Grace Norbury joins Sophie Bui at Alabama State

The pipeline from Australia to Alabama State University continues to deliver, with former Australian Schoolgirls representative Norbury signing with the Hornets.

The pipeline from Australia to Alabama State University continues to deliver, with former Australian Schoolgirls representative Grace Norbury signing with the Hornets. Norbury becomes the fifth Australian to sign with the Hornets in recent years, following Katherine McCleary, Anastasia McCleary, Sophie Bui and 2014 College Matildas Player of the Year, Shelbi Vienna-Hallam.

With 67 NPL Victoria first team appearances under her belt, Norbury has already proven herself amongst high-level competition, spending two seasons with Bayside United before moving to Box Hill United for the 2019 season. Whilst at Box Hill United, Norbury played alongside former Central Connecticut State striker Emma Hubbard and one-time Oregon State fullback Olivia Ellis in a team that finished 5th, just one point shy of a finals berth.

However, it is the list of Australian Schoolgirls teammates that Norbury has played with that will catch the eye, not only of college soccer fans, but W-League fans. The 2017 team that Norbury played on featured 2019 College Matildas Freshman of the Year, Eliza Ammendolia, as well as UMBC pair Abi Jordan and Teal Kilbride, Wyoming midfielder Indianna Asimus, and former Wyoming striker Caitlin Pickett. That side, which toured the US, also featured Sydney FC striker Shadeene Evans, and brought home the SoCal Winter Cup whilst also reaching the semi-final of the Dallas Cup.

“A true box to box midfielder that can both win the ball in defence and quickly transition into supporting our attack going forward,” is how Alabama State coach Jodie Smith described Norbury, and considering the Hornets’ statistical marks of recent years, the Victorian could be the perfect fit. Alabama State’s numbers in terms of both scoring and conceding goals have faltered slightly in recent seasons, particularly at the defensive end. If Norbury can step in and plug the gaps in midfield, hopefully the Hornets can bring their goals against average down from an eye-watering 2.7 in 2019 so the 2.04 they posted in 2018, or even lower still.

Norbury’s signing doubles the number of Australians on the Alabama State roster, with Sophie Bui having made 10 appearances for the Hornets in 2019. Having won consecutive SWAC Championships in 2016 and 2017, Alabama State will be hoping their Australian pairing can help return them to the promised land of the NCAA Tournament following two early exits in the conference tournament in the past two seasons.

2017 Week 12 Wrap

Six conference championship games involving Australians made for an exciting Sunday as teams looked to punch their tickets to the NCAA Tournament. Elsewhere, Paige Hayward finally secured the career scoring record for Texas Southern.

Paige Hayward had a successful weekend on a personal level, but unfortunately that didn’t transpire into team success as Texas Southern fell in the SWAC Tournament semi-finals. Playing in the final conference tournament of her career, Hayward slotted home the winner in the Tigers’ win over home side Prairie View A&M in the quarterfinals, and in the process broke the Texas Southern career record for goals scored as the senior took her career total to 25. Hayward’s record is made all the more impressive by the fact that the Sydneysider played the first season of her college career at Texas-Brownsville before transferring to Texas Southern.

Sunday saw Aussies involved in six conference championship games, all attempting to join Beattie Goad and Stanford in the NCAA Tournament after the Cardinal secured their spot last week. Hofstra, Western Carolina, Murray State, Grambling State, La Salle, Fairleigh Dickinson, and St. Francis all saw their seasons hinge on their result in a conference championship game.

Three early games kicked off simultaneously, with all requiring extra time. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be for Priya Gakhar and Grambling State, who fell to Alabama State – featuring Australian assistant coach Shelbi Vienna-Hallam – in a penalty shootout after the game finished 0-0, with Gakhar playing a short cameo off the bench but not being involved in the shootout.

La Salle, whose Australian goalkeeper Claudia Jenkins was forced to watch from the sidelines as senior starter Larisa Zambelli played yet another blinder, looked certain to go to penalties as well as their championship game against VCU headed deep into extra time with the score at 0-0. However, a late Maci Bower goal ensured that the Explorers would secure victory, and in the process punch their ticket to the NCAA Tournament.

Whilst Shelby Milton did not take to the field for St. Francis, Sam Roff played the full 110 minutes for Fairleigh Dickinson as the Northeast Conference foes played off in the championship game. Roff, an All-Conference First Team selection, and her fellow defenders were solid all game as neither team was able to manage a goal, forcing the game into a penalty shootout. In the end, St. Francis were the better side from the spot, clinching the conference championship and their spot in the NCAA Tournament.

Whilst these games were heading to their conclusion, the Australian duo of Emily Hulbert and Monique Iannella at Hofstra were just kicking off against Northeastern. Hofstra started amazingly, with a goal inside 90 seconds to take an early 1-0 lead against the dangerous Northeastern side. The Huskies would equalise shortly after, but Monique Iannella had no designs on allowing Hofstra’s opponents to keep pace for long. Whipping in a delightful free kick, Iannella found the head of Jenn Buoncore to give the Pride a 2-1 lead shortly before halftime. The game ebbed and flowed throughout, but in the end Hofstra would not be denied, maintaining their perfect conference record in 2017.

