Reloading: Six Aussie attackers set for breakout seasons

Australians in NCAA Division I women’s soccer scored 22 goals and tallied 26 assists in 2018. However, 11 of those goals and 16 of those assists came via players who will not be returning to college in 2019, either due to graduation or other reasons. Despite a comparative lack of attacking output among the returning players, there are a number of players who are yet to regularly add their names to the scoresheet that could yet have breakout seasons and provide memorable moments this year. College Matildas takes a look at four players and one duo that could all make significant impacts for their teams in 2019.

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(Featured Image Credit: Bill Dally/ISIPhotos.com)

Demi Koulizakis (Texas Tech)

Koulizakis came on in leaps and bounds in her junior season, and with a number of spots opening up in the Texas Tech front line, the senior from Sydney now has her best opportunity yet to cement a spot in the starting lineup. Already named Texas Tech’s Most Improved Player in 2018 by her teammates, the versatile attacking player now has the chance to show that last season wasn’t simply a one-off, with three spots in the midfield and front line up for grabs.

Koulizakis’ outstanding spring form has her in the box seat to nail down a starting berth after finishing the campaign with four goals and an assist, including a hat-trick against Lubbock Christian. Furthermore, the senior’s cause will hardly have been harmed by spending her offseason playing in the NPLNSW competition for a Sydney Olympic side featuring the likes of Matildas midfielder Teresa Polias as well as a number of players with W-League experience.

Beattie Goad (Stanford)

Three seasons at Stanford playing a supporting role behind some of the most talented players to pull on a Cardinal jersey means Goad has served an unusually long apprenticeship, but the opportunity has now presented itself for the Victorian to serve as an integral part of the starting lineup. Goad has started in 24 of her 64 appearances for Stanford, and last season tallied 2 goals and 3 assists, both career highs for a single season as the Cardinal returned to the College Cup as defending champions before falling to eventual champions Florida State in the semi-finals.

What position the senior fills remains to be seen, but there is no doubt that Goad can become a mainstay of the Stanford starting eleven in her final season, and if she does indeed fill an attacking role, the Victorian will have plenty of opportunities to both tee up teammates and score goals herself.

Tessa Calabria (Nicholls State)

Injury restricted the junior college transfer to just 6 appearances in 2018, but Calabria comes into her final season of collegiate soccer looking to make up for lost time in a Nicholls State side that could really use her goalscoring prowess. Having scored 25 goals and contributed 16 assists during two years at Iowa Lakes Community College, Calabria knows not only how to find the back of the net, but tee up her teammates, which in turn could help her develop a key partnership with fellow Australian Kristy Helmers, who will be itching to return to the goalscoring form that saw the senior tally 6 goals in her freshman season.

With Western Australian senior Shauni Reid also expected to spend time up front, Calabria’s return could be the catalyst for the Australian trio to return Nicholls State to a similar level that the program found itself at in the days of Australian midfielder Jess Coates, who helped the Colonels to their last winning seasons in 2013 and 2014.

Alyssa Van Heurck (La Salle)

A defender by trade, Van Heurck made the move into a wide attacking role in her first season at La Salle and took to the change like a duck to water. Although the majority of her appearances were cameos of 15-25 minutes, Van Heurck eventually six starts in her freshman season, tallying a single goal and playing in excess of 40 minutes in the final two games of the campaign.

Whilst a couple of more experienced players are returning this season after missing 2018 due to injury, there remain a number of positions open in the La Salle starting eleven, and Van Heurck is certainly in the running for a more prominent berth in the rotation. Even if the Western Australian isn’t able to nail down a starting berth, 2019 could serve as an excellent setup year as the Explorers will again need to replace a number of seniors in 2020.

Caitlin Pickett & Indianna Asimus (Wyoming) 

Pickett and Asimus both featured regularly for Wyoming in their freshman seasons in 2018, but with the loss of a couple of key pieces of the Cowgirls’ attack, the Australian duo will become even more crucial as the team from Laramie looks to turn last year’s Mountain West Conference regular season title into a conference championship and secure an NCAA Tournament berth. Both of Pickett’s goals in 2018 came in sudden death overtime, and whilst those clutch plays are always welcomed, the sophomore will be counted on to improve upon that number to keep the Cowgirls flying high in 2019.

Meanwhile, Asimus is yet to tally a goal or an assist, but having made nine starts last season and averaged 47 minutes per appearance, the Wyoming coaching staff obviously have faith in the sophomore to emerge as an offensive weapon going forward. Whether that translates into tangible returns remains to be seen, but if Asimus and Pickett both fire this season, Mountain West Conference defences are in a world of trouble.

2018 End Of Season Wrap

(Featured Image Credit: University of Wyoming Media Relations)

As was the case in 2017, we saw 30 Australians take to the pitch in NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer this season. Although the season didn’t end with a national champion for the first time in three years, there was still no shortage of players enjoying outstanding campaigns in a thoroughly entertaining 2018, with both familiar faces and new stars putting on a show.

(33 Australians were on rosters at the end of the season. However, Caitlin Cantrill, Laura Farrelly, and Grace Watson-Carr did not feature this season and as such are not featured below.) 

Indianna Asimus (Wyoming)
Team Record:
12-4-4 (Mountain West Conference Semi-Finals)
Stats: 20 games, 9 starts, 0 goals, 0 assists

Indianna Asimus enjoyed a solid first college season. (Photo Credit: University of Wyoming Media Relations)

Indianna Asimus may have been the lesser used of the four Australians on the Wyoming roster, but nonetheless the freshman had enough of an impact for the Cowgirls to suggest that her playing time will increase going forward. Asimus started each of the final five games of the season, and although the freshman didn’t manage a goal, she did rattle off seven shots in the final two games. That alone is evidence in itself that Asimus found herself in good positions, which will serve her well over the next three seasons, particularly as she looks to snag one of the positions left by the six graduating seniors from the 2017 team.

Gaby Bentley (Old Dominion)
Team Record:
8-7-4 (Conference USA Quarter-Finals)
Stats: 14 games, 2 goals, 0 assists

An impact player off the bench for much of the season, Gaby Bentley may not have started every game but gave just as much as many of the starters for an Old Dominion side that once again found itself in the Conference USA Tournament before being knocked out in the quarter-finals for the third consecutive season. Although her general play was solid throughout the season, Bentley also doubled her scoring output from last season, tallying two goals for the season. With a number of midfielders graduating after the 2018 season, Bentley may just find herself in the starting lineup on a more regular basis in her senior year. 

Lorena Bugden (William & Mary)
Team Record:
6-10-1
Stats: 5 games, 1 start, 0 goals, 0 assists

Having spent her first season at William & Mary recovering from injury, new issues plagued Lorena Bugden in her sophomore year with the Tribe, culminating in just five appearances in a tough season on both a personal level and for the team. Under a new coach for the 2018 campaign, Bugden earned a start in one of her appearances, but the injury problems curtailed what could have been a promising season that may have set the sophomore up for the next couple of seasons at William & Mary. As it is, Bugden will have to hit the ground running in 2019 in order to put together the kind of season she is capable of producing.

Jodie Burchell (Towson)
Team Record:
4-12-3
Stats: 14 games, 7 starts, 1 goal, 0 assists

Freshman Jodie Burchell took a while to establish herself in the Towson side, but once she did, she latched onto her spot and eventually entrenched herself as a member of the starting lineup. Despite playing just 14 games, all of Burchell’s seven starts came in the last eight games of the season. Although the freshman came up with only a single goal in her 485 minutes on the pitch, Burchell was able to fashion chances on occasion, finishing with 10 shots for the season in a solid first campaign in college soccer.

Tessa Calabria (Nicholls State)
Team Record:
3-15-0
Stats: 6 games, 1 start, 0 goals, 1 assist

Although it was a disappointing season for Nicholls State, things began promisingly for Tessa Calabria, starting her first game and playing more than hour in two of her first three appearances before picking up an assist against Alcorn State in the first game of September. However, that would be the last time the junior college transfer would feature in 2018, as injury reared its ugly head and forced the South Australian out for the remainder of the season. However, Calabria will return next season and the Colonels could certainly use her presence as despite scoring 17 goals, 7 of those came from senior Francesca Curteis, and that production will need to be replaced if the team is to improve on this season’s three wins.

Sarah Clark (Chicago State)
Team Record:
0-16-1
Stats: 8 games, 4 starts, 0 goals, 0 assists

Sarah Clark’s first season in Division I after two successful seasons at Lassen Community College looked promising as the Queenslander made four starts in her first eight appearances for the struggling Cougars. However, Clark’s season ended prematurely after those eight appearances, which spelled trouble for a Chicago State side that could have used all the help it could get as a winless streak dating back to August 2018 continued throughout the season, reaching 33 games.

