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.