Kate Swartwout played a short cameo for Western Carolina in their championship game against UNC Greensboro, but unfortunately the Catamounts couldn’t repeat the dose after upsetting Furman in the Southern Conference semi-finals. Despite outshooting UNC Greensboro 20-7, Western Carolina fell 1-0 to a goal just after halftime.

The news was better for Murray State stars Harriet Withers and Nyomi Devine, who secured a second NCAA Tournament trip in three years with a win over Australian assistant coach Rachael Doyle and Eastern Kentucky. Despite a barrage of shots, including five on target from Withers, the Racers were unable to break the deadlock until the 94th minute, when Devine teed up Miyah Watford for the golden goal in the first period of overtime.

Those results leave us with five teams featuring Aussies on the roster securing automatic bids to the NCAA Tournament: Stanford (Beattie Goad), Hofstra (Emily Hulbert, Monique Iannella), St. Francis (Shelby Milton), Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers), and La Salle (Claudia Jenkins). Teagan Micah and UCLA have secured an at-large bid, even if the news is not yet official, whilst Isobel Dalton and Colorado will have to sweat on the decision-making of the selection committee.

Player Of The Year Points:

3: Paige Hayward (Texas Southern)
2: Monique Iannella (Hofstra)
1: Nyomi Devine (Murray State)

Complete Results:

Central Connecticut State (Lauren Featherstone)

This week: lost 2-1 to Saint Francis

Lauren Featherstone did not feature in Central Connecticut State’s season-ending loss to Saint Francis.

Colorado (Isobel Dalton)

This week: defeated Utah 2-0

Isobel Dalton came off the bench, playing a single minute in Colorado’s win over Utah which leaves the Buffaloes sweating on an NCAA Tournament at-large bid.

Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)

This week: lost 2-0 to Northeastern

Emma Heckenberg started for Drexel in their conference tournament semi-final loss to Northeastern, playing 42 minutes.

Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)

This week: defeated Bryant 2-1, lost 3-2 on penalties to St. Francis (0-0 AET)

Sam Roff started both games and played all 200 minutes of game time as Fairleigh Dickinson fell desperately short of securing a conference championship after losing on penalties to St. Francis.

Grambling State (Priya Gakhar)

This week: defeated Jackson State 1-0; defeated Grambling State 3-1; lost 4-2 on penalties to Alabama State (0-0 AET)

Priya Gakhar came off the bench for short cameos in all three games this week as Grambling State fell short of a conference championship by the slimmest of margins, going down in penalties in the SWAC Tournament final.

Grand Canyon (Sandra Hill)

This week: defeated UTRGV 2-1; lost 1-0 to Utah Valley

Sandra Hill did not feature in Grand Canyon’s WAC quarter-final win over UTRGV, but came off the bench to play 8 minutes in the semi-final loss to Utah Valley.

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert, Monique Iannella)

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

Both Emily Hulbert and Monique Iannella played the full 90 minutes in both games as Hofstra won the Colonial Athletic Association tournament and secured an NCAA Tournament berth. Iannella had an assist in each game, whilst Hulbert registered a single shot in the win over William & Mary.

La Salle (Claudia Jenkins)

This week: defeated Duquesne 2-1 (OT); defeated VCU (OT)

Claudia Jenkins did not feature for La Salle in either game this week. Starter Larisa Zambelli won the Player of the Tournament award as the Explorers rounded out a successful conference schedule by winning the conference tournament and punching their ticket to the NCAA Tournament.

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)

This week: defeated Southeast Missouri State 1-0; defeated Eastern Kentucky 1-0 (OT)

Nyomi Devine and Harriet Withers each started both games this week as Murray State secured their second conference title in three years and secured an NCAA Tournament berth in the process. Devine played all 183 minutes of game time, whilst Withers played 84 minutes in the win over Southeast Missouri State and 86 minutes in the championship game victory over Eastern Kentucky, tallying five shots on target in the latter contest.

Oregon State (Olivia Ellis)

This week: defeated Oregon 1-0

Olivia Ellis did not feature in Oregon State’s final day rivalry win over Oregon.

Pacific (Ellie Papalexiou)

This week: lost 1-0 to Saint Mary’s

Ellie Papalexiou did not feature in Pacific’s loss to Saint Mary’s.

St. Francis (Shelby Milton)

This week: defeated Central Connecticut State 2-1; defeated Fairleigh Dickinson 3-2 on penalties (0-0 AET)

Shelby Milton did not feature for St. Francis in either game this weekend as the Red Flash secured an NCAA Tournament berth after edging Fairleigh Dickinson on penalties in the Northeast Conference tournament final.

Southeast Missouri State (Maddy Cornell)

This week: lost 1-0 to Murray State

Maddy Cornell started for Southeast Missouri State in their Ohio Valley Conference semi-final loss to Murray State, playing 55 minutes.

Stanford (Beattie Goad)

This week: defeated California 1-0

Beattie Goad did not feature for Stanford in their 1-0 win over California.