Annika Clayton (Wyoming)
Team Record:
12-4-4 (Mountain West Conference Semi-Finals)
Stats: 20 games, 20 starts, 4 goals, 2 assists 

Wyoming needed a leader in midfield following Alisha Bass’s graduation after the 2017 season, and Annika Clayton stepped up to fill the void left by her fellow Australian superbly. Four goals and two assists certainly comprised a tidy return for the midfielder, but statistics alone do not paint the picture of Clayton’s importance to her team. Whether pulling the strings in midfield with her passing or making a marauding run forward, the midfielder’s ability to impact the game in a number of ways was vital to the Cowgirls securing a share of the Mountain West Conference regular season title and finishing with 12 wins and 4 draws in their 20 games. Clayton also received a Mountain West All-Conference Second Team nomination for her performances throughout the season, just reward for an outstanding campaign.

Kiri Dale (Hawaii)
Team Record:
9-6-1
Stats: 16 games, 12 starts, 0 goals, 2 assists

Kiri Dale enjoyed another solid season for Hawaii, settling into a position in the starting lineup for the majority of the campaign. The Rainbow Wahine narrowly missed out on their first conference tournament berth, but nonetheless even being in contention represented a vast improvement on their dismal league finishes since moving to the Big West in 2012. Dale finished the season with three complete-game performances in among several other high-minute games, tallying a pair of assists for the season as well as 9 shots in her second season at Hawaii but her first with fellow Australian and College Matildas legend Rachael Doyle as part of the coaching staff.

Isobel Dalton (Colorado)
Team Record:
13-4-3
Stats: 12 games, 0 starts, 0 goals, 1 assist

As has been the case for the majority of Isobel Dalton’s time at Colorado, the senior midfielder found herself just outside the regular rotation of players throughout the season, limiting both her appearances and playing time. However, despite a lack of opportunities, Dalton was still able to exhibit her class in midfield and come up with the occasional memorable moment, including a scintillating pass that split the Oregon State defence for the final assist of the senior’s college career. Having played in both the W-League and the English Women’s Super League before heading to college, Dalton’s next move will be one to watch if the former Brisbane Roar player does choose to extend her footballing career.

Lauren Featherstone (North Dakota State)
Team Record:
9-7-0 (Summit League Semi-Finals)
Stats: 10 games, 2 starts, 0 goals, 0 assists

Seeking a fresh start at North Dakota State after redshirting her only season at Central Connecticut State in 2017, Lauren Featherstone had what could only be termed as a frustrating year as injury conspired to limit the redshirt freshman to just 10 games. When she actually got the chance to play, Featherstone looked at home for North Dakota State, earning two starts before enduring a three-week break midway through the season and eventually being limited to mere minutes on the pitch by the end of the campaign. However, if Featherstone can overcome her injury problems, the Macarthur Rams product can certainly become an integral part of the North Dakota State lineup going forward.

Jessie Gentle (Wyoming)
Team Record: 12-4-4 (Mountain West Conference Semi-Finals)
Stats: 20 games, 20 starts, 1 goal, 3 assists

Alongside classmate and fellow Aussie Annika Clayton, Jessie Gentle has been an integral member of the Wyoming lineup for much of her time in Laramie, and nothing about that changed in 2018 as the senior terrorised opposing wide players both in attack and defence. Like Clayton, Gentle started every game for the Cowgirls in 2018 as the experienced Wyoming side put together the first 12-win season in program history whilst also securing a share of the Mountain West Conference regular season title. A dynamic combination of athleticism and skill led a number of outstanding performances for Wyoming, culminating in a career-high three assists for the season and a second goal of the senior’s career, which came alongside an assist in a 3-1 win over Colorado College.

Beattie Goad (Stanford)
Team Record:
21-1-1 (Pac-12 Champions, NCAA College Cup Semi-Finals)
Stats: 24 games, 9 starts, 2 goals, 3 assists

Beattie Goad has become an integral part of the Stanford side. (Photo Credit: Stanford Athletics)

Beattie Goad has seen decent playing time throughout her time at Stanford during what could only be termed as a golden era for the program, but this season saw the junior’s impact on the side become far more significant. Starting the first five games of the season as injuries opened up a spot, Goad started 9 of her 24 appearances and finished with multiple goals and assists in a season for the first time in her career. Whilst Stanford may have fallen short of repeating as champions after a 2-0 loss to eventual champions Florida State in the College Cup semi-finals, Goad’s season could only be termed as a successful one as she proved herself to be an integral part of one of the best teams in college soccer.

Tenille Harberger (Nicholls State)
Team Record:
3-15-0
Stats: 3 games, 0 starts, 0 goals, 0 assists

Having redshirted her first year at Nicholls State in 2017, Tenille Harberger finally saw her first playing time for the Colonels this year, seeing limited playing time in three games in what was a tough season in general for the team. The midfielder from Mackay was afforded just 21 minutes of playing time in those three appearances, and will no doubt be hoping to increase that playing time in her junior year in 2019 as Nicholls State look to improve on their three wins this season.

Emma Heckenberg (Drexel)
Team Record:
7-7-5 (CAA Quarter-Finals)
Stats: 18 games, 16 starts, 0 goals, 4 assists

Rarely has a player appeared more willing to do whatever is required to get her team a win than Emma Heckenberg, and that has served the senior well. Heckenberg saw 16 starts in her final year of college soccer, the most of any of her four years at Drexel. Ready and willing to slot in wherever required, Heckenberg carved out a spot as a vital member of the backline with a handy ability to deliver a set-piece, much like Monique Iannella at Hofstra. That set-piece ability delivered four assists, with two of those coming in a 2-1 over St. Joseph’s and another on the game-winner in a victory over Charleston. Whilst Heckenberg was never a player that received massive plaudits, replacing a player of her ilk will prove no small task for Drexel in 2019. 

Kristy Helmers (Nicholls State)
Team Record:
3-15-0
Stats: 18 games, 4 starts, 2 goals, 1 assist

After a solid first couple of seasons that saw Kristy Helmers regularly start for Nicholls State, 2018 saw the Canberra product come off the bench in the vast majority of her appearances in a side that struggled for goals for much of the season. Helmers started just four games and rarely played more than half a game, resulting in a diminished return of just two goals after scoring three in 2017 and six in her freshman year of 2016. However, those two goals were good enough for second-highest on a Nicholls State team that scored just 17 and saw 7 of those come from one player. 

Sandra Hill (Grand Canyon)
Team Record:
6-13-2 (WAC Quarter-Finals)
Stats: 15 games, 9 starts, 1 goal, 0 assists

Fresh off making her debut with the Cambodian national team during the off-season, Sandra Hill returned to Grand Canyon for her sophomore year and made a similar impact to what she had done in 2017. Hill certainly looks to have benefitted from having a year under her belt, looking far more composed on the pitch in 2018, and also managed to pick up her first collegiate goal with an absolute worldie in her side’s WAC Tournament quarter-final loss to Utah Valley. After starting 9 of her 15 games in 2018, Hill will no doubt be hoping to ensure that both of those numbers sit closer to 20 in her junior season, and if her development continues, there is no reason that can’t happen. 

Isabel Hodgson (East Tennessee State)
Team Record:
8-12-0 (Southern Conference Semi-Finals)
Stats: 20 games, 19 starts, 4 goals, 1 assist

Isabel Hodgson will be tough to replace for ETSU. (Photo Credit: Dakota Hamilton/ETSU Athletics)

A star of the East Tennessee State side from the moment she stepped on the field in Johnson City, Isabel Hodgson once again enjoyed an outstanding season, finishing the 2018 season as the program’s record holder for total appearances. Despite playing a defensive role for the Buccaneers, Hodgson was still able to tally 4 goals and 2 assists, her best return since the 2016 campaign in which the South Australian was utilised in an attacking position, to help her team to a Southern Conference semi-final berth as East Tennessee State atoned for a poor non-conference season by finishing third in the league table. Hodgson has already made her next career move, signing with Adelaide United for the remainder of the W-League season, joining other Australian former college players Laura Johns, Dylan Holmes, and Kahlia Hogg.

Monique Iannella (Hofstra)
Team Record: 16-6-1 (CAA Champions, NCAA Tournament Second Round)
Stats: 23 games, 21 starts, 1 goal, 5 assists

The only thing more lethal than Monique Iannella’s defensive presence is her ability to whip in a pinpoint ball from a corner, and the senior demonstrated both with aplomb to help lead Hofstra to a second consecutive CAA title and another NCAA Tournament appearance. In a side teeming with international players, Iannella was just one of many imports playing a vital role as the Pride rolled through the CAA Tournament before demolishing Boston College in an upset in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Interestingly, although Iannella’s ability from a corner is renowned, the majority of her assists came in other ways, proving her versatility as a player. Three of these came in one game against Towson, all of which came from open play as the former Melbourne City followed up 2017’s six assists with five more in her senior year. 

