsville ended in a heartbreaking overtime loss before going down in the Aussie v Aussie matchup against Southeast Missouri State. The first game of the weekend saw SIU Edwardsville go up just 6 minutes in, before Murray State nabbed an equaliser shortly before the hour mark. With Nyomi Devine returning to her starting spot, the defence was able to hold SIU Edwardsville out until just six minutes before the end of overtime, when the home side nabbed a winner. The game against Southeast Missouri State once again saw the Racers go down early, just 3 minutes in this time, and again clawing back to equalise, on this occasion ten minutes before halftime. Harriet Withers came off the bench to tally two shots, both on target, but couldn’t grab a winner and in the end it was Southeast Missouri State who did get a winner, 12 minutes before the end.

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

This week: lost to Portland 3-0, lost to Gonzaga 1-0

A trip north this week for Pacific ended in two losses in two admittedly stern tests for the Tigers. First up against Portland, the Tigers were on the back foot early as the home side scored after 17 minutes, but Pacific battled to keep the score 1-0 at halftime. Portland kicked ahead in the 59th minute with their second, and rounded out the win on 73 minutes with a third to put the game to bed. The Gonzaga game was a case of one side having so many chances that eventually one had to go in, and in this case it was Gonzaga who had 18 shots, and managed to nab the only goal of the game on the hour mark despite forcing the Pacific goalkeeper into 7 saves. Ellie Papalexiou came off the bench against Portland, but unfortunately didn’t get to play against Gonzaga.

Alabama State (Shelbi Vienna-Hallam)

This week: lost to Howard 3-2

Alabama State’s tough start to the season continued this week as the Hornets went down 3-2 in a tight contest. Alabama State took the lead after just five minutes through Aaliyah Lewis, with Australian Shelbi-Vienna Hallam providing the assist. Howard hit back with two goals in a six minute span either side of the 20 minute mark, before Lewis popped up again with the equaliser on 28 minutes in a crazy start to the game. Things then slowed right down, with no scoring from either side until, just 4 minutes before the end, a Howard player chipped a shot in to make the score 3-2, which it would remain until the final whistle.

Player Of The Year Points:

3: Jess Coates (Nicholls State)
2: Lilly Rydon (UMBC)
1: Shelbi Vienna-Hallam (Alabama State)

Week 6 Wrap

There were some tough results this week for the Aussies, but it wasn’t all bad news, as Emily Hulbert and Hofstra knocked off national powerhouse Duke, whilst Anastasia McCleary and Creighton won both games this weekend to stay perfect. With most teams playing two games this week, there was plenty of football, so let’s take a look.

Alabama State (Shelbi Vienna-Hallam)

This week’s results: lost to Georgia Southern 3-0, lost  to Jacksonville State 3-0

A tough week this week for Alabama State, as they came up against two much more fancied teams, and the results showed with a couple of 3-0 defeats. At a glance, you’d consider this a pretty terrible weekend, but when you think about the fact that Jacksonville State’s last two results against SWAC teams were 15-0 and 7-1 wins, things don’t actually look as bad for the future. Once again, Shelbi Vienna-Hallam was heavily involved for Alabama State, playing 70 minutes against Georgia Southern and the full 90 minutes against Jacksonville State, even managing to tally a shot against Georgia Southern.

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert)

This week’s results: defeated Duke 2-1, lost to Virginia 3-1

No, you’re not seeing things. Hofstra did indeed defeat Duke 2-1 on the back of an 87th minute penalty. Hofstra opened the scoring on the hour mark, before Duke equalised on 78 minutes. But it was the Pride who had the last laugh, causing a major upset. The Pride were brought back to Earth slightly by Virginia, going down 3-1 to the still perfect Cavaliers. Emily Hulbert saw playing time in both games, playing 13 minutes against Duke, before seeing 43 minutes against Virginia, a vast increase in minutes on the previous few games.

Nicholls State (Jess Coates)

This week’s result: defeated Alcorn State 4-0

Just the one game this week for Jess Coates and the Colonels, and they made the most of it, comprehensively defeating Alcorn State 4-0. Nicholls State got the scoring started just after the 20 minute mark, before notching another just before halftime. The second half saw two more goals, but the Colonels were forced to wait until the 80th minute for their 3rd before adding a fourth two minutes before the final whistle. As usual, Jess Coates started for Nicholls State, tallying two shots, but didn’t manage to get a goal or assist.