Texas Southern (Paige Hayward)

This week: defeated Prairie View A&M 1-0; lost 6-5 on penalties to Alabama State (1-1 AET)

Paige Hayward started both games in her final SWAC conference tournament, setting the Texas Southern career goalscoring record with the game’s only goal in the quarter-final win over hosts Prairie View A&M.

UCLA (Teagan Micah)

This week: defeated USC 3-2 (OT)

Teagan Micah came off the bench to play the second half and overtime as senior Siri Ervik was afforded the start in UCLA’s final regular season game. Micah was not forced into any saves and kept a 46 minute clean sheet as UCLA secured the win in front of a regular season record 11,925 fans.

Western Carolina (Kate Swartwout)

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

Kate Swartwout did not feature in the Catamounts’ boilover semifinal win over Furman, but came off the bench to play a short cameo in the championship game loss to UNC Greensboro.

William & Mary (Lorena Bugden)

This week: lost 1-0 to Hofstra

Lorena Bugden did not feature in William & Mary’s season-ending semi-final loss to Hofstra.

2015 End Of Season Awards

2015 has been a fairly successful year for the Australians in NCAA Division I college women’s soccer. Four teams reached the NCAA Tournament, with two of those being sides that won their conference tournaments: Murray State and Albany. There have been many success stories, such as the brilliant season that Harriet Withers enjoyed as she picked up the Ohio Valley Conference Offensive Player Of The Year award, through to players such as Siena Senatore and Isabel Hodgson establishing themselves as starters in their freshman year. At the end of the day, only so many players can receive awards though, so here they are: the 2015 College Matildas End Of Season Awards.

Freshman Of The Year: Tia Gavin (Washington State)

Restoring the Australian presence at Washington State after Rachael Doyle’s graduation after the 2013 season, Tia saw playing time from the outset at Pullman and made an impact immediately, notching a goal and an assist in her first weekend of college play. The former Western Sydney Wanderers striker was not afforded as much playing time in conference play as she had seen during the early parts of the year, but was still able to tack on a second goal later in the year, a sublime curling strike from the edge of the area. By the end of the season, Tia had almost become known as an impact player for the Cougars, providing a solid backup option to allow starters to be rotated out and rest for longer periods, especially in the dying embers of the first half, where Tia’s presence was almost a guarantee from about the 35 minute mark.

Goalkeeper Of The Year: Georgia Rowntree (Wyoming)

As the only Australian goalkeeper in Division I, this award was never really in doubt. However, Georgia was the starting goalkeeper for much of the season for Wyoming, as coach Pete Cuadrado continued to rotate his goalkeepers as he has done for many seasons. Sharing minutes with local player Cassidy Entsminger, the pair became a solid presence between the posts for the Cowgirls throughout the season.

Defender Of The Year: Emily Hulbert (Hofstra)

Emily had her minutes slightly reduced from last season, but that didn’t stop the former Melbourne Victory player from making an impact as she was used more in a cameo role off the bench, providing half an hour or so of support in many games. None of these cameos was more important than her goal just before halftime in the side’s last regular season conference game which proved to be the game winner and proved to be the goal that secured Hofstra the Colonial Athletic Association regular season title, and definitely helped to improve the side’s seeding in the NCAA Tournament, in which Hofstra were the only side featuring Australians to win their opening round game.

Midfielder Of The Year, Senior Of The Year: Shelbi Vienna-Hallam (Alabama State)

Originally listed as a defender/forward for Alabama State, Shelbi reverted to a deep-lying midfield role for much of the season for the Hornets, providing experience in front of the back four in a side that went all the way to the SWAC championship game. Whilst this meant her output on the stat sheet diminished in comparison to 2014, in which the Tasmanian won Player Of The Year, Shelbi was still a vital cog in the Alabama State machine. Shelbi was also utilised in various other positions throughout the season, spending time in defence, midfield, and leading the line up front.

Junior Of The Year, Breakout Player Of The Year: Laura Johns (Massachusetts)

After two seasons spent mainly coming off the bench for Massachusetts, Laura was finally able to secure a starting spot for a significant amount of games this season. The Adelaide junior became a regular in the starting frontline, playing around 50 minutes a game and increasing her minutes markedly. The South Australian junior was also able to tee up teammates for goals at some crucial moments as Massachusetts went within a whisker of reaching the Atlantic 10 Tournament.

Player Of The Year, Forward Of The Year, Sophomore Of The Year, Top Goalscorer (11 goals), Top Assists (7 assists): Harriet Withers (Murray State)

Having been named Ohio Valley Conference Offensive Player Of The Year, it is hardly unusual that Harriet Withers is also our player of the year. Harriet led the line for a Murray State team that finished a perfect 10-0 in conference league play, before winning the conference tournament to reach the NCAA Tournament, where the side unfortunately went down 1-0 to heavily favoured Ole Miss. The sophomore out of Palm Beach scored 11 goals this season, and also tacked on 7 assists, including one on the winning goal in the Ohio Valley Conference championship game which sent Murray State to the NCAA Tournament and secured a perfect conference season.

