Week 12 Wrap

Plenty of teams secured conference tournament positions or even set themselves up for conference regular season titles this week, but the most notable part of the weekend was Nicole Calder getting on the field for 15 minutes to play on Senior Night despite what appeared to be a season-ending injury. Considering the fact that Nicole would walk through a brick wall to achieve her goals, it’s not a surprise that she managed to get out there and play, but it’s great to see that she was afforded the opportunity to get out on the field one last time for Kennesaw State.

UMBC (Lilly Rydon)

This week’s results: defeated Albany 1-0, lost to Binghamton 1-0 (2OT)

Needing two wins this weekend to secure a share of the conference regular season title, UMBC got off to the start they needed, defeating Albany 1-0 in a tight contest. The Retrievers took their time in getting a lead though – Albany kept UMBC’s chances to a minimum, and it took 71 minutes for UMBC to score the first and only goal of the game with the only shot on target of the entire second half for either team. The win meant that their fate was still in their own hands as they came into an eminently winnable game against Binghamton, but Binghamton were in no mood to play nice on UMBC’s Senior Day, taking a 1-0 win in overtime. Surprisingly, Lilly Rydon wasn’t involved against Albany, but came back to start against Binghamton in her final college regular season home game, tallying 3 shots, of which one was on target.

Nicholls State (Jess Coates)

This week’s results: lost to Houston Baptist 1-0, Saturday October 25; defeated Central Arkansas 2-0

A mixed weekend for Nicholls State leaves them teetering on the edge of the Southland conference tournament, requiring wins in their final two games to secure a spot. The game against Houston Baptist was always expected to be a tough test, but not unwinnable, and even a draw in this game would have been highly beneficial to the side’s chances, and for 89 minutes and 55 seconds of the game it looked as if the game would go into overtime. With just four seconds remaining in the game, however, Houston Baptist scored from a corner and Nicholls State went down 1-0 despite leading the shot count 18-7 – a testament to the pitfalls of not taking your chances. Suddenly, a match against a much weaker Central Arkansas side came with the added pressure of needing a win, and it was Jess Coates who thrived under that pressure early on, scoring just 2 minutes into the game to give Nicholls State a brilliant start. Jess then provided the assist for the second goal just six minutes later, and whilst they didn’t manage to find another goal in the next 82 minutes, they managed to keep Central Arkansas out to keep within reach of the final conference tournament berth.

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

This week’s results: defeated Tennessee Tech 2-0, defeated Jacksonville State 3-0

Southeast Missouri State needed two wins this weekend to give them a chance of securing a share of the Ohio Valley conference regular season title next week against SIU Edwardsville, and that’s exactly what they earned, firstly dealing with Tennessee Tech as expected before convincingly beating Jacksonville State by a surprising 3-0 scoreline. Jenna Collingridge was the only Aussie involved for the Redhawks this week, but she made her presence felt, especially against Jacksonville State. Against Tennessee Tech, it was Natasha Minor scoring in the 17th and 78th minutes that secured the result for Southeast Missouri State, but Jenna was the undoubted star of the game against Jacksonville State. Jenna only had two shots in the entire game. Both were on target, and they also both beat the goalkeeper to give Jenna her first two collegiate goals. With Jenna’s goals putting the side up 2-0 after 53 minutes, the game was in the Redhawks’ pocket, and a third goal late on wrapped things up.

Colorado (Kahlia Hogg, Alexandra Huynh)

This week’s results: lost to Washington State 2-1, tied with Washington 0-0 (2OT)

Colorado have bouncing in and out of national tournament predictions, and this week they managed to do so in the space of 2 days as a damaging loss to Washington State was followed up by a resume-building 0-0 draw with top 20 side Washington. With Kahlia Hogg dropping back into midfield after regularly starting up front for the Buffaloes this season, the side was missing a little at the pointy end, but this didn’t stop them from grabbing a 1-0 lead against Washington State. It wasn’t to be, however, as the nationally ranked Cougars managed to rally for a comeback as goals in a ten minute span either side of halftime saw Colorado condemned to a loss. Knowing that they couldn’t afford another loss in their hunt for a national tournament bid, Colorado came out firing against Washington, tallying 9 first half shots. Unfortunately, only two of these managed to test the Huskies’ goalkeeper, and neither found the net. It was more or less the same in the second half, and again throughout overtime, as the sides traded shots but neither could find the net. Once again, Kahlia Hogg played in a midfield role but also managed to create a couple of chances for herself as she played the full 110 minutes.