UMBC (Lilly Rydon)

This week’s results: defeated Mount St. Mary’s 6-0, lost to Towson 2-0

After performing an absolute demolition job on Mount St. Mary’s, UMBC fell back to Earth in their second match, losing 2-0 to Towson. The win over Mount St. Mary’s was not unexpected, even down to the scoreline. Aussie senior Lilly Rydon opened the scoring on the 10 minute mark, with the side adding another two goals before halftime. Three more goals followed in the second half, with Lilly rounding out the scoring for the Retrievers on 80 minutes. The match against Towson saw UMBC hit twice early, with Towson scoring in the 5th and 16th minutes to go up 2-0 early. The goals came early, but the run of play for most of the match meant that Towson had chances to score throughout the game, eventually tallying 18 shots to 8. Lilly Rydon started both games, with her two goal performance against Mount St. Mary’s being the top performance of the week.

Creighton (Anastasia McCleary)

This week’s results: defeated North Dakota 3-0, defeated South Dakota 3-1

Once again, the word “defeated” goes before the opponent’s name in both games for Creighton this week, as they notched up their sixth and seventh wins of the season to remain perfect this year, one of just seven teams to have won all their games so far. Against North Dakota, a penalty opened the scoring for Creighton on the half hour mark, before an own goal 6 minutes later saw the Bluejays head to the sheds 2-0 up. Just two minutes after halftime, Creighton sealed the game 3-0 courtesy of Aussie junior Anastasia McCleary, who slotted her second goal of the season. The game against South Dakota was more comfortable, despite the closer scoreline. With two goals in the first 20 minutes, Creighton were well in control from the outset. A third goal followed in the 75th minute, and an 82nd minute goal to South Dakota proved to be little more than a consolation. In addition to her goal, Anastasia McCleary played 41 minutes against North Dakota and another 27 against South Dakota.

Wyoming (Alisha Bass, Georgia Rowntree, Candace Sciberras)

This week’s results: defeated South Dakota 2-1, lost to Morehead State 2-1

A tale of two matches this week for Wyoming, as a barnstorming comeback against South Dakota was followed up by a disappointing loss to Morehead State. Wyoming conceded just 7 minutes in against South Dakota, but two goals in the space of 65 seconds shortly before the hour mark, including one by Alisha Bass, saw Wyoming pick up the win. The game against Morehead State went slightly less to plan, though, with Wyoming conceding a goal either side of halftime, and whilst they picked up one goal to start a comeback, that was as far as the Cowgirls could get, and it finished 2-1. Georgia Rowntree started both games this weekend, as did Alisha Bass, whilst Candace Sciberras came off the bench against Morehead State after sitting out against South Dakota.

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

This week’s result: lost to USC 3-0

Despite the 3-0 result, this was an incredibly plucky performance from an unfancied Pacific side. Despite conceding 14 shots in the first half, Pacific managed to go into the break tied at 0-0 with the #14 ranked Trojans. Less than 90 seconds after halftime, though, USC turned their dominance into a goal, and would go on to score two more to secure the 3-0 victory. Ellie Papalexiou once again came off the bench for Pacific, and tallied one shot, which was on target.

Colorado (Kahlia Hogg, Alexandra Huynh)

This week’s result: defeated Denver 2-1

Colorado only played one game this week, but they made it an absolute belter against in-state rivals Denver. After a scoreless first half, it was Australian junior Kahlia Hogg who delivered a brilliant corner that led to Tori Cooper putting Colorado ahead 1-0. Denver scored an equaliser with 10 minutes left, and the game looked destined to head into overtime until Colorado won a penalty in the 89th minute, which was calmly converted by Darcy Jerman to hand the Buffaloes the win. Kahlia Hogg had an on target shot to go with her assist in 77 minutes played, whilst Alexandra Huynh played the full 90 minutes.