Player Of The Year Votes:

1st: Harriet Withers (24 votes)
2nd: Shelbi Vienna-Hallam (9 votes)
3rd: Emily Hulbert (6 votes)

Week 8 Wrap

The big Aussie v Aussie matchup between Colorado and Washington State didn’t disappoint, as Tia Gavin scored her second goal of the season, and it was a cracker. Elsewhere, Murray State set a school record for best start to a conference season and Alabama State put themselves right in the mix for the conference regular season title.

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert)

This week’s results: defeated Towson 2-1 (2OT), drew with James Madison 1-1 (2OT)

Hofstra’s campaign for an at-large national tournament bid took a hit this weekend with a draw against James Madison, but the side remain well in the hunt at this stage thanks to a win against Towson. It didn’t come easy though, as the lowly rated Towson scrapped and held on and forced overtime against the more favoured Pride. Early on, it looked as if it would be smooth sailing for Hofstra as Jenn Buoncore scored in the 19th minute. However, despite outshooting Towson 10-4 in the first half, Hofstra couldn’t find a second goal. It would go on to cost them, too, as an even more lopsided shot count in the second half only served to see the Pride waste a number of chances and Towson score an equaliser in the 75th minute. Thankfully, Hofstra were not punished for their inefficiency as Jill Mulholland netted a winner in the 102nd minute. It was an oddly similar story against James Madison, as Hofstra once again outshot their opponents, this time 19-8. However, this time neither team could score until late, and it was James Madison who opened the scoring in the 82nd minute. You can never count out a team with Leah Galton though, and the English striker tied things up just two minutes later. Overtime couldn’t split them, and it finished 1-1, a result that will surely frustrate Hofstra. Emily Hulbert came off the bench in both games, playing 19 minutes against Towson and a solid 40 minutes against James Madison.

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

This week’s results: drew with New Mexico 0-0, lost to San Diego State 2-1

It was always going to be a tough week for Wyoming this week, but the Cowgirls did manage to secure a draw from their first game. Remarkably, Wyoming came out of the gates firing, outshooting New Mexico 8-1 in the first half, but were unable to find a goal. Things really tightened up in the second half, with neither team managing many quality chances and at the end of the day, a draw was always the most likely result as the sides largely cancelled each other out. San Diego State offered more of a challenge to the Cowgirls, and it showed as Wyoming were only able to manage four shots in 90 minutes, compared to the Aztecs’ 12. Despite this, all the scoring came in a 13 minute period early in the game. Angela Mitchell opened the scoring for San Diego State in the 12th minute, before Aussie freshman Annika Clayton steered home Shaina Ashouri’s corner for the equaliser just 8 minutes later. It didn’t stay even for long though, as Mitchell put San Diego State ahead in the 24th minute, and the score remained 2-1 until fulltime. All four available Aussies started both games, with Georgia Rowntree playing the first 45 minutes in both games and the others playing the majority of minutes in both games, with Alisha Bass playing all 200 minutes of game time over the weekend.

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)

This week’s results: defeated Belmont 1-0, defeated Jacksonville State 1-0

Murray State moved to 5-0 in Ohio Valley Conference play for the first time in their history thanks to victories this weekend over Belmont and Jacksonville State. It was one of the most fortunate victories you’ll see all season against Belmont, too. The Racers had just seven shots to Belmont’s 14, only two of them were on target, and the chance that led to the lone goal came from a deflection off a Belmont defender, an 18th minute goal to Taylor Stevens. Still, Murray State were the side that took their chance, whereas Belmont couldn’t convert on any of their 14 chances. The more dominant Murray State side that we’ve come to see this season was back in action against Jacksonville State. The Racers had 16 shots, and Jacksonville State could only trouble the Racers’ goalkeeper three times throughout the entire match. It did take until the 68th minute for Murray State to break the deadlock courtesy of a goal to Marissa Burroughs, but they were rarely troubled in this one. Nyomi Devine played the full 90 minutes in both games this weekend, whilst Harriet Withers had an oddly quiet weekend, but played 66 minutes against Belmont and 56 minutes against Jacksonville State.

Colorado (Kahlia Hogg, Alexandra Huynh)

This week’s results: drew with Washington 1-1 (2OT), lost to Washington State 3-0

Colorado welcomed the two Washington Pac-12 schools to Boulder this weekend, but the guests were less than gracious as the Buffaloes finished the weekend without a win. Colorado perhaps just edged the run of play against Washington, but were left chasing an equaliser early as they conceded a goal to Kimberley Keever in just the 11th minute. Still down 1-0 at halftime, the Buffaloes peppered the Washington goal in the second half, and it paid dividends as Heather Ward scored from a Joss Orejel corner in the 58th minute. 11 shots in the second half for Colorado couldn’t find a second goal, and the game proceeded to overtime. Washington then came out and gave Colorado some of their own medicine, but couldn’t find a winner and it finished 1-1. Things weren’t quite so close against Washington State, an Aussie v Aussie matchup between Alex Huynh and Tia Gavin. The Cougars took their chances early, scoring in the 15th and 17th minutes through Kaitlyn Johnson and Kourtney Guetlein. The Buffaloes outshot Washington State 20-9, but it was Washington State who put their shots out of the keeper’s reach, and there wouldn’t be many goalkeepers in college soccer who could have saved Tia Gavin’s curling effort into the top corner in the 71st minute to seal a 3-0 win for Washington State. Alex Huynh played all 110 minutes against Washington, before playing 53 minutes against Washington State.