Claudia Jenkins (La Salle)
Team Record:
8-8-1
Stats: 17 games, 17 starts, 5 clean sheets, 1.248 GAA, 0.788 save percentage 

Claudia Jenkins has been La Salle’s saviour on many occasions. (Photo Credit: Greg Carroccio / Sideline Photos)

After spending the 2017 as backup to senior Larisa Zambelli, Claudia Jenkins made the goalkeeper position her own in 2018, proving to be a more-than-reliable option between the sticks for La Salle. Jenkins’ save percentage and goals against average numbers put her in the top half of goalkeepers in the nation, but those numbers could have been far better if not for an early-season flurry of penalties and own goals that at times left the sophomore on a hiding to nothing. Forced to make almost five saves per game, Jenkins stood tall in a tough season for La Salle, who came back to the pack in a massive way after winning the conference title last season as the Explorers looked to replace three defensive starters who had graduated after the 2017 season. 

Demi Koulizakis (Texas Tech)
Team Record: 14-5-3
Stats: 21 games, 2 starts, 1 goal, 0 assists

Demi Koulizakis made her first starts since 2016 this season as the junior’s vast improvement became impossible to ignore after a slightly down season in 2017. Koulizakis’ minutes fluctuated wildly throughout the season, but demonstrated her class with a technically sublime finish in the team’s 6-0 win over Florida International, the junior’s only goal for the season. Impressively, the junior played 100 minutes in the Red Raiders’ shootout loss to Virginia in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, and the fact that Koulizakis has forced her way into increased playing time in a team that is performing just as well as in previous seasons may be the most promising outcome of all from this campaign.

Ashleigh Lefevre (Illinois)
Team Record: 11-8-1
Stats: 15 games, 0 starts, 0 goals, 1 assist

Cameos off the bench were the order of the season for Ashleigh Lefevre, who made 15 appearances for Illinois in her freshman year, but never saw more than 40 minutes of playing time in any one game. Often used at the back end of the first half to give starters an extended halftime break, Lefevre nevertheless managed to maintain a spot in the rotation, and was able to make her first tangible mark on a game with her first career assist in the Illini’s 5-0 win over SIU Edwardsville early in the season. Having been afforded limited opportunities in her freshman year, Lefevre will no doubt be hoping to build on that going forward to become an integral member of the Illinois starting lineup in 2019. 

Teagan Micah (UCLA)
Team Record: 17-3-2 (NCAA Tournament Semi-Finals)
Stats: 17 games, 14 starts, 8 clean sheets, 0.745 GAA, 0.789 save percentage

Teagan Micah was a vital cog in the UCLA side. (Photo Credit: Rand Bleimeister/UCLA)

Firmly established as one of the nation’s top goalkeepers, Teagan Micah came up in a massive way for UCLA on a number of occasions this season as the Bruins followed up last year’s national title game appearance with a run to the quarter-finals. Playing behind the Bruins’ outstanding defence meant Micah didn’t always have a ton of work to do, but regularly stepped up when called upon. This was most evident in the crosstown derby against USC, in which the junior made 8 saves in the Bruins’ overtime victory, including an acrobatic tip over the bar with just two seconds to play on a shot that would have otherwise won USC the game at the last possible moment. A concussion midway through the season may have kept Micah out for a few games midway through the season, but nonetheless it was another outstanding campaign for one of the top Australian players in college.

Shelby Milton (Saint Francis)
Team Record: 8-9-3 (Northeast Conference Runner-Up)
Stats: 7 games, 1 start, 0 goals, 0 assists

Once again it was an impressive year for Saint Francis, but also one that saw Shelby Milton receive but limited opportunities for the Red Flash in her final campaign with the team. Despite starting against Duquesne early in the season, even that game saw the defender play only 17 minutes as not one of Milton’s seven appearances saw her play more than 37 minutes. It was the same story that had panned out in each of Milton’s previous seasons at St. Francis, who started games in all three of her seasons with the team but never played more than eight games in any one campaign. 

Freyja Murray (Akron)
Team Record:
8-10-2 (MAC Quarter-Finals)
Stats: 3 games, 0 starts, 0 goals, 0 assists

It was a frustrating season in terms of playing time for Akron freshman Freyja Murray, who saw playing time in three early-season games, totalling just 64 minutes of action in her first year with the Zips as those three games turned out to be her only appearances in her freshman year. Unfortunately, it looks as though 2018 may be Murray’s only season with the side, with social media posts suggesting the former Northern Tigers defender may be leaving the program.

Caitlin Pickett (Wyoming)
Team Record: 12-4-4 (Mountain West Conference Semi-Finals)
Stats: 20 games, 19 starts, 2 goals, 1 assist

Caitlin Pickett came up big in a couple of overtime thrillers. (Photo Credit: University of Wyoming Media Relations)

Caitlin Pickett started her college career in whirlwind fashion, coming off the bench to score an overtime winner in just her second game against Utah Valley. Although that goal comprised half of the freshman’s season tally, the other goal Pickett scored was even more thrilling, coming 16 seconds from the end of overtime in a vital win over Utah State that helped Wyoming on the way to a share of the Mountain West Conference regular season title. Impressively, Pickett started 19 games in her first college season, appearing at home in the Wyoming lineup, and looks set to form an integral part of the Wyoming attack alongside fellow Australian and classmate Indianna Asimus.

Sam Roff (Fairleigh Dickinson)
Team Record:
6-10-3 (Northeast Conference Semi-Finals)
Stats: 19 games, 18 starts, 0 goals, 0 assists

Sam Roff’s stat line may look as bare as Old Mother Hubbard’s cupboard, but offensive output has never been the junior’s job as a member of the Fairleigh Dickinson backline. The Knights finished in the top four in their conference for both shutout percentage and goals against average, testament to Roff and her defensive teammates’ strength as a unit. Although Fairleigh Dickinson fell in the NEC semi-finals, Roff’s work this season did not go unnoticed as the junior picked up a second consecutive All-Conference First Team selection to solidify her place as one of the top defenders in the league.

Kate Swartwout (Western Carolina)
Team Record:
8-8-2 (Southern Conference Quarter-Finals)
Stats: 16 games, 3 starts, 1 goal, 1 assist

Kate Swartwout showed plenty of scoring ability before making her way to Western Carolina, and those attacking instincts showed this season as the junior picked up the first goal of her college career in the Catamounts’ 2-1 loss to Chattanooga in October. Whilst starts were once again not forthcoming for Swartwout, the versatile junior retained a role as an impact player off the bench, appearing in 16 games in a middling season for the Catamounts that saw the team reach the conference tournament but fail to pick up a win, falling to Furman in the quarter-finals. With seven seniors on the roster this season, there will certainly be chances for Swartwout to become a regular starter in 2019 as she looks to end her college career with a flourish.

Claire Urquhart (Albany)
Team Record: 14-7-2 (America East Champions, NCAA Tournament First Round)
Stats: 7 games, 0 starts, 0 goals, 0 assists

After starting 8 games in 2017, 2018 saw a drop in Claire Urquhart’s playing time in her senior year, with just seven appearances and no starts forthcoming in the Queenslander’s final season in Albany. Urquhart did enjoy a third trip to the NCAA Tournament in four years, but unfortunately did not receive any playing time in the Great Danes’ 5-1 loss to South Florida in the opening round, rounding out a career in which she had been seemingly vastly underutilised throughout.

Alyssa Van Heurck (La Salle)
Team Record:
8-8-1
Stats: 17 games, 6 starts, 1 goal, 0 assists

Alyssa Van Heurck made the most of a positional switch. (Photo Credit: Greg Carroccio/Sideline Photos)

Known more as a fullback in her time prior to college, Alyssa Van Heurck found herself pushed up the pitch into an attacking wide role, and made the most of the switch to tally 17 appearances in her freshman year. Although the Western Australian started just six of those games, Van Heurck could regularly be called upon to provide a spark off the bench, tallying her first college goal in a 24-minute stint against UMBC in just her second college game and rattling off 3 shots in just 22 minutes against St. Bonaventure later in the season as her emergence as an integral part of the rotation became apparent.

College Matildas End Of Season Awards

Player Of The NCAA Tournament: Teagan Micah (UCLA)
Freshman Of The Year: Caitlin Pickett (Wyoming)
Sophomore Of The Year: Claudia Jenkins (La Salle)
Junior Of The Year: Beattie Goad (Stanford)
Senior Of The Year: Annika Clayton (Wyoming)
Goalkeeper Of The Year: Claudia Jenkins (La Salle) and Teagan Micah (UCLA)
Defender Of The Year: Monique Iannella (Hofstra)
Midfielder Of The Year: Annika Clayton (Wyoming)
Forward Of The Year: Caitlin Pickett (Wyoming)
Breakout Player Of The Year: Claudia Jenkins (La Salle)
Most Consistent Player: Annika Clayton (Wyoming)
Top Goalscorer: Annika Clayton (Wyoming) and Isabel Hodgson (ETSU) – 4 Goals
Most Assists: Monique Iannella (Hofstra) – 5 Assists
2018 College Matildas Player Of The Year: Annika Clayton (Wyoming)

2018 Week 3 Wrap

One of the biggest weekends for Australians in college in recent memory transpired this week, with four players tallying goals, another six registering assists, and a number of others putting in solid efforts to round out what was a simply mesmerising set of performances across the board.