Southeast Missouri State (Jenna Collingridge, Maddy Cornell, Bridget Sankey)

This week’s results: lost to Illinois State 3-0, lost to Evansville 1-0

A tough week this week for Southeast Missouri State, being soundly defeated by Illinois State before losing a tough match to Evansville. Three first half goals were all it took for Illinois State to wrap up the win, with the Redbirds outshooting Southeast Missouri State 16-4 in a comprehensive victory. The game against Evansville proved to be a far tighter matchup, with both teams tallying 8 shots, but an 80th minute strike saw Evansville take the victory. Jenna Collingridge started both games for Southeast Missouri State, whilst Maddy Cornell came off the bench against Illinois State, but did not play against Evansville.

Southern (Simone Arthur)

This week’s results: lost to McNeese State 1-0, lost to Stephen F. Austin 7-0

A weekend that started with a plucky 1-0 defeat to an in-state rival finished in a far less promising fashion, as Southern went down 7-0 to Stephen F. Austin in their second game of the week. Despite being outshot 19-2 by McNeese State, Southern were able to hold their opponents out for 69 minutes before McNeese State scored the only goal of the match. Surprisingly, Southern managed 3 shots against Stephen F. Austin and conceded one less shot than they did to McNeese State, but Stephen F. Austin were ruthless in their finishing, scoring 7 goals on 11 shots on target. Unfortunately, Simone Arthur did not play in either game this weekend.

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)

This week’s results: lost to Middle Tennessee State 1-0 (OT), defeated Saint Louis 1-0

A couple of tight games this week for Murray State, with a pair of 1-0 results going opposite ways for the Racers. Despite being outshot 17-11 by Middle Tennessee State, Murray State were able to force overtime, but unfortunately Middle Tennessee State were able to snag a winner shortly before halftime in overtime. The result was more favourable in the week’s second game, with a 79th minute goal seeing Murray State snag the win despite being outshot 12-9 by Saint Louis. Nyomi Devine unfortunately didn’t play this weekend, but Harriet Withers played just over 50 minutes in both games, notching two shots against Saint Louis.

Player Of The Year Points

3: Lilly Rydon (UMBC)
Anastasia McCleary (Creighton)
1: Alisha Bass (Wyoming)

Week 4 Wrap

Five different Aussies got on the scoresheet this week, with several also picking up assists in a sublime week on an individual level for the Aussies. There were also a bunch of wins to celebrate as well, with UMBC in particular having plenty to be happy about as they maintained their 100% winning record to start the season.

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)

This week’s results: defeated Georgia State 2-1, lost to Dayton 5-1

Harriet Withers is the story of the week this week, as her two goal performance saw Murray State storm back from a goal down to grab a 2-1 victory over Georgia State. The Racers weren’t so fortunate against Dayton, though, as the Flyers piled on five goals to storm to a dominant win. Harriet Withers and Nyomi Devine both started the two games this week as they further cemented their places in the Murray State lineup.

Kennesaw State (Nicole Calder)

This week’s results: lost to Troy 1-0, defeated South Alabama 2-1

A trip across the border to Alabama for Kennesaw State saw the side split their games against Troy and South Alabama. Both games were tightly fought, with the first game against Troy being separated by a 6th minute goal to the home side in a game in which Troy outshot the Owls 10-6. Against South Alabama, it took a comeback from an early goal to South Alabama for Kennesaw State to grab a result to take back to Georgia, with Maddie Gaughan scoring in the 12th and 82nd minutes to seal the win for the Owls. Unfortunately, Nicole Calder was missing from these matches after spraining her ankle in training, but should be back next week.

Wyoming (Alisha Bass, Georgia Rowntree, Candace Sciberras)

This week’s results: lost to Idaho State 3-2 (1OT) – 8am, lost to Weber State 2-1 (1OT)

A heartbreaking week all-round for Wyoming as the side took the lead in both games before falling in overtime on both occasions. The game against Idaho State saw Wyoming take the lead before 2 goals to Idaho State saw them take the lead before Aussie Alisha Bass assisted on the equaliser. Unfortunately, in the 8th minute of overtime, Idaho State managed to poke home a goal from a corner to nab the win. The game against Weber State saw the first of what is hopefully many goals created by the Aussie connection of Alisha Bass and Candace Sciberras, as Alisha set up Candace for the opening goal on 14 minutes. Weber State managed an equaliser on 41 minutes, and with the score locked at 1-1 after 90 minutes, the game went to overtime. It took just 33 seconds of overtime, however, for Weber State to score the winner. This game also unfortunately saw Candace Sciberras sent from the field for fighting.