Washington State (Tia Gavin)

This week’s results: defeated Utah 1-0, defeated Colorado 3-0

Washington State kept their stellar season going with two shutout victories on the road this weekend. First up, they played Utah in a game that saw the Cougars play a game of “score early and hang on”. A looping header from Kaitlyn Johnson in the 9th minute was enough to give Washington State a win as they could only get 4 shots on target for the entire game. Fortunately, Utah could only get five on target and goalkeeper Ella Dederick was up to the task on all occasions. Then came the game against Colorado, where Tia Gavin faced off against fellow Colorado’s own Aussie, junior defender Alex Huynh. A slightly leaky Washington State defence gave up 11 shots on target to Colorado, but once again Dederick was up to the task. Two goals in three minutes early on from Kaitlyn Johnson and Kourtney Guetlein put the Cougars out to an early lead, and with Dederick appearing to turn herself into a human wall of some sort, two seemed to be enough. But Tia Gavin was having none of that – a curling effort from the top left corner of the box into the top right corner left Colorado goalkeeper Scout Watson with zero chance, and took the score to 3-0, which is how the game finished. That goal came as part of a 29 minute cameo off the bench for Tia, after playing just 7 minutes against Utah.

Winthrop (Jai Jackson)

This week’s result: lost to Coastal Carolina 5-1

Winthrop were always the underdogs in this game against Coastal Carolina, but nobody quite expected the Chanticleers to rack up five goals in an absolute drubbing. After going down 1-0 on the 15 minute mark, Winthrop really shot themselves in the foot as they gave up a penalty just three minutes later, which was duly converted by Coastal Carolina’s Darbie Kelley. A third goal before the half-hour mark for Coastal Carolina meant the game was slipping away from Winthrop’s grasp at a rapid rate, but a goal in just the second minute of the second half gave the Eagles life. Unfortunately, that was as close as the Eagles would come, as Coastal Carolina once again scored two quick goals in the 73rd and 74th minutes to seal a 5-1 win. Jai Jackson came off the bench for Winthrop as usual, but was limited to just 27 minutes in this match.

Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)

This week’s result: lost to Delaware 1-0

Drexel slipped to their second consecutive loss and to a 1-4 record in conference play with this loss to Delaware in a match they had more than their fair share of chances in. Unfortunately, despite outshooting Delaware 6-5 in the first half, the Dragons couldn’t actually test the opposition goalkeeper but some good work from the defence kept the score tied at 0-0 going into the break. Delaware did eventually break the deadlock in the 58th minute as Drexel’s attempts to stop Natalie Zelenky could only last so long as she buried her 9th goal of the season. Drexel did manage to test the Blue Hens’ goalkeeper three times in the second half, but the game fairly petered out and finished 1-0. Emma Heckenberg’s topsy-turvy season continued as the freshman saw 22 minutes of playing time, registering a single shot.

East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson)

This week’s results: drew with Mercer 1-1 (2OT), defeated The Citadel 8-0

East Tennessee dropped their first result of the conference season with a draw against Mercer, but remain undefeated at 5-1 thanks to an 8-0 dismantling of The Citadel in their second match of the weekend. All the scoring came in the early parts against Mercer, as the Buccaneers went down 1-0 in the 13th minute despite dominating the play. East Tennessee State bounced back quickly though as a 21st minute goal from Molly Collinson tied things up. East Tennessee State dominated throughout the match, outshooting Mercer 19-7 but somehow couldn’t find another goal. To be fair, they didn’t give themselves as many chances as they should have, with only 7 shots on target. Perhaps they were saving their goals for the second game of the match, as the Buccaneers scored four goals in the first 10 minutes to put the result out of The Citadel’s grasp early on. An own goal in the 38th minute took the score to 5-0, and then, just for good measure, ETSU knocked home another three in the second half to give the side an 8-0 win on Senior Day. Isabel Hodgson played all 110 minutes against Mercer, but with some of the seniors being given more of a run on their big day, played 45 against The Citadel.

Alabama State (Shelbi Vienna-Hallam)

This week’s results: defeated Southern 6-0, defeated Jackson State 2-0

After last week’s slightly underwhelming performance in a loss to Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Alabama State hit back in the best way possible with two solid wins. The Hornets were always expected to put Southern to the sword, but a 6-0 win is a turn-up for the books in anyone’s language. Aaliyah Lewis opened the scoring in the 10th minute, before Aussie senior Shelbi Vienna-Hallam headed home for the Hornets’ second seven minutes later. Souhern were able to keep Alabama State out for the remainder of the first half, but the Hornets came out firing again in the second half. Larissa White scored just two minutes after the break, before Aaliyah Lewis added her second in the 53rd minute. Ariela Lewis and Mooregan Elder added to the Jaguars’ misery later in the second half to give the Hornets a 6-0 victory. Beating Southern 6-0 is one thing, but beating James Madison is another story entirely. In a match that saw the two sides combine for 38 shots, it was Emily Fleming who did the damage for Alabama State. The Canadian freshman scored twice in the first 15 minutes of the second half, assisted both times by Ariela Lewis, to give the Hornets a vital victory as they continue their hunt for the SWAC regular season title. Shelbi Vienna-Hallam played 90 minutes in both games, scoring the second goal against Southern.