(Featured Image Credit: Jim Shorin/ISIPhotos.com)

You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who had a better weekend than Beattie Goad, with the junior proving instrumental for Stanford as the #1 side in the nation extended their winning streak to 26 games. The Cardinal had to work for it in both games, being outshot by BYU in their opening game of the week but nonetheless finding their way to a 2-0 win, with Goad being credited with an assist on the game’s opening goal. The junior then came up with the opening goal in Stanford’s second game of the week against Minnesota, hitting a shot from the edge of the area into the far bottom corner and out of the goalkeeper’s reach. However, Stanford would by no means have the game their own way as Minnesota forced overtime before the Cardinal escaped with a winner early in overtime.

Claudia Jenkins also enjoyed an outstanding week, playing a vital role between the sticks in La Salle’s 2-1 overtime win over Colgate. Jenkins faced six shots on target, making an impressive five saves, with each and every one of those proving crucial as the Explorers only managed to equalise in the final 15 minutes after giving up the opener just after the hour mark. The La Salle side didn’t mess around in overtime, as although it took them seven minutes to create an attacking chance, they scored with their very first to clinch the golden goal win and move to 4-1 through their first five games. Alyssa Van Heurck came off the bench for La Salle in the win, playing an 8-minute cameo.

Isabel Hodgson returned to the scorers list for the first time in 2018 as the South Australian looks to improve on last season’s return of two goals, burying the winner in East Tennessee State’s win over USC Upstate. In a fairly even contest that saw each team register 10 shots, Hodgson’s close-range finish in the 19th minute proved to be the difference as the Buccaneers put a four-game losing streak behind them to pick up their first win of the season with the 1-0 result. Unfortunately, a far tougher Charlotte side proved to be too much to handle for ETSU in their second game of the weekend as the Buccaneers fell to a 3-0 defeat, with Hodgson tallying one of the team’s three shots.

Teagan Micah and UCLA endured a tough road trip to Florida with national team stars Hailie Mace and Jessie Fleming away representing the US and Canada respectively, but the Australian goalkeeper still managed to notch a career highlight even as the Bruins could only come away with a draw and a loss from their two games in the southeast. UCLA opened the weekend with a 0-0 draw against Florida, and although Micah had just the one save to make, that save was enough to see the junior register the 20th clean sheet of her career in just 51 appearances, equating to just under 40% of Micah’s appearances resulting in clean sheets. Ironically, Micah came up with six saves against Florida State in the team’s second game of the week, but the Bruins fell to a 4-1 defeat as the Seminoles peppered the UCLA goal with ten shots on target.

Gaby Bentley’s goal against Towson last week proved to be no fluke as the South Australian tallied her second goal of the season, although Old Dominion fell to George Mason in their only game of the week. Bentley scored the opener in the 40th minute, capitalising on a rebound to tap the ball home from close range. But George Mason equalised early in the second half before finding the winner 16 minutes from fulltime to send the Monarchs to their first loss of what has been a solid season to this point.

Monique Iannella has been delivering assists to teammates from the moment she transferred from Texas to Hofstra, and nothing changed this week as the former Melbourne City player again played a part in the build-up of a Pride goal. Needing a solid start against Fordham as they looked to put together a dominant performance for the first time since their win over Bucknell, Iannella was credited with the assist on Lucy Shepherd’s opener in the third minute as Hofstra found themselves 2-0 up inside 20 minutes before running out 3-1 victors. Unfortunately, things were far tougher against #6 Virginia, who registered 27 shots to 2 on their way to a 5-1 victory.

Emma Heckenberg appears to be joining Iannella as a threat whipping in corners after delivering two almost identical assists in Drexel’s 2-1 victory over St. John’s. The first came in the 11th minute as Kiera Hennessy looped a header off Heckenberg’s delicious ball in over the goalkeeper’s head to nestle in the back of the net, before repeating the dose 17 minutes later in a similar fashion. St. John’s gave themselves a late chance with an 88th minute goal from the spot, but Drexel managed to hold on for the 2-1 victory. The Dragons followed that victory up with a 1-0 overtime win over Maryland, with Heckenberg and the Drexel defence holding the Terrapins to just two shots on target before the Dragons came up with a 94th minute golden goal to take their winning streak to three games as part of a four-game unbeaten run.

Kristy Helmers and Tessa Calabria have found minutes slightly difficult to come by so far this season, but the attacking pair pressed their claims for increased playing time after delivering for Nicholls State this weekend. Whilst Helmers tallied a single shot in the Colonels’ 2-1 thrilling overtime win over Jackson State, that had nothing on the performances the Aussie pair turned out in a 6-0 demolition of Alcorn State. Helmers was given the start and tallied four shots, scoring the opener in the 8th minute, whilst Calabria tallied five shots and added an assist in just 21 minutes off the bench as Nicholls State rattled off 36 shots on the way to cruising to a dominant victory.

Ashleigh Lefevre also made a case for more playing time off the bench after coming up with an assist in Illinois’ win over SIU Edwardsville. The Illini, already on a high after securing an upset 2-1 win over #14 Oklahoma State, came out firing against their in-state foes, scoring in the first minute and heading into halftime up 3-0. Lefevre tallied her assist on the fourth goal of the game 12 minutes after the break, teeing up Kelly Maday for the junior’s third goal of the season as Illinois cruised to a 5-0 demolition of the Cougars.

Jessie Gentle is one player who has no need to fight for increased playing time, with the senior one of the first names on the team sheet for Wyoming, and this week the Woolgoolga product came up with her first tangible production of the season as Wyoming picked up a 2-1 win over Idaho State. With Wyoming up 1-0 going into the second half, Gentle delivered the assist on what would prove to be the game-winning goal in the 49th minute as the Cowgirls went up 2-0 before Idaho State made things interesting with a goal in the 82nd minute as the game ended 2-1.

Finally, we had yet another Australian make their NCAA Division I debut this week as Chicago State’s Sarah Clark made her first appearance since transferring from Lassen Community College. Clark came off the bench for the Cougars in their 2-0 loss to Eastern Illinois, playing 21 minutes to see her first action in the top level of college soccer.

Complete Results: 

Akron (Freyja Murray)

This week: drew 2-2 with Indiana State; defeated Youngstown State 6-0

Freyja Murray did not feature in the draw with Indiana State, but played 13 minutes off the bench in the win over Youngstown State.

Albany (Claire Urquhart)

This week: defeated Iona 2-1; lost 2-0 to Buffalo

Claire Urquhart did not feature for Albany in either game this week.

Chicago State (Sarah Clark)

This week: lost 6-1 to SIU Edwardsville; lost 2-0 to Eastern Illinois

Sarah Clark did not feature in the loss to SIU Edwardsville, but came off the bench to make her NCAA Division I debut against Eastern Illinois, playing 13 minutes. 

Colorado (Isobel Dalton)

This week: defeated UTSA 4-0; defeated Iowa State 3-1

Isobel Dalton came off the bench in both games this week, registering a single shot in her 9 minutes of playing time against UTSA, before playing 19 minutes in the win over Iowa State and again tallying a shot.

Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)

This week: defeated St. John’s 2-1; defeated Maryland 1-0 (OT)

Emma Heckenberg started both games this week, playing 84 minutes and delivering the corners that resulted in both Drexel goals against St. John’s, before playing the full 94 minutes in the overtime win over Maryland.

East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson)

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

Isabel Hodgson started both games this week, playing 65 minutes and scoring the only goal in ETSU’s win over USC Upstate, before registering a single shot in 76 minutes in the loss to Charlotte.

Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)

This week: lost 4-0 to Cleveland State; defeated Kent State 2-1

Sam Roff played the full 90 minutes in the loss to Cleveland State, before coming off the bench to play 63 minutes and register two shots on target in the win over Kent State. 

Georgia Southern (Hannah Allen)

This week: lost 1-0 to Stetson; defeated Davidson 1-0

Hannah Allen did not feature for Georgia Southern in either game this week.

Grand Canyon (Sandra Hill)

This week: lost 2-1 to UTEP; lost 2-1 to UTSA (OT)

Sandra Hill did not feature for Grand Canyon in either game this week.

Hawaii (Kiri Dale)

This week: defeated Saint Mary’s 2-1; defeated Pacific 5-0

Kiri Dale came off the bench against Saint Mary’s registering a shot in 47 minutes of action, before getting the start in the win over Pacific and playing 48 minutes. 

Hofstra (Monique Iannella, Grace Watson-Carr)

This week: defeated Fordham 3-1; lost 5-1 to Virginia

Monique Iannella started both games this week, playing the full 90 minutes and tallying an assist in the win over Fordham before playing 84 minutes in the loss to Virginia. Grace Watson-Carr did not feature for Hofstra this week.