Southern (Simone Arthur)

This week’s result: lost to Louisiana-Monroe 5-0

Another unfortunate result for Southern this week, as they went down to a much stronger Louisiana-Monroe side 5-0. With Louisiana-Monroe taking 33 shots, times were always going to be tough for Southern, and although goalkeeper Sarah Forde made 13 saves, the barrage of shots meant there were always going to be goals. Simone Arthur was unfortunately once again unavailable for Southern.

Nicholls State (Jess Coates)

This week’s results: lost to Arkansas-Little Rock 3-1, defeated Arkansas-Pine Bluff 8-0, lost to LSU 3-0

A mixed week for Nicholls State this week, with two losses separated by an absolutely dominant 8-0 win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff. The week got off to an inauspicious start as Arkansas-Little Rock scored twice in the first 20 minutes to put the game firmly in their control on the way to a 3-1 win, but the match against Arkansas-Pine Bluff was a complete turnaround. Aussie Jess Coates opened the scoring on 13 minutes via a penalty, before setting up Lauren O’Brien just a minute later to put the Colonels 2-0 up early. The side didn’t let their foot off the pedal all game, scoring at regular intervals on their way to an 8-0 win. This was followed by a match against LSU in which Nicholls State were always up against it, allowing 21 shots whilst tallying just 5 of their own in a game that ended 3-0 to the Tigers.

Southeast Missouri State (Jenna Collingridge, Maddy Cornell, Bridget Sankey)

This week’s result: defeated Missouri-St Louis 2-0

It took three games and one cancellation, but Southeast Missouri State got their first win of the season this week, defeating Division II Missouri-Saint Louis 2-0 on the back of 2 goals in 27 seconds in the 74th minute. Maddy Cornell and Jenna Collingridge both played for Southeast Missouri State in this game, playing 77 and 70 minutes respectively.

Alabama State (Shelbi Vienna-Hallam)

This week’s result: defeated South Carolina Upstate 1-0

Alabama State restored their record to the .500 mark with a 1-0 win over South Carolina Upstate that was a case of “score early and hold them out”, as Aaliyah Lewis’ 12th minute goal was enough to secure the win for the Hornets despite being outshot 8-6. Shelbi Vienna-Hallam once again played a full 90 in defence for Alabama State as the side registered a second shutout for the season.

Colorado (Kahlia Hogg, Alexandra Huynh)

This week’s results: defeated UNLV 3-0, lost to Kent State 1-0

Colorado took a trip to Las Vegas this week looking for two wins to keep their 100% winning record intact, but unfortunately a late goal from Kent State meant they headed back to Boulder with their first loss. Their first match, against UNLV, saw the Buffaloes romp to a 3-0 win, with Aussie Kahlia Hogg notching the side’s 3rd goal on 63 minutes to seal the win. Alex Huynh also started and played 65 minutes in defence for Colorado against UNLV. The match against Kent State saw Colorado dominate the shooting stats 12-9, but the Kent State goalkeeper stood up tall, keeping the Buffaloes at bay and in the end a late goal from the Golden Flashes saw them nick the win.

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

This week’s results: defeated Quinnipiac 1-0, lost to Florida International 1-0

A mixed week for Pacific, with two hard-fought games leaving the side with one win and one loss from the week. First up, the Tigers took on Quinnipiac, and it appeared as if the game was headed to overtime tied at 0-0, but an 88th minute goal saw Pacific grab the win. The match against Florida International was also a tight contest, with the only goal coming in the 70th minute for Florida International. After starting against Quinnipiac, Ellie Papalexiou came off the bench against Florida International, taking two shots, but it wasn’t to be for Pacific in the second game.

UMBC (Lilly Rydon)

This week’s results: defeated Howard 1-0, defeated Bucknell 2-1

Two games and two more wins for UMBC as they continued their early-season charge, and it was Aussie senior Lilly Rydon at the centre of it all, notching two goals. First up, against Howard, Lilly scored the only goal in the 7th minute following a mistake by the opposing goalkeeper. This was followed up in the victory over Bucknell, where Lilly scored the opening goal in the 13th minute as UMBC took a 2-0 lead inside 25 minutes, which they held onto despite an 87th minute goal from Bucknell.