Massachusetts (Laura Johns)

This week’s result: lost to George Washington 1-0

Massachusetts managed to keep things close as underdogs against George Washington, but in the end they couldn’t quite manage to get the win and saw their record fall to 4-5-3. It was a very even contest for the majority of the first half, but as things wound down, George Washington scored the only goal of the game as Nicole Belfonti directed a corner home in the 41st minute for the only goal of the game. Massachusetts found chances hard to come by in the second half as they chased an equaliser as they were only able to get three shots away in the final 45 minutes. Laura Johns came off the bench but only saw 22 minutes of playing time, managing to register one shot on target.

Player Of The Year Points:

3: Shelbi Vienna-Hallam (Alabama State)
2: Tia Gavin (Washington State)
1: Annika Clayton (Wyoming)

Week 7 Wrap

It was a less than stellar weekend for the Aussies this weekend, or at least for their teams. No less than three Aussies scored goals in losing efforts over the weekend, but Harriet Withers had a goal and two assists across the weekend to lead Murray State to a pair of wins.

Massachusetts (Laura Johns)

This week’s results: defeated La Salle 1-0 (2OT), drew with Richmond 2-2 (2OT)

Massachusetts continued their steady yet unspectacular progress through this season with a win and a draw to take their season record to 4-3-3. One thing that could not be described as unspectacular is the finish to the side’s win over La Salle which took the Minutewomen to four straight wins. Despite peppering La Salle with 27 shots, the Minutewomen were unable to find a goal until, with her 3rd shot in the second overtime period alone, Julia Weithofer scored with just 46 seconds remaining. The winning streak may have been snapped against Richmond, but the unbeaten streak remains alive at 5 games after a 2-2 draw with Richmond. The Minutewomen weren’t quite so dominant in this one, but in a free-flowing match in which the sides again combined for 40 shots, there was no way we would see another game like the La Salle game where all those shots would be wasted. However, for the first hour of the game it looked as if it would go that way. The first goal came from UMass in the 63rd minute before Richmond hit back with two of their own before a thrilling equaliser came for UMass. With just five seconds to play, Massachusetts’ Megan Burke whipped in a corner and it was met by the head of Icelandic import Rebekka Sverrisdottir for the goal to make it 2-2. Unfortunately, no goals could be found in the 20 minutes of overtime and the game ended all square. Laura Johns started both games this weekend, playing 66 minutes against La Salle and then 48 against Richmond.

Albany (Claire Urquhart)

This week’s results: defeated Binghamton 2-1, lost to New Hampshire 1-0

It was a slightly underwhelming weekend for Albany, as a win against Binghamton that was all too close was followed by a loss to New Hampshire. Albany were expected to easily account for Binghamton, but instead were outshot 17-8 by their opponents and had goalkeeper Alanna Brennan to thank for even being in the game, let alone winning it. Albany did take the lead late in the first half through Alexa Schneider, but gave up the almost inevitable equaliser on a corner in the 69th minute. 4 minutes later though, Albany scored after a free kick deflected into Vivian Vega’s path, and she slotted it home for the winner. An early goal proved decisive for New Hampshire in the weekend’s second game, as Brooke Murphy lashed home a 25 yard shot into the bottom left corner in the 12th minute. Albany outshot New Hampshire 14-6 in the second half, but with only four shots on target for the entire game, the Great Danes were always going to struggle to score, and it proved to be their downfall. Unfortunately, there was no game time this weekend for Claire Urquhart.

Creighton (Anastasia McCleary)

This week’s results: lost to DePaul 4-0, defeated Villanova 3-1

Creighton more or less got the results that were expected this weekend as they had a win and a loss against teams of highly contrasting quality. Against the defending conference champions DePaul, the Bluejays held out their opponents for most of the first half but conceded in the 38th minute to go to the break down 1-0. After failing to register a shot in the first half, Creighton managed nine in the second, but DePaul were far more ruthless in their finishing. A second goal just shy of the hour mark made the score 2-0, but Creighton were still in the game with 10 minutes left. The Blue Demons kicked again though, notching another couple of goals to blow the scoreline out and make the game look a lot less close than it was. Creighton would have their own day in the sun against Villanova, but not before a first hour in which Villanova looked a big chance to win, even taking the lead in the 55th minute. That goal only served to spark Creighton into life though, and three goals in the last half hour gave Creighton their 9th victory of the season. Anastasia McCleary came off the bench in both games but was afforded little chance to make an impact, playing just 10 minutes or so in each game.