Illinois (Ashleigh Lefevre) 

This week: defeated Oklahoma State 2-1; defeated SIU Edwardsville 5-0

Ashleigh Lefevre came off the bench in both games this week, playing five minutes in the upset win over Oklahoma State and delivering the assist for Illinois’ fourth goal during her 20-minute cameo against SIU Edwardsville.

La Salle (Claudia Jenkins, Alyssa Van Heurck) 

This week: defeated Colgate 2-1 (OT)

Claudia Jenkins played the full 97 minutes and made five saves in La Salle’s 2-1 overtime win over Colgate, whilst Alyssa Van Heurck came off the bench to play 8 minutes.

LSU (Caitlin Cantrill)

This week: defeated South Alabama 1-0

Caitlin Cantrill did not feature for LSU in the win over South Alabama.

Marshall (Laura Farrelly)

This week: defeated Eastern Kentucky 2-1; lost 3-1 to Ohio

Laura Farrelly did not feature for Marshall in either game this week.

Nicholls State (Tessa Calabria, Tenille Harberger, Kristy Helmers) 

This week: defeated Jackson State 2-1; defeated Alcorn State 6-0

Kristy Helmers came off the bench in the win over Jackson State, playing 29 minutes and tallying a single shot, before getting the start in the demolition of Alcorn State, slotting home her first goal of the season in 60 minutes of playing time. Tessa Calabria played just 10 minutes off the bench against Jackson State, but registered five shots in 21 minutes and tallied an assist in the win over Alcorn State. Tenille Harberger did not feature in either game this week.

North Dakota State (Lauren Featherstone)

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

Lauren Featherstone came off the bench to play 29 minutes against Northern Colorado, but did not feature in the loss to Drake. 

Old Dominion (Gaby Bentley)

This week: lost 2-1 to George Mason

Gaby Bentley finished with Old Dominion’s only goal in 28 minutes off the bench as the Monarchs fell to a 2-1 defeat. 

Southeast Missouri State (Siena Senatore) 

This week: lost 5-0 to Arizona; lost 4-0 to Arizona State

Siena Senatore did not feature for Southeast Missouri State in either game this week.

St. Francis University (Shelby Milton) 

This week: defeated Binghamton 3-0; drew 0-0 with Bucknell

Shelby Milton did not feature for St. Francis in either game this week. 

Stanford (Beattie Goad)

This week: defeated BYU 2-0; defeated Minnesota 2-1 (OT)

Beattie Goad started both games this week, playing the full 90 minutes against BYU and delivering an assist on Stanford’s opener, before again playing a complete game against Minnesota and scoring the Cardinal’s opening goal in the 2-1 overtime victory.

Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis) 

This week: lost 1-0 to Boston College

Demi Koulizakis came off the bench for Texas Tech in the loss to Boston College, but saw just 10 minutes of playing time. 

Towson (Jodie Burchell)

This week: lost 1-0 to Bucknell; lost 3-1 to Utah State

Jodie Burchell came off the bench to play 12 minutes in the loss to Bucknell, but did not feature in the loss to Utah State.

UCLA (Teagan Micah)

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

Teagan Micah picked up the 20th clean sheet of her career against Florida, making a single save, before making six saves in the loss to Florida State. 

Western Carolina (Kate Swartwout)

This week: defeated Campbell 1-0 (OT); drew 0-0 with Navy (match shortened due to lightning)

Kate Swartwout came off the bench against Campbell to play 18 minutes and register a pair of shots, before playing the final 10 minutes against Navy as the match was called after 72 minutes due to lightning with the score at 0-0.

William & Mary (Lorena Bugden) 

This week: match v South Carolina cancelled due to inclement weather; defeated Liberty 2-1 (OT)

Lorena Bugden did not feature for William & Mary in the win over Liberty. 

Wyoming (Indiana Asimus, Annika Clayton, Jessie Gentle, Caitlin Pickett)

This week: defeated Idaho State 2-1

All four Australians started the game in the win over Idaho State, with Jessie Gentle providing the assist on Wyoming’s goal in the 48th minute in a 75-minute effort. Indianna Asimus tallied three shots in 57 minutes, whilst Annika Clayton also had a trio of attempts in her 80 minutes on the pitch, with Caitlin Pickett playing 62 minutes.

Player of the Year Points:

3: Beattie Goad (Stanford)
2: Emma Heckenberg (Drexel)
1: Claudia Jenkins (La Salle)

2018 Week 1 Wrap

A number of Aussies came up with some utterly clutch plays to help get their teams over the line, with the performances of goalkeepers Teagan Micah and Claudia Jenkins a highlight. But it was Annika Clayton coming up trumps at the other end, banging in two goals to round out a stunning comeback win in Wyoming’s opener against South Dakota.

(Featured Image Credit: Greg Carroccio / Sideline Photos)

Annika Clayton was the undoubted star of the week as the senior continued the trend of Australian midfielders banging in goals for Wyoming following the graduation of Alisha Bass after the 2017 season. Down 2-0 just after halftime, Clayton scored the game-tying goal in the 64th minute. The Cowgirls scored just two minutes later to take the lead, before Clayton rounded out the victory, doubling the lead with just over 15 minutes to play. The Cowgirls found the going slightly tougher in their home opener against Utah Valley in their second game of the week, but managed to eke out a 1-0 overtime victory to preserve their perfect start to the season, with newly arrived Geelong freshman Caitlin Pickett picking up the winner in overtime to tally her first college goal in just her second game. Newcastle freshman Indianna Asimus also featured in both games of the first week of her college career, starting against South Dakota before coming off the bench against Utah Valley.

La Salle pair Claudia Jenkins and Alyssa Van Heurck also enjoyed an excellent first week of the season, with Jenkins perhaps pulling out the moment of the week in the Explorers’ 1-0 win over Syracuse. With the Explorers up a goal after Madison Bower’s early strike, Syracuse were gifted a chance to equalise after a foul in the box resulted in a penalty for the Orange. But Jenkins stood tall to deny penalty taker Taylor Bennett and maintain her side’s lead, with the Explorers holding on to secure the 1-0 victory, with Van Heurck playing 24 minutes off the bench in her first college appearance.

Alyssa Van Heurck (Photo Credit: Greg Carroccio / Sideline Photos)

The Explorers enjoyed a far more comfortable victory in their second game of the week against UMBC. Jenkins once again kept a clean sheet, making four saves, whilst Van Heurck picked up the first goal of her college career as the Explorers jumped out to a 4-0 lead before halftime on their way to a comprehensive 5-0 win, scoring on all bar two of their shots on target to start their campaign to return to the NCAA Tournament on a high.

Teagan Micah also came up big between the sticks as UCLA laboured in putting Long Beach State away in their opening game of the season. Although the junior made just two saves, they proved to be vital as the Bruins scored the only goal of the game with just two seconds left on the clock as Hailie Mace managed to beat the goalkeeper with the last kick of the ball for the 1-0 victory.

Beattie Goad made a solid start to her junior year as Stanford dismantled UC Davis 5-0 on the road in the opening game of their title defence. The two-time W-League champion secured a starting berth for the Cardinal, playing 79 minutes and putting the ball on a plate for Tierna Davidson to head home Stanford’s second of their five goals as the defending champions outshot their opponents 20-1 in the dominant victory.

Finally, we saw six players make their Division I debut this week, with Ashleigh Lefevre, Tessa Calabria, and Lauren Featherstone joining the aforementioned Alyssa Van Heurck, Indianna Asimus, and Caitlin Pickett in seeing their first minutes at the top level of college play. Lefevre and Illinois led North Carolina early in the piece, but were ultimately chased down by the Tar Heels in a 3-1 loss, but the Illini had clearly grown in confidence and used that momentum to secure a come from behind win over #3 Duke, with Lefevre coming off the bench in both games to see over an hour of playing time across the weekend. Calabria got the start in her debut against North Dakota in a 3-0 loss, playing 61 minutes, but came off the bench in Nicholls State’s loss to Grambling State, registering a pair of shots on target in her 46 minutes in the Colonels’ 1-0 defeat. However, Featherstone’s debut was the most pleasing to see from a neutral standpoint, with the redshirt freshman having been through injuries, an academic redshirt in 2017, and a last-minute transfer in her 12 months in college before finally seeing her first playing time, tallying 20 minutes of action off the bench in North Dakota State’s 4-1 win over Green Bay.

Complete Results:

Akron (Freyja Murray)

This week: lost 2-1 to Morehead State

Freyja Murray did not feature for Akron in their loss to Morehead State.

Albany (Claire Urquhart)

This week: defeated Arizona 1-0; defeated New Mexico State 3-1

Claire Urquhart did not feature for Albany in their win over Arizona, but came off the bench to play 46 minutes in the Great Danes’ victory over New Mexico State.