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert)

This week’s results: defeated Drexel 2-1, defeated Delaware 4-2

Coming into this final weekend of conference games, Hofstra had an outside chance of finishing in top spot in the Colonial Athletic Association, and whilst the other results they needed didn’t go their way, they did the job required of themselves to move up from 5th place into 3rd and vastly improving their seeding in the conference tournament. The game against Drexel was of utmost importance, as the Dragons were a single place ahead of Hofstra before the game. Hofstra opened the scoring just shy of the half-hour mark, a just reward for their attacking dominance, before doubling their lead in the 54th minute. As Hofstra have been wont to do for so long, however, they conceded just a minute later. This was where the scoring ended, and Hofstra took the win to jump above Drexel in the standings. Other results meant that Hofstra would be playing for third at best against Delaware, whilst Delaware needed a result to secure a place in the conference tournament. Hofstra didn’t let Delaware’s desperation to get a win faze them, and they opened the scoring just six minutes into the game. Neither side was able to score in the first half, but it appeared that the teams were saving the goals for the second half. Hofstra scored their second of the game in the 58th minute, before Delaware grabbed one back 12 minutes later to leave the game poised at 2-1 to Hofstra. Two more quick goals to the Pride, however, meant that Delaware’s 88th minute goal was nothing more than a consolation, but it would not have even been that in the end as the loss meant the end of Delaware’s season, whilst Hofstra march on to the Colonial Athletic Association conference tournament. Emily Hulbert started in defence as usual for Hofstra, playing the full 90 minutes against Drexel and 78 minutes against Delaware.

Kennesaw State (Nicole Calder)

This week’s result: defeated USC Upstate 1-0

With the side needing a win in their final game against winless USC Upstate, the Kennesaw State coach could have been forgiven for casting away sentiment on Senior Night, but it was the seniors themselves who had a massive impact as the Owls picked up a 1-0 win to keep their season alive. as Alma Gardasdottir picked up the only goal of the game in the 64th minute. Nicole Calder played in her final game of college soccer, and whilst she was only on the field for around 15 minutes in two short stints at the end of each half, it didn’t take her long to get involved – despite being a defender, it took Nicole only 33 seconds to get a shot on target. Considering the Owls outshot USC Upstate 19-7, the side may have wanted a few more goals in this game, but the win was what they needed and that’s what they finished the 90 minutes with.

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)

This week’s results: defeated Austin Peay 3-2, lost to Belmont 2-0

As with Southeast Missouri State, two wins this weekend would have given Murray State a shot at a share of the Ohio Valley conference regular season title, and they got off to a good start with a win in a match against a tricky Austin Peay side. The Racers got off to a slow start and quickly fell behind to an Austin Peay goal in the fourth minute. That goal appeared to kick Murray State into gear, and goals at regular intervals saw the score go from 1-0 down to 3-1 up after 63 minutes. Austin Peay managed a 2nd in the 87th minute, but the Racers hung on for those last few nervy minutes to clinch a win in a match that saw both Nyomi Devine and Harriet Withers start. The Palm Beach pair started again against Belmont, with Harriet tallying five shots, of which four were on target (of a team total of six). Despite her best efforts, a lack of support from the team meant that goals were hard to come by, and Belmont were far more ruthless as they secured a 2-0 win which kept their own chances of making the conference tournament alive.

Alabama State (Shelbi Vienna-Hallam)

This week’s results: defeated Mississippi Valley State 3-1, defeated Alcorn State 8-1

Since a tough start to the conference season which saw Alabama State handed the toughest start to the SWAC schedule of any team, the Hornets have come home with a wet sail and things were no different this weekend as they soundly defeated Mississippi Valley State before handing Alcorn State an absolute mauling which left their opponents with the antithesis of a perfect season – 0 wins, 0 draws, 12 losses. Shelbi Vienna-Hallam was, as has become habit for the Tasmanian junior, involved heavily in the goalscoring for the week, notching an assist for the first goal against MVSU before scoring Alabama State’s third as the teams combined for all four of the game’s goals inside 34 minutes. The goals were far more spread out against Alcorn State, as is to be expected in an 8-1 win. Alabama State opened the scoring in 16th minute, before Shelbi notched an assist on the first of Aaliyah Lewis’ 3 goals. With the score 5-0 after an hour, Alcorn State managed to get one back, but Shelbi scored two goals of her own to make the score 7-1 before the Hornets rounded out the scoring on 78 minutes for an emphatic victory.