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert)

This week’s result: defeated St. Joseph’s 5-0

After a 4 goal performance last week against Bucknell, there was no turning off the goals this week against St. Joseph’s as the Pride smashed home five in a resounding win. It took just four minutes for Hofstra to kick off the scoring, and by the 32 minute mark, they were already 4-0 up. The scoring then slowed up, with the score remaining 4-0 until the 85th minute when the fifth goal finally came. Emily Hulbert once again came off the bench for Hofstra, playing the last 15 minutes of each half.

Creighton (Anastasia McCleary)

This week’s result: defeated Western Illinois 4-0

A dominant performance for Creighton this weekend saw them move to 3-0-0 with a 4-0 victory over Western Illinois, although the score was 1-0 until the 73rd minute, before 3 quick goals sealed a decisive victory. Anastasia McCleary was once again impressive off the bench, tallying 3 shots (2 on target) in 28 minutes of play.

Player Of The Year Points:

3: Lilly Rydon (UMBC)
2: Harriet Withers (Murray State)
Kahlia Hogg (Colorado)

2014 Player Previews

With 17 players representing 4 states and the ACT, this year’s College Matildas are definitely a diverse bunch. Take a look at our player previews – you may even recognise a couple from the W-League!

Shelbi Vienna-Hallam (Junior, Defender, Alabama State, Hobart)

Shelbi keeps the Australian flavour at Alabama State intact following Anastasia McCleary’s transfer to Creighton, moving to the Hornets after two successful years with Peninsula College in Washington. The first Tasmanian to play in Division I women’s soccer, Shelbi is a Tasmanian NTC graduate and won two conference titles whilst playing at the junior college level for Peninsula.

Kahlia Hogg (Junior, Defender, Colorado, Canberra)

A former Canberra United starlet, Kahlia has decided to link up with fellow Australian Alexandra Huynh at the University of Colorado after two seasons with ACC powerhouse Florida State. Kahlia made the decision to transfer after playing only 75 minutes last season, down from the 240 she played in her freshman year. Kahlia spent the off-season playing USL W-League for Colorado Rush, where she picked up a Team Of The Week spot in the opening week of the season.

Alexandra Huynh (Sophomore, Defender, Colorado, Sydney)

Alexandra stormed onto the scene in 2013 with Colorado, playing in all 23 games as the Buffaloes advanced to the national Sweet 16 before going down to eventual runner-up Florida State. A solid, versatile defender, Alexandra also tacked on three assists over the course of the season. Alexandra has spent the off-season playing in Australia with Marconi Stallions alongside Wyoming’s Candace Sciberras as well as the likes of Matildas defender Alanna Kennedy and W-League players Helen Petinos and Trudy Camilleri, which will no doubt have helped keep her sharp for the upcoming college season.

Anastasia McCleary (Junior, Forward, Creighton, Gold Coast)

After two years at Alabama State in which she quickly rose to prominence as the top player in the SWAC, Anastasia has decided to chase new challenges by transferring to Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. Despite interest from the University of Washington, McCleary decided that Creighton had won her heart and that it would be the place to continue her award-laden college career. Anastasia has an eye for goal, scoring 8 times in 38 games for Alabama State, but it is her ability to tee up her teammates that will have the Creighton program excited – she racked up 13 assists in her two years at Alabama State.

Nicole Calder (Senior, Defender/Midfielder, Kennesaw State, Adelaide)

A dominating presence in any defence, Nicole’s composure complements her ability to play either in a holding midfield role or at the centre of defence, not dissimilar to Clare Polkinghorne in that respect. Nicole is also well-known for her aerial ability, whether it be at attacking set-pieces or in defence. Nicole has popped up to score 6 goals in her 3 years at Kennesaw State, but it is the timing of her goals that is noteworthy – of those 6 goals, five were game winners.