Chicago State (Sarah Clark)

This week: drew 2-2 with Youngstown State; lost 3-1 to Cleveland State

Sarah Clark did not feature for Chicago State in either game this week.

Colorado (Isobel Dalton)

This week: defeated Air Force 3-0; drew 0-0 with Colorado State

Isobel Dalton came off the bench to play a solitary minute in Colorado’s win over Air Force, but did not feature in the draw with Colorado State.

Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)

This week: drew 1-1 with Rider; lost 2-1 to Rutgers

Emma Heckenberg did not feature for Drexel in the draw with Rider, but came off the bench to play 33 minutes in the loss to Rutgers.

East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson)

This week: lost 1-0 to George Mason

Isabel Hodgson played the full 90 minutes in East Tennessee State’s loss to George Mason.

Fairleigh Dickinson (Sam Roff)

This week: defeated Marshall 1-0; lost 1-0 to Providence

Sam Roff picked up where she left off last season, playing the full 90 minutes in both of Fairleigh Dickinson’s games this week as the Knights’ stingy defence conceded only a solitary goal over the course of the weekend.

Georgia Southern (Hannah Allen)

This week: lost 3-0 to Florida Gulf Coast; lost 3-0 to Chattanooga

Hannah Allen did not feature for Georgia Southern in either of the Eagles’ games this week.

Grand Canyon (Sandra Hill)

This week: lost 2-1 to Gonzaga (2OT); lost 1-0 to Washington State (OT)

Sandra Hill did not feature for Grand Canyon in either game this week as the Lopes fell to a pair of heartbreaking overtime losses.

Hawaii (Kiri Dale)

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

Kiri Dale did not feature for Hawaii in the loss to Texas A&M, but came off the bench for a 20-minute cameo in the Wahine’s overtime win over Bowling Green.

Hofstra (Monique Iannella, Grace Watson-Carr)

This week: defeated Bucknell 1-0; lost 1-0 to Fairfield

Monique Iannella came off the bench in both games this week, playing 39 minutes against Bucknell and registering a single shot on target in 51 minutes in the loss to Fairfield. Reserve goalkeeper Grace Watson-Carr did not feature for Hofstra in either game this week. 

Illinois (Ashleigh Lefevre) 

This week: lost 3-1 to North Carolina; defeated Duke 2-1

Ashleigh Lefevre came off the bench in both games this week, playing 40 minutes against North Carolina and 36 minutes in the upset win over highly-rated Duke.

La Salle (Claudia Jenkins, Alyssa Van Heurck) 

This week: defeated Syracuse 1-0; defeated UMBC 5-0

Goalkeeper Claudia Jenkins kept a pair of clean sheets to start the season, playing all 180 minutes and coming up with a penalty save in the win over Syracuse. Alyssa Van Heurck came off the bench to make her first two college appearances, playing 24 minutes in both games and tallying La Salle’s fourth goal in the 5-0 win over UMBC. 

LSU (Caitlin Cantrill) 

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

Caitlin Cantrill did not feature for LSU in their overtime loss to Villanova. 

Marshall (Laura Farrelly) 

This week: lost 1-0 to Fairleigh Dickinson; drew 2-2 with Army

Laura Farrelly did not feature for Marshall in either game this week. 

Nicholls State (Tessa Calabria, Tenille Harberger, Kristy Helmers)

This week: lost 3-0 to North Dakota; lost 2-1 to Grambling State

Tessa Calabria started against North Dakota to make her first collegiate appearance, registering a single shot in 61 minutes. Calabria came off the bench against Grambling State, tallying 2 shots in 46 minutes, both of which were on target. Kristy Helmers came off the bench in both games, playing 26 minutes against North Dakota and 14 minutes against Grambling State. Tenille Harberger did not feature for the Colonels in either game this week.

North Dakota State (Lauren Featherstone)

This week: match abandoned v Wisconsin due to weather; defeated Green Bay 4-1

Lauren Featherstone finally made her long-awaited collegiate debut, playing 20 minutes off the bench and tallying a single shot in North Dakota State’s win over Green Bay. 

Old Dominion (Gaby Bentley) 

This week: drew 1-1 with East Carolina; defeated Mount St. Mary’s 3-0

Gaby Bentley came off the bench for Old Dominion to play 20 minutes or so in the draw with East Carolina, before starting against Mount St. Mary’s but only playing 13 minutes.

Southeast Missouri State (Siena Senatore)

This week: lost 2-1 to Evansville

Siena Senatore did not feature for Southeast Missouri State in their loss to Evansville. 

St. Francis University (Shelby Milton)

This week: drew 2-2 with Radford; lost 3-2 to Canisius (OT)

Shelby Milton did not feature for St. Francis in either game this week.

Stanford (Beattie Goad) 

This week: defeated UC Davis 5-0

Beattie Goad started for Stanford in their win over UC Davis, playing 79 minutes and delivering the assist on the Cardinal’s second goal.

Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis)

This week: defeated New Mexico 2-0; defeated Pepperdine 1-0

Demi Koulizakis came off the bench in both games this week, playing 32 minutes and registering two shots against New Mexico before playing 39 minutes and tallying a single shot on target in the upset win over Pepperdine. 

Towson (Jodie Burchell) 

This week: lost 2-1 to South Florida (OT); lost 2-1 to Stetson

Jodie Burchell did not feature for Towson in either game this week. 

UCLA (Teagan Micah)

This week: defeated Long Beach State 1-0

Teagan Micah played the full 90 minutes between the sticks for UCLA in the win over Long Beach State, keeping a vital clean sheet with two saves as the Bruins scored the game-winner with just two seconds remaining. 

Western Carolina (Kate Swartwout)

This week: lost 3-0 to Kennesaw State; defeated UNC Asheville 1-0

Kate Swartwout got the start against Kennesaw State, playing 62 minutes before coming off the bench against UNC Asheville to play 18 minutes. 

William & Mary (Lorena Bugden) 

This week: lost 2-1 to Maryland; lost 2-1 to Dayton (OT)

Lorena Bugden did not feature for William & Mary in either game this week.

Wyoming (Indianna Asimus, Annika Clayton, Jessie Gentle, Caitlin Pickett)

This week: defeated South Dakota 4-2; defeated Utah Valley 1-0 (OT)

Annika Clayton was the saviour for Wyoming in their opening game, scoring two goals in the Cowgirls’ comeback victory before playing 78 minutes in the overtime win over Utah Valley. Caitlin Pickett tallied the overtime winner against Utah Valley in a 53-minute effort after playing 63 minutes against South Dakota, whilst Indianna Asimus started and played 40 minutes against South Dakota before making a 24-minute cameo off the bench against Utah Valley. Jessie Gentle also started both games, playing 45 minutes against South Dakota and the entire 93 minutes in the win over Utah Valley.

Player of the Year Votes: 

3: Annika Clayton (Wyoming)
2: Claudia Jenkins (La Salle)
1: Teagan Micah (UCLA)

2018 Player Previews

30 players will represent Australia in NCAA Division I women’s soccer this season, including 2017 national champion Beattie Goad at Stanford and national runner-up Teagan Micah at UCLA. However, with players such as Georgia Rowntree, Alisha Bass, Harriet Withers, Nyomi Devine, Emily Hulbert, and Paige Hayward having now graduated, it is almost a new era for College Matildas.

Claire Urquhart (Senior, Defender, Albany, Brisbane)

Claire Urquhart was finally given a more extended run in the Albany side in her junior year, playing 12 games in 2017, compared to her seven total appearances in her first two seasons. The senior’s ability to slot into either midfield or the back four helped Urquhart in finding more opportunities last season, and with a number of defensive starters returning in 2018, it may again be the case that Urquhart finds herself splitting time across a number of positions. The Great Danes finished with a 6-11-1 record in 2017 and were knocked out in the first round of the America East tournament, but have scheduled a tough non-conference slate in 2018 that should leave them battle-tested and ready for an improved charge at a conference title this season and a return to the NCAA Tournament following 2016’s appearance in which they fell 4-2 to Connecticut in a tough first-round matchup.

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

Shelby Milton and Lauren Featherstone will face each other in conference play in 2018.

After redshirting her first year at Central Connecticut State, Lauren Featherstone comes into her first year of collegiate play with a year of experience under her belt. What effect this has on the Sydneysider’s play remains to be seen, but there is no doubting that not having to settle into college life whilst playing her first season will be an added positive for Featherstone. Already earmarked for a starting position in the CCSU midfield, Featherstone will still have to ensure she earns that spot in preseason, but it shapes to be an exciting year for the versatile midfielder. CCSU return the majority of players from last year’s Northeast Conference tournament semi-final team, meaning that this year shapes to be one of their best chances at a conference title and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

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

Having played in just 7 times for a total of 86 minutes in 2017, Isobel Dalton will certainly be hoping that her senior year brings more playing time at Colorado. The Buffaloes return the majority of last season’s midfield, but as always there will be some new opportunities opening up with a couple of players graduating after the 2017 season. With a pair of NCAA Tournament berths in the last two seasons, both of which ended in second round defeats, there is no doubt that Colorado will be looking to, at the very least, reach the Sweet 16 in 2018 and finally get over that hurdle.