Wyoming (Alisha Bass, Georgia Rowntree, Candace Sciberras)

This week’s results: lost to San Diego State 5-2, lost to  New Mexico 2-1

A tough start to the weekend against high-flying San Diego State turned into a tough week for Wyoming as they dropped both games this weekend hand the conference title to San Diego State and allow New Mexico themselves to sneak back into contention for second spot. The match against San Diego State was always expected to be tough, but it wasn’t all bad news for the Aussies involved, with Candace Sciberras scoring one of Wyoming’s goals, and Alisha Bass providing the assist. At that point, the game was 1-1 after half an hour, but San Diego scored the next 4 goals to put the game out of Wyoming’s reach. The match against New Mexico was a fair sight tougher for the Aussies, with neither Bass or Sciberras being involved in Wyoming’s opener in the 4th minute, and with New Mexico coming back from 1-0 down to win the game in the 85th minute, it was a tough loss for Wyoming to take.

Creighton (Anastasia McCleary)

This week’s result: tied with Butler 1-1 (2OT)

Creighton were eliminated from conference tournament contention last week, but still had pride to play for in this game against Butler. They weren’t without their chances, either, especially in the first half as they forced two saves from the Butler goalkeeper. It was in the second half, however, with their only shot on target, that they cracked the Butler defence for the opening goal. Butler were afforded the opportunity to hit back when the Creighton defence allowed them to break down the right, and the shot from an impossible angle which really should have been covered by the Bluejays goalkeeper found the back of the net for an equaliser. Attacking chances were few and far between for the remainder of the match as the sides cancelled each other out for the final 40 minutes of the game, and with neither coach really willing to use their bench, the tiring starters meant there was not even one shot taken during the second period of overtime. Unfortunately, Anastasia McCleary was not afforded the opportunity to come off the bench to make an impact in this game.

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

This week’s result: lost to St. Mary’s 1-0

It’s been a tough season for Pacific, but this game against St. Mary’s loomed as their biggest chance of a win in conference play. Pacific put in a really solid performance this game, whilst Ellie Papalexiou had what she described as her best game of the season, seeing over half an hour of playing time and managing two shots, of which one was on target but was denied by some great play by the St. Mary’s goalkeeper. Despite some solid chances for both sides, the game looked destined to head to overtime until the 88th minute, when a St. Mary’s player got free on the left and made a run before hitting the ball across the Pacific goalkeeper for the lone goal of the game. It was not a loss Pacific deserved, especially in such a fashion.

Week 5 Wrap

There was some great news and some terrible news coming out of this weekend’s games, with Shelbi Vienna-Hallam being named SWAC Defensive Player Of The Week, but with Nicole Calder unfortunately suffering an ACL injury which has prematurely ended her senior year. These weren’t the only events of the week, so let’s take a look all 18 Aussies.

Nicholls State (Jess Coates)

This week’s results: Game postponed v Louisiana-Lafayette, defeated Louisiana-Monroe 4-3

After their first game for the weekend against Louisiana-Lafayette was unfortunately postponed, Jess Coates and Nicholls State were involved in an absolute cracker of a game against Louisiana-Monroe, which they eventually won 4-3. After taking an early 1-0 lead, the Colonels then conceded an equaliser before Jess Coates was involved in setting up Nicholls State’s second and third goals on the way to a 4-1 lead. Louisiana-Monroe then started a comeback with two goals in 5 minutes to leave the score 4-3 with 5 minutes to go, but that’s where the scoring would finish to leave Nicholls State with a 3-3-0 record.

Alabama State (Shelbi Vienna-Hallam)

This week’s results: defeated UNC Asheville 1-0, lost to Presbyterian College 5-1

Despite mixed results this week, Alabama State proved to be the SWAC’s one shining light with their third win of the season. The game against Presbyterian College proved to be a tough one for Shelbi Vienna-Hallam and the Alabama State defence, but Shelbi proved to be instrumental in the shutout win over UNC Asheville, for which she was named SWAC Defensive Player Of The Week. Shelbi has now played all bar one minute of game time this season for Alabama State.