Nyomi Devine (Freshman, Defender/Midfielder, Murray State, Gold Coast)

One half of the Palm Beach duo moving to Murray State, along with Harriet Withers, Nyomi is a solid defensive player with the ability to both break up opposition attacks and find a pass to launch a counter-attack. Nyomi has been almost ever-present in the starting lineup this season for a Palm Beach side sitting near the top of the Southeast Queensland Women’s Premier League table.

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

The third of the Palm Beach products to move to college this year, Harriet is a striker with all the tools required to make her mark at Murray State. Blessed with the kind of athleticism and speed that thrives in American soccer, Harriet also has an eye for goal, scoring 19 goals this season in the Southeast Queensland Women’s Premier League.

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

One of the standout players last season for Nicholls State, Jess starts her third season with the Colonels no doubt hoping to make more of a tangible impact than last season. Whilst Jess scored 5 goals on 36 shots last season, 3 of these goals came in the first game of the season, an 8-1 win over fellow Aussie Simone Arthur’s Southern University side. Jess also had two assists last season, a number she will want to improve as she becomes one of the leaders of this Nicholls State team.

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

The first of the three Palm Beach products to commit to a school, Papalexiou’s commitment to Pacific was announced on National Signing Day. A pacy left back, Ellie is equally adept at playing higher up the pitch as a left winger. Also a dead ball specialist with an ability to put the ball on a sixpence, Ellie has all the attributes required to succeed in her four years at Pacific.

Jenna Collingridge (Junior, Midfielder, SE Missouri State, Cootamundra)

Cootamundra product Jenna has become one of the mainstays of the Southeast Missouri State side, playing in 16 games in each of her first two seasons with the Redhawks. After only two starts in her first 8 games in 2012, Jenna has gone on to start 19 of the last 26 games in which she has played, playing a majority of minutes in most games. Generally sitting in a deeper midfield role, Jenna’s impact has not shown in the stats, but has definitely been felt on the field.

Maddy Cornell (Freshman, Defender/Midfielder, SE Missouri State, Nowra)

A skilful yet assured player, Cornell joins Southeast Missouri State from NPLNSW Women’s 2 club Southern Branch as a player who may prefer to play on the left wing, but has the ability to play on either wing or at left back, and switch between these positions in a single game. Maddy’s versatility and ability to read a game, coupled with her technical ability, should see her right in the mix for a starting berth at Southeast Missouri State from the outset.

Bridget Sankey (Sophomore, Defender, SE Missouri State, Brisbane)

After playing in only 3 matches for the Redhawks last season, the Annerley FC (Brisbane) product will be hoping to make more of an impact this season in a Southeast Missouri State side that is slightly lacking in defensive numbers in comparison to previous seasons. Notably, in the 3 games and 85 minutes that Bridget played last season, the Redhawks did not concede a single goal.

Simone Arthur (Senior, Midfielder, Southern, Gold Coast)

After bouncing around Div II and junior college for her first two college seasons, 2014 will be Simone’s second season at Southern and her final college season. The lynchpin of the Southern midfield, Simone’s presence has coincided with an upturn in the side’s fortunes. Simone played in all 18 of the Jaguars’ games last season, starting 17, with a return of two goals and two assists as Southern reached the SWAC conference semi-finals, going down to Jackson State 2-1.

Lilly Rydon (Senior, Midfielder, UMBC, Adelaide)

Where to go for Lilly Rydon? 2 seasons ago, Lilly and UMBC finished rock bottom of the America East conference standings. Last season, they steamrolled the competition, finishing top of the standings and winning the conference tournament before narrowly being defeated by eventual semi-finalists Virginia Tech in the first round of the national tournament. On a personal level, Lilly scored her first collegiate goal last season, finishing with 3 for the year, as well as 2 assists in the 16 games she played.

Alisha Bass (Freshman, Midfielder, Wyoming)

Having been in and around W-League setups for three years, firstly at Sydney FC and then Western Sydney Wanderers, as well as being part of last year’s Young Matildas squad, Alisha definitely has the ability to succeed at the college level. After redshirting last season, Alisha performed well in the spring exhibition games earlier this year, scoring a hat-trick in a 4-0 over Division II Fort Lewis College.