Emma Heckenberg (Senior, Defender, Drexel, Melbourne)

Heckenberg started her career at Drexel up front, but has eventually found her niche in the backline, forming part of a stellar Dragons defence that conceded just five goals in conference play. The Victorian was limited to 13 appearances last season, but if she can remain fit in 2018, expect to see Heckenberg as a mainstay in a back four where stability will be vital given former goalkeeper and program stalwart Christiana Ogunsami graduated after last season. Having reached the CAA championship game in 2016 and semi-finals last season, Drexel will once again be gunning for a spot in the conference tournament in a generally tough and evenly-matched conference. If the defence remains as strong as in 2017, there is no reason that can’t happen.

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

Isabel Hodgson will be looking to help ETSU return to 2016 form. (Photo Credit: Dakota Hamilton)

Isabel Hodgson has played just about every position bar goalkeeper in her three years at East Tennessee State, and whilst she has been successful in every one of them, it appears that fullback will be her position going forward as the Buccaneers look to rebound from a 2017 campaign that saw the team finish with a 6-12 record and a dismal 0-8 road record. Hodgson was one of a pair of Australians in Division I to score more than one goal last season, proving that whilst her chances may not be as plentiful as when she was playing in a more advanced role, the South Australian still has the ability to get forward and join the attack when the opportunity presents itself.

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

One of the first names on the team sheet for Fairleigh Dickinson, Sam Roff has been among the best defenders in the entire Northeast Conference throughout her two seasons in New Jersey. Fairleigh Dickinson finished third in the NEC for average goals conceded per game in 2017, but the majority of those goals came during an extremely tough non-conference slate that set the Knights up for a conference season that saw them reach the conference championship game before falling to Shelby Milton and St. Francis in a shootout in the decider. Roff was rewarded for her outstanding performances in 2017 with a selection in the Northeast Conference All-Conference First Team, and with still two years left in her college career, the Canberra product could yet become one of the greats of the Fairleigh Dickinson program.

Hannah Allen (Freshman, Midfielder, Georgia Southern, Brisbane)

Listed as a forward for Georgia Southern but certainly able to play multiple positions, Hannah Allen joins an Eagles side looking to continue its upward trajectory, having improved from 6-10-1 in 2016 to 8-9-2 in 2017. Having played at school level under Brisbane Roar W-League coach Mel Andreatta, Allen has no doubt benefitted from that elite coaching and will now look to force her way into the team as part of a slightly large 30-player Eagles squad.

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

Sandra Hill will be looking to further cement her spot in the Grand Canyon side. (Photo Credit: Michael Rincon)

Although Sandra Hill won 2017’s College Matildas Freshman of the Year award, there is certainly plenty more to come from the Grand Canyon fullback. Fresh off her first appearances for the Cambodian national team at the AFF Championship, including an appearance against the Young Matildas, Hill returns to Arizona with priceless experience under her belt. Having made a reasonably decent 13 appearances in her freshman year, Hill will no doubt want to increase her playing time in her sophomore season, and with three of Grand Canyon’s eight defenders in their freshman season this year, Hill is now one of the more experienced players in the backline in just her second year of college soccer.

Kiri Dale (Junior, Midfielder, Hawaii, Mullumbimby)

Kiri Dale took a risk last season by transferring from Iona to the much more highly-rated Hawaii, but the move paid off in spades as the versatile wide player secured a spot in the Rainbow Wahine’s rotation. Dale made an instant impact in 2017, coming up with the assist on an overtime golden goal in the very first game of the season. That was Dale’s only assist of the season, but the Iona transfer made her mark in other ways, making 11 starts and 17 appearances for a Hawaii team that finished 6-10-1 but whose progress was hindered by a 1-6-1 conference record. If the Rainbow Wahine can improve that conference record, it will make for a vastly improved season and 10 wins is by no means out of the question. Dale will also not be the only Aussie at Hawaii this season, with former Washington State star and Matildas representative Rachael Doyle joining the program as an assistant coach.

Monique Iannella (Senior, Defender, Hofstra, Melbourne)

Monique Iannella’s ability to deliver crosses could prove vital for Hofstra this year. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Heisler)

2017’s College Matildas Defender of the Year, Iannella has proven herself to be a weapon at both ends of the pitch for Hofstra. Her ability to whip the ball in, particularly from corners, led to six assists last season, whilst her defensive prowess has rarely, if ever, been called into question during her time with the Pride as the team gave up just 14 goals in 21 games last season on the way to an NCAA Tournament appearance in which they were somehow forced to travel to Auburn for their first-round game, where they fell 1-0. Hofstra’s senior class in 2017 was absolutely stacked with talent, so the onus will now be on the likes of Iannella and her own senior class to lead the Pride and ensure that the team remains among the top sides in the Colonial Athletic Association.

Ashleigh Lefevre (Freshman, Defender, Illinois, Melbourne)

The most accomplished of the seven new additions to the list of Australians in Division I, Ashleigh Lefevre is also the only freshman joining a power conference team in 2018. A member of the Young Matildas side that finished 3rd at the 2016 AFF Women’s Championship, Lefevre tallied a goal in the side’s 20-0 demolition of Timor-Leste in that tournament before returning to play 25 games for Alamein FC in 2017’s Victorian NPL competition. The versatile defender returned in 2018 to play 12 games before heading to Illinois. The Fighting Illini finished with just five wins in 2017, their second straight season finishing below .500, but with the vast majority of the most integral parts of the starting lineup returning, the team looks to be on the upswing. But with six seniors graduating, many of whom started at least a few games, there will still be plenty of minutes up for grabs for Lefevre in her senior season even if she doesn’t secure a starting berth from day one.

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

Jenkins spent her freshman season playing the backup role as La Salle stalwart Larisa Zambelli saw the vast majority of minutes between the sticks for an Explorers side that won two consecutive overtime games to win the Atlantic 10 title and reach the NCAA Tournament in 2017. With Zambelli’s graduation following the 2017 season, Jenkins is now the only goalkeeper on the La Salle roster with any college experience whatsoever as the Explorers look to make a return trip to the national stage. La Salle kept clean sheets in all but three conference games last season, and return the majority of starters in defence, whilst at the other end, sisters Madison and Maci Bower combined for 21 goals last season to ensure those solid defensive efforts wouldn’t go to waste and both will return for their senior seasons in 2018.

Alyssa Van Heurck (Freshman, Defender, La Salle, Perth)

Alyssa Van Heurck becomes the second Australian on the La Salle roster this season, making the move from Perth to join the Explorers alongside Claudia Jenkins. A product of the Football West NTC program, Van Heurck will bolster a strong La Salle defence that returns most of its starters, but only five experienced players. With La Salle’s success in 2017 built on defence, Van Heurck, like Jenkins, will be expected to help maintain the team’s level at the back in 2018 as the versatile defender looks to slot straight into the lineup.

Siobhan Longmore (Junior, Midfielder, Lamar, Busselton)

Siobhan Longmore joins a highly successful Lamar side after two years in junior college.

A versatile defensive player with the ability to get forward from the back, Longmore joins a Lamar side that bulldozed its way through the Southland Conference in 2017. Whilst this will be the Busselton product’s first season in Division I, Longmore is no stranger to the world of college soccer, having played the last two seasons at Dodge City Community College in Kansas, and clearly did enough to draw the attention of the coaches at a program that is clearly on the rise after winning 18 of their 23 games last season and battling #6 seed Texas A&M all the way before falling to a 1-0 defeat in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Caitlin Cantrill (Junior, Midfielder, LSU, Canberra)

After featuring 12 times for LSU as a freshman, Cantrill managed just three appearances in 2017 and competition for playing time will be just as fierce in 2018 in a squad with 13 listed midfielders including freshman sensation Abbey Newton, who was recently named Florida’s Gatorade Player of the Year. The junior will be hoping for a return to the kind of playing time she saw in her freshman year, and LSU could do with not only Cantrill but all players firing on all cylinders as they look to hit double figures for wins for the first time since 2015, a season in which the roster featured former Western Sydney Wanderers and current Utah Royals defender Alex Arlitt.

Laura Farrelly (Freshman, Midfielder, Marshall, Central Coast)

Hailing from the same club as former College Matildas Freshman of the Year, Tia Gavin, Laura Farrelly joins a Marshall side looking to make some vast strides in 2018 after finishing 5-11-1 in 2017, missing the Conference USA tournament in the process after collecting just three wins in league play. Although Farrelly is primarily an attacking midfielder, the Manly United product can slot into a variety of positions in the centre of the park, and in a team overflowing with midfielders, that versatility could prove to be the ace up Farrelly’s sleeve that secures her more playing time than a player that is only comfortable in one position. With two senior midfielders in the starting lineup this year, 2018 may very well be Farrelly’s proving ground in an attempt to secure one of those spots that will open up in 2019.