Washington State (Tia Gavin)

This week’s results: lost to USC 1-0, defeated UCLA 4-2

It was a mixed weekend for Washington State, but with a win and a loss the Cougars are still sitting pretty at 9-2 for the season so far. In what was a real battle of defences, where neither team looked too likely to score, it eventually came down to a goalkeeping error from the Cougars which was capitalised on by USC’s star transfer from Notre Dame, Morgan Andrews. The 78th minute goal proved to be decisive as USC goalkeeper Sammy Jo Prudhomme kept out everything the Washington State attack could throw at her. It was a happier story for the Cougars as they heaped more misery on UCLA’s rapidly deteriorating campaign. Remarkably, the sides each had 15 shots with 7 on target, but Washington State made far more of their chances. The Cougars jumped out to a 2-0 lead with goals in the 26th and 39th minutes and held that until halftime. They’re not known as the Cardiac Cougs for nothing though, and allowed UCLA two goals in the space of 76 seconds just after halftime to see the game tied at 2-2 with 40 minutes to play. Goals from Kaitlyn Johnson and Kourtney Guetlein put Washington State back in front though, and the game ended at 4-2. Tia Gavin came off the bench in both games, with one particular shot against UCLA of note – a cannon from outside the box was saved by the UCLA goalkeeper, but whispers around the ground suggest it may have crossed the line.

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)

This week’s results: defeated Tennessee-Martin 4-3, defeated Southeast Missouri State 4-1

Murray State’s attack fired to the tuned of eight goals this weekend, and whilst the defence was slightly leaky at times, the Racers still put together two more wins to add to what is now a more than respectable 7-4-0 record. A fast and furious game against Tennessee-Martin opened the weekend for the Racers, as they jumped out a 2-0 lead inside 20 minutes courtesy of Taylor Stevens and Harriet Withers, but they had given up that lead by halftime and the teams went to the sheds tied at 2-2. Withers scored her second of the game early in the second half before UT-Martin again equalised. The Racers were not to be denied, and a 71st minute strike by Marissa Burroughs was enough to get the win for Murray State. Southeast Missouri State weren’t afforded quite the same chances in the second match of the weekend as Murray State dominated. With Harriet Withers assisting on the first two goals, the Racers jumped out to a 4-0 lead by halftime as they utterly shocked the Redhawks. Australian Jenna Collingridge scored to get one back for Southeast Missouri State in the 77th minute but the damage was well and truly done. As well as Harriet Withers’ remarkable exploits this weekend, Nyomi Devine once again played 90 minutes in both games as an integral part of the defence.

Alabama State (Shelbi Vienna-Hallam)

This week’s results: defeated Grambling State 1-0, lost to Arkansas-Pine Bluff 2-1

With two star players out through suspension, what had looked to be a two-win weekend for Alabama State turned into an incredibly testing one, and it showed. Whilst Grambling State were always unlikely to trouble the Hornets, they did prove to be a real nuisance as Alabama State fired 18 shots at them but could only find one goal. That goal did come early, in the 23rd minute, but any side in the SWAC would miss two players of the Lewis sisters’ quality, and it showed as Alabama State just couldn’t find a second goal. Eventually, Grambling State’s inability to find a goal was enough to give Alabama State the win. The match against Arkansas-Pine Bluff may have resulted in a 2-1 loss, but it wasn’t all bad news as Shelbi Vienna-Hallam scored her first goal of the season, a 25th minute equaliser after UAPB had scored just 3 minutes earlier. Unfortunately, in the 62nd minute, Arkansas-Pine Bluff scored again to send Alabama State to their first conference loss of the season.

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert)

This week’s results: lost to UNC Wilmington 2-1 (OT), defeated College of Charleston 5-1

UNC Wilmington have been a surprising side so far this season, but Hofstra were still expected to deal with them in this match between Colonial Athletic Association high-flyers. What happened instead was 80 minutes where very little happened, and then 11 minutes in which EVERYTHING happened. UNC Wilmington opened the scoring in the 83rd minute, but Hofstra were able to score just 4 minutes later through Kristin Desmond to send the game into overtime. Obviously the taste for quick goals was to everybody’s liking though, as Maddie McCormack scored the winner for UNCW just 90 seconds into the extra period to stun the Pride. Hofstra were expected to do more than just bounce back against College of Charleston and did just that, but for the first hour the underdogs were well in it. Matching Hofstra shot for shot and down just 1-0, it took a goal from Leah Galton (who else?) to open the floodgates for the Pride. Three goals followed in the next 20 minutes to take Hofstra to 5-0, and whilst the Pride defence won’t be happy about conceding a late goal, it mattered little to the result. Emily Hulbert made her usual appearances off the bench, only playing 7 minutes against UNC Wilmington before seeing half an hour on the field against College of Charleston.

East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson)

This week’s result: defeated Western Carolina 3-1

East Tennessee State continued their perfect start to conference play, defeating Western Carolina 3-1 to move to 3-0 and 8-4 overall. The Buccaneers made it hard for themselves early, conceding an own goal in the 20th minute but they hit back just before the break through Emily McKerlie. ETSU continued to edge the run of play, but made their fans sweat until the 81st minute when Sarah Zadrazil scored the go-ahead goal. Four minutes later, Simona Koren scored the Buccaneers’ third to seal the win to remain one of just two teams with perfect records in the Southern Conference. Still recovering from a rib injury, Isabel Hodgson managed to play a respectable 60 minutes, registering one shot.

Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)

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

Stuck in the middle of the Colonial Athletic Association, Drexel had a win against lowly Towson before losing to more fancied James Madison, and this may be the way many of their weekends go. Surprisingly, Towson took the lead over the Dragons in the 9th minute after a shot deflected in off a Drexel player and was ruled an own goal. It mattered little, as Drexel got on the scoresheet through Danish import Wilhelmina Hauch-Fausboll who headed home in the 16th minute. Hauch-Fausboll followed up with a second in the 65th minute before Vanessa Kara beat the goalkeeper with a one-on-one effort to seal the game in the dying stages. Drexel managed to keep things close against James Madison, but couldn’t find a goal as they narrowly outshot the Dukes 12-11. In the end, a block from a Drexel defender in the 56th minute made its way to the feet of James Madison striker Ashley Herndon, who finished with aplomb for the game’s only goal. Unfortunately, after starting last week, Emma Heckenberg didn’t see any playing time this weekend.

Southeast Missouri State (Jenna Collingridge, Maddy Cornell, Siena Senatore)

This week’s results: lost to Austin Peay 2-0, lost to Murray State 4-1

Southeast Missouri State had a decent start to their conference regular season title defence with a win and a draw last week, but things don’t look quite so good now after two losses this weekend dropped them to seventh in the Ohio Valley Conference. In what was an admittedly tough game against Austin Peay, the Redhawks’ attack simply failed to fire as they forced the Austin Peay goalkeeper into just two saves for the entire match. The Governors were slightly wasteful in the first half, but rendered that moot as two second half goals saw them cruise to the win. Murray State were tipped to be an even more daunting proposition, but nobody was expecting the Racers to be up 4-0 inside 40 minutes. Harriet Withers showed no mercy to fellow Aussie Siena Senatore and the rest of the SEMO defence as she assisted on Murray State’s first two goals. Two more goals in the first half had the game finished by the halftime whistle, but Aussie senior midfielder Jenna Collingridge scored a peach of a goal in one of the Redhawks’ few positive moments in the game. Siena Senatore started in both games this weekend, but unfortunately there was no playing time to be found for Maddy Cornell this weekend.

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

This week’s results: defeated Air Force 1-0, lost to Colorado College 2-1 (OT)

Wyoming started this weekend at 1-1 in conference play, and remain steady at 2-2 after a win and a loss this weekend. The win came against Air Force, a match in which Wyoming’s tactic of finding good chances bested Air Force’s tactic of finding any chances, as 8 shots on target from 12 led to the lone goal of the game, whereas Air Force had 18 shots but could only get 5 of these on target. Shaina Ashouri continued her great season, scoring in the 55th minute after she picked up a deflection and slotted it home, whilst Georgia Rowntree started and kept a clean sheet throughout the first 45 minutes before being rotated out. Unfortunately, Wyoming’s finishing wasn’t quite so accurate against Colorado College. The Cowgirls outshot their opponents 19-6, but amazingly Colorado College had more shots on target, 5-4. One of those shots on target for Wyoming did belong to Alisha Bass though, whose penalty restored parity late in the first half after Colorado College had taken an early lead. The remainder of the game passed with plenty of shots but no goals, and we moved to extra time. You can’t stop Sarah Schweiss for too long though, and the Colorado College star headed home the winner in the 97th minute. All four available Aussies started in both games, with all bar Georgia Rowntree playing the majority of minutes for the weekend.

Colorado (Kahlia Hogg, Alex Huynh)

This week’s results: lost to Oregon 1-0, lost to Oregon State 2-0

Colorado came up huge last weekend with a win over California, but that will be all for nothing if they can’t get two wins on this away trip to Oregon.

That was the opening of the preview of Colorado’s weekend. And, as it turned out, Colorado dropped both games on this trip to the Pacific Northwest to severely dent their chances of reaching the national tournament. The Buffaloes can really have no complaints about either result, though. Oregon hung with Colorado for the entire game, and eventually slotted the lone goal of the game in the 74th minute as neither team had many clear-cut chances. In fact, Colorado had just two shots on target for the entire match. Against Oregon State, things were even worse. The Beavers outshot Colorado 17-10, and Colorado didn’t manage to so much as force a corner all game. Oregon State opened the scoring just before the half-hour mark, and scored the sealer with five minutes to play to send the Buffs home winless. Alex Huynh played a full match against Oregon, before playing 81 minutes against Oregon State and registering two shots despite playing in defence. Once again, Kahlia Hogg was out with injury.

Winthrop (Jai Jackson)

This week’s result: lost to High Point 2-0

Despite hanging with High Point for the majority of the game, Winthrop were undone by a slow start to the second half as the Panthers scored two goals in the first seven minutes after the break to take a lead that they would not surrender. Winthrop had found it tough throughout the first half to get anything done in attack and failed to register a single shot, but had also stifled High Point, who could only manage three of their own. After conceding those two goals, Winthrop could still only get one shot on target for the entire match in horrendous conditions which High Point adapted to far better. Jai Jackson came off the bench, and played 41 minutes.

Player Of The Year Points:

3: Harriet Withers (Murray State)
2: Alisha Bass (Wyoming)
1: Shelbi Vienna-Hallam (Alabama State)

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 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.