Georgia Rowntree (Freshman, Goalkeeper, Wyoming, Sydney)

After serving as a backup to the likes of Thora Helgasdottir, Mackenzie Arnold, and Dimi Poulos at Western Sydney Wanderers for the past two seasons, Georgia will hope to compete for a starting berth at Wyoming in her freshman season. Wyoming does have a fairly settled goalkeeping hierarchy at the moment, but this will not dissuade the young Florida-born Sydneysider, who has previously captained the Australian schoolgirls side.

Candace Sciberras (Freshman, Midfielder, Wyoming, Sydney)

After redshirting last season, Candace will be looking to step straight into the Wyoming lineup this season. Yet another former Western Sydney Wanderers W-League player to move to Wyoming, Candace has spent the off-season playing alongside Alexandra Huynh at Marconi Stallions in NPLNSW Women’s 1 in preparation for the upcoming season.

2014 Season Preview

Welcome to the inaugural season of College Matildas! This year, 17 Australians will be playing in NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer, slightly down on the 20 that played in 2013. Of these 17, 5 players are completely new to the US college scene: Ellie Papalexiou (Pacific), Harriet Withers (Murray State), Nyomi Devine (Murray State), Maddy Cornell (Southeast Missouri State), and Georgia Rowntree (Wyoming). Of these five, Papalexiou, Withers, and Devine have all moved from the same club in Australia: Palm Beach Sharks on the Gold Coast. A further two, Alisha Bass and Candace Sciberras (both Wyoming) will play their first college games this season after redshirting in 2013, whilst Shelbi Vienna-Hallam (Alabama State) will move up from the junior college ranks after two seasons at Peninsula College in Port Angeles, Washington.

At the other end of the scale, we have three seniors looking to go out with a bang in their final seasons in the college game. Lilly Rydon and her UMBC side will be looking to emulate last season’s heroic performance which saw them dominate the America East conference on their way to a national tournament berth. Down in Georgia, Nicole Calder and Kennesaw State will be looking to take that next step and earn a tournament berth of their own after last season’s semifinal appearance in the Atlantic Sun tournament.

Simone Arthur’s final season in college soccer will be her second at Southern University after spending her first two seasons in Division II and junior college, and whilst their have been some severe administrative issues surrounding Southern lately which have culminated in a postseason ban for all sports at the university, these should be cleared up in time for the women’s soccer team to play in the postseason and hopefully do better than last year’s SWAC tournament semifinal loss to Jackson State.

But it’s not all freshmen and seniors in the College Matildas ranks. At Colorado, former Western Sydney Wanderers defender Alexandra Huynh enjoyed a stellar freshman year in 2013, and this year will be joined by junior transfer Kahlia Hogg, who moves to Boulder in search of more playing time after two seasons at Florida State.

At Southeast Missouri State, freshman Maddy Cornell should be able to slot right in as there are two other Australians already at the Redhawks: Jenna Collingridge, a junior who has enjoyed a starting role for much of her time in the team, and sophomore Bridget Sankey, who will be looking to break into the starting side after playing in just three games in 2013.

Jess Coates has been a solid player in her first two seasons at Nicholls State, establishing herself as an integral part of the side’s attack. The Colonels won 9 of their first 11 games last season, but fell away slightly in conference play and a postseason loss to Sam Houston State ended their season after they looked as if they might be a contender for the Southland title earlier in the year.

Anastasia McCleary has been a dominant force in the SWAC for her first two seasons, so it’s not altogether surprising to see her transferring to a bigger school, in the form of Creighton University in Omaha. Creighton became a member of the “new” Big East last season, a major step-up from their former home, the Missouri Valley Conference. McCleary will be fresh off a season playing WPSL club soccer for Issaquah SC, an affiliate club of the NWSL’s Seattle Reign. This should see Anastasia come into the season fully fit and ready to make her mark on both Creighton and the conference.

We do unfortunately have one player leaving Division I early this year. Loren Mahoney has left Wyoming and will be spending her senior year at University of Mary in North Dakota. Good luck to Loren, and we’ll definitely be keeping an eye on her in her final season of college soccer.

The season starts on August 11, with Nicole Calder and Kennesaw State travelling to South Carolina to take on Wofford College to kick off a four month adventure that hopefully culminates in a stack of Aussies playing in the NCAA tournament!