Tessa Calabria (Junior, Forward, Nicholls State, Adelaide)

Tessa Calabria joins Siobhan Longmore as junior college transfers joining the Division I ranks this season, and the pair will face off at the top level as Calabria makes the move to Nicholls State, a Southland Conference foe of Longmore’s Lamar side. Calabria becomes the third Australian at Nicholls State, alongside Kristy Helmers and Tenille Harberger, continuing the pipeline from Australia to Thibodaux. Having established a reputation as an outstanding goalscorer during her time at Iowa Lakes Community College, the Nicholls State faithful will be hoping that this transfers to the Division I level for a team in severe need of improved scoring in 2018 after finishing 265th of 335 teams in Division I for total goals in 2017.

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

Kristy Helmers will once again lead the line for Nicholls State. (Photo Credit: Misty McElroy)

Helmers comes into the 2018 season as one of just two returning Australians to have scored more than one goal in 2017. However, the Canberra product will be hoping for a return to 2016’s output of 6 goals rather than last season’s 3 goals as the Colonels struggled to find the back of the net as a team in 2017, tallying just six goals in conference play. The team will no doubt be helped by the fact that 12 of their 19 games in 2018 will be played at home but will have to make sure that home advantage counts after finishing 2-5 on their own patch in 2017 despite registering a 4-6-1 record on the road against many of the same opponents they will face in 2018.

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

Having redshirted her first season in Thibodaux, Tenille Harberger will now look to make an impact on the pitch in 2018 after a year easing into college. Now one of three Australians on the Colonels roster, Harberger will be tasked with providing midfield service to her countrywomen in Tessa Calabria and Kristy Helmers, but will have to earn her spot on the pitch in a roster stacked with midfielders. With no less than 13 players on the roster listed as midfielders, Harberger will have to carve out her own spot in the rotation, perhaps with a view towards taking a spot held by one of the senior midfielders once they move on in 2019.

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

Gaby Bentley barely saw any playing time in her freshman season, but 2017 was a vastly different affair as the sophomore midfielder developed into an integral part of the Old Dominion team. Having appeared in just two games in 2016, Bentley finished with a single goal in her 17 appearances in midfield for an Old Dominion team that finished with a 9-5-4 record, a slight improvement on their 7-12 record in 2016. Whilst the Monarchs will have to replace C-USA Defender of the Year Jackie Stroud and starting goalkeeper Krista Moisio, who both graduated after the 2017 season, most of the team’s other starters return, including Bentley, who comes into this season as one of the more experienced midfield players for the Monarchs. Having finished 6-2-2 in conference play last season, Old Dominion will no doubt be seeing this season as the time to make that final jump to secure a conference title and make an NCAA Tournament appearance.

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

Senatore had a year away from the game due to injury in 2017 after a solid first two seasons at Southeast Missouri State, but now returns to shore up the Redhawks’ defence in her senior season. The only Aussie on the roster following Maddy Cornell’s graduation after the 2017 season, Senatore’s return is a timely one as the Redhawks feature only five pure defenders on the roster, although two other players have been known to slot into the backline. Having been just about ever-present in the Redhawks lineup prior to her injury, if Senatore can return to the form she showed before her absence, it will be a significant advantage for a team that finished 8-8-4 last season but was let down by their play on the road, finishing 1-5-4 away from Cape Girardeau.

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

Shelby Milton and St. Francis secured the Northeast Conference on penalties last season, delivering the team an NCAA Tournament berth in the process. However, the defender out of Wollongong was rarely sighted on the pitch for the Red Flash, playing just six games and 233 minutes, although two of those appearances were starts. There will be a spot opening up in the backline at St. Francis in 2018 though, as captain and NEC All-Conference First Team selection Allison LaDuke recently graduated. If Milton can return to the form that saw her feature in 19 games in 2016, that spot could certainly become hers in 2018 as the Red Flash look to make a return trip to the NCAA Tournament.

Beattie Goad (Junior, Midfielder, Stanford, Melbourne)

Having won a national championship in 2017, Beattie Goad and Stanford will be gunning for back-to-back titles and they will come into the season among the favourites after returning the vast majority of their title-winning team from last season. On a personal level, Goad will no doubt be hoping to secure more playing time than she managed in either of her first two seasons. Whilst the Victorian played in the majority of the games in both of her first two seasons, much of her playing time came in short stints, resulting in about 40 minutes of action in most of her appearances. There aren’t many spots opening up in the starting lineup for the Cardinal, so Goad will have to do plenty in preseason to earn a starting spot, where the junior’s improving versatility may prove to be another asset.

Demi Koulizakis (Junior, Midfielder, Texas Tech, Sydney)

‘Vastly underutitlised’ would probably be the most accurate way to describe Demi Koulizakis in 2017. Having played in 18 games in 2016, Koulizakis was afforded minimal playing time her sophomore year, with most of her 10 appearances allowing her far too little playing time to have any realistic chance of impacting a game. The forward stocks aren’t quite as overflowing at Texas Tech this season, but the Red Raiders do return a number of starters from 2017 in attacking roles. Whatever the case may be with regards to Koulizakis’ playing time this season, there is no doubt the Red Raiders could use some more goals, scoring multiple goals just three times in their nine conference games in 2017 as the team finished with a 9-7-3 record and a first-round exit in the Big 12 conference tournament.

Jodie Burchell (Freshman, Forward, Towson, Gold Coast)

A club teammate of former Colorado and Troy star Alex Huynh at Souths United in Queensland’s NPL competition, Burchell’s addition to the Towson lineup brings the number of Colonial Athletic Association teams featuring Aussies to four, alongside William and Mary, Drexel, and Hofstra. A target player with the ability to hold the ball up, Burchell has made 16 appearances for the third placed Souths United in Queensland’s NPL competition in 2018, scoring two goals in the process with most of her appearances coming as a substitute in the last 20 minutes. Towson struggled last season, finishing with just five wins and a fairly dismal 2-6-1 conference record, scoring just 6 goals in their Colonial Athletic Association schedule. With senior Maddie Bove taking 5 of the team’s 14 goals with her after graduating following the 2017 season, the onus will be on Burchell and her fellow forwards to not only make up that deficit, but add a few more in an effort to improve on last season’s record.

Teagan Micah (Junior, Goalkeeper, UCLA, Brisbane)

Having reached the College Cup championship game in 2017 before going down to Stanford in a classic at Orlando City Stadium, only one ending will suffice for Teagan Micah and UCLA in 2018: lifting the NCAA Championship trophy on the final day of the season. Micah has been all but ever-present between the sticks for the Bruins for the last two seasons, establishing herself as one of the better goalkeepers of her class in the process and a vital piece of the UCLA lineup. The Bruins lost a number of players to graduation after last season, but return a stacked team featuring recent US national team debutant Hailie Mace, bona-fide Canadian national team star Jessie Fleming, and a range of US youth team players in front of Micah as they look to make another run to the championship game in 2018.

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

A starter in six of her 17 appearances in 2017, Kate Swartwout will no doubt be hoping to convert more of those appearances into starts in her junior season. Primarily a defender, Swartwout’s height is a particular advantage in the backline, standing at 6 feet tall, a full two inches taller than any other player on the Catamounts roster. However, there is more to Swartwout’s game than standing tall and heading away crosses. Solid on the ball with a history of playing multiple positions during her younger years, the Gold Coast-born but North Carolina-raised junior has tallied an assist in each of her first two seasons in college. Western Carolina came from the clouds to reach the final of the Southern Conference tournament in 2017 before falling to UNC Greensboro in the final, with that run hopefully serving as a launchpad for this season.

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

Lorena Bugden spent her first year at William & Mary recuperating following a serious knee injury, and returns to a vastly changed program as head coach John Daly retired and Australian assistant coach Vanessa Mann took the head coaching job at UMBC. It was a disappointing season in 2017 for the Tribe as an 8-10-2 record saw the team’s 36-season streak of winning records snapped. The former Western Sydney Wanderers midfielder has been preparing herself well for the season, spending the winter regaining her fitness playing for APIA Leichhardt in the New South Wales NPL2 competition. Whilst she may not have been able to play in her freshman year, Bugden still has as good a chance as any player of securing solid minutes in 2018 as an inexperienced Tribe midfield looks to step up in a roster that features just four seniors and a total of eight upperclassmen, two of which are goalkeepers.

Annika Clayton (Senior, Midfielder, Wyoming, Sydney)

With the graduation of Alisha Bass and Georgia Rowntree after the 2017 season and Jemma House’s transfer to Nova Southeastern, Annika Clayton is now one of just two Australians on the Wyoming roster. Bass and Rowntree were two