Colorado (Kahlia Hogg, Alexandra Huynh)

This week’s results: lost to Kansas 2-1, defeated Detroit 3-0

After an unfortunate loss to Kent State last week, Colorado would have been hoping to get back to winning ways right away, but a loss to Kansas sadly nipped that in the bud. After Kansas scored in the 69th minute, Colorado nabbed an equaliser with 10 minutes remaining, sending the game to overtime. The first period of overtime ended scoreless, but Kansas managed to score a winner just two minutes into the second period of overtime. Fortunately, a win was forthcoming in the game against Detroit. Colorado opened the scoring just 3 minutes in, but it would take another hour before they managed a second, with Australian Alexandra Huynh setting up Brooke Rice for the goal. Colorado would round out the scoring 10 minutes later to finish with a 3-0 win. Kahlia Hogg and Alexandra Huynh started both games this weekend, playing the majority of minutes over the weekend.

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)

This week’s results: lost to Florida International 1-0, lost to Florida Gulf Coast 4-0

A trip to Florida this week for Murray State didn’t provide the fun usually associated with trips to the Sunshine State, as the Racers headed back to Kentucky with nothing to show for their efforts. Against Florida International, a 65th minute goal was enough for Florida International to secure the win, whilst against Florida Gulf Coast, it was a 3 goal spurt in 6 second half minutes from the home side that secured a win after they had opened the scoring late in the first half. On a positive note, Harriet Withers and Nyomi Devine each started both games.

Kennesaw State (Nicole Calder)

This week’s results: defeated Austin Peay 1-0, lost to South Florida 1-0 (OT)

It was a week of mixed results for Kennesaw State this week, with a fighting 1-0 victory over Austin Peay being followed by an even tighter 1-0 overtime loss to South Florida. However, the weekend was marred by an unfortunate ACL injury for Nicole Calder that has ended her senior season. Nicole had enjoyed a solid start to the season, despite some minor injury setbacks, and had also been made captain of the side, and this is not the way that any player deserves to end their senior year, much less a player who has contributed so much not only to the program, but to the university and the local community.

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

This week’s results: defeated UC Davis 2-0, lost to Northern Colorado 1-0

A trip to Colorado saw Southeast Missouri State split their games in the Falcon Invitational, as they defeated UC Davis to mark their second consecutive win, before that streak was snapped by a 1-0 loss to Northern Colorado. Goals either side of halftime snared the win for the Redhawks against UC Davis, whilst a goal just 3 minutes into the second half was enough for Northern Colorado to secure a win on home turf. Maddy Cornell played 71 minutes against UC Davis and a full 90 against Northern Colorado, whilst Jenna Collingridge played 75 minutes against UC Davis, but sat out against Northern Colorado.

Creighton (Anastasia McCleary)

This week’s results: defeated New Mexico State 6-0, defeated Drake 4-3

Creighton continued their barnstorming start to the season this week by firstly demolishing New Mexico State before they defeated former conference rival Drake 4-3. Once again, Anastasia McCleary was used as an impact player off the bench, and it paid off in the best way against Drake, as the junior picked up her first goal for the Bluejays since transferring from Alabama State. It can only be a matter of time now until McCleary manages to get a start for Creighton.

UMBC (Lilly Rydon)

This week’s result: St Joseph’s 1-0

An unfortunate loss for UMBC this week, as they went down 1-0 to a St. Joseph’s side that the Retrievers would consider themselves at least the equal of. UMBC outshot St. Joseph’s 9-8, but a breakaway just after the hour mark saw St. Joseph’s manage to score the only goal of the game. Lilly Rydon once again started up front for UMBC, but, like the rest of the side, lacked that decisiveness in front of goal.

Wyoming (Alisha Bass, Georgia Rowntree, Candace Sciberras)

This week’s result: lost to Utah Valley 3-0

Wyoming suffered a surprising loss to Utah Valley this week, but on a positive note, Georgia Rowntree made her first appearance for Wyoming, proving that she is the number one backup goalkeeper for the Cowgirls after playing the final hour of the game. Wyoming were only able to get three shots on goal, putting them on the back foot from an attacking point of view. Utah Valley, on the other hand, had six shots on target and were ruthless in their finishing to net 3 goals. Alisha Bass started for Wyoming, taking two shots, but Candace Sciberras sat out this game after being red carded in the side’s last game.

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

This week’s results: defeated Canisius 2-1, lost to San Jose State 4-0

Pacific split results this week in two very differing games. Against Canisius, the Tigers took an early lead before conceding on the hour mark. Just 60 seconds later though, Pacific scored the winner. The San Jose State game was unfortunately a different story, with the Tigers conceding after just 18 seconds, and things not progressing in a positive way from there. Ellie Papalexiou played in both games and was able to tally two shots in the game against San Jose State.

Southern (Simone Arthur)

This week’s results: lost to Louisiana Tech 2-1, defeated South Alabama 7-0

Simone Arthur made her long-awaited season debut for Southern University this week, but the results were not those that the side would have wanted. After almost managing to come back to win against a heavily favoured Louisiana Tech team, things did not go quite as well against South Alabama, with Southern being dominated in the battle of the Jaguars as South Alabama notched 24 shots to 4. Simone Arthur played in both games, in an unusual role of right back.

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert)

This week’s results: lost to West Virginia 4-0, defeated Indiana State 9-1

It appears hell hath no fury like a Hofstra side scorned, as a crushing 4-0 defeat was followed up by an absolute demolition of Indiana State to the tune of a 9-1 win. Hofstra were always going to be up against it against a West Virginia side featuring the likes of Kadeisha Buchanan, and this was evident in the final score. Against Indiana State, however, the Pride made sure to take their chances and racked up the goals almost at will. Emily Hulbert came off the bench in both games, and the defender was even able to tally a shot against Indiana State.

Player Of The Year Points:

3: Jess Coates (Nicholls State) 
2:
Shelbi Vienna-Hallam (Alabama State)
1: 
Anastasia McCleary (Creighton)

Week 1 Wrap

Three matches were played this week, with Kennesaw State (Nicole Calder) and Southeast Missouri State (Jenna Collingridge, Maddy Cornell, Bridget Sankey) getting their seasons started with exhibition games.

Kennesaw State (Nicole Calder)

This week’s result: defeated Wofford 1-0

The Owls of Kennesaw State got their season off to a successful start, exacting revenge on Wofford for last year’s result with a 1-0 win. Nicole Calder came into this game with a slight illness and as such only played two periods of a game that was played in three 30 minute periods. Nicole had two shots during her time on the field. It was not until the 67th minute that Kennesaw State’s Marit Sandtroeen scored the winner on a solo effort, with the score remaining 1-0 for the final 23 minutes to give the Owls a first-up win.

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

This week’s results: lost 1-0 to Lipscomb, lost 3-1 to Saint Louis

Two losses for the Redhawks provide an inauspicious beginning to the season, but there was good news for two of the Aussies, with Jenna Collingridge and Maddy Cornell starting both games, and Maddy Cornell playing over an hour in both games. Both Cornell and Collingridge had shots on target in both games, with Jenna notching a game-high three shots on goal in 34 minutes of play in the loss to Lipscomb. These two games also saw the Southeast coach tinkering with Maddy Cornell’s positioning, with the freshman playing midfield against Lipscomb and in defence against Saint Louis. Unfortunately, Bridget Sankey did not see the field in these two games.

 

Week 1 Preview

Just the three games this week, as Kennesaw State (Nicole Calder) and Southeast Missouri State (Jenna Collingridge, Maddy Cornell, Bridget Sankey) get their seasons started. All three matches this week are exhibition fixtures and, as such, will not count towards season records, meaning there is plenty of scope for teams to tinker with lineups before the serious matches start.

(All dates and times in Sydney/Melbourne time)

Kennesaw State (Nicole Calder)

This Week: at Wofford – 9am, Monday August 11

This battle of 2013 conference semi-finalists sees Nicole Calder and Kennesaw State skip across the border to South Carolina to take on Southern Conference side Wofford College in an exhibition, looking to avenge the 3-0 loss they suffered to the Terriers in the corresponding fixture last season. Interestingly, Nicole Calder played GOALKEEPER for Kennesaw State in this match last season – hopefully playing in one of her more usual positions will see Nicole able to help the Owls to a win.

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

This Week: at Lipscomb – 9am, Tuesday August 12; at Saint Louis – 8am, Thursday August 14

The only side to play two fixtures this week, Southeast Missouri State are playing two return fixtures from last season. First up, the Redhawks  travel to Tennessee to take on Lipscomb, a side they lost 1-2 to last season. Lipscomb have history facing Australians, being knocked off by Nicole Calder and Kennesaw State in the Atlantic Sun tournament first round, with Nicole getting the assist on the only goal. With this exhibition game not counting towards season records, expect Maddy Cornell and Bridget Sankey to see solid minutes as the Redhawks’ coaches evaluate their team. The team then moves closer to home, taking on University of Saint Louis on Thursday. Last season, this game was a home fixture for the Redhawks, and finished 0-0. Once again, this game could be an early opportunity for Cornell and Sankey to prove they are deserving of a regular starting berth this season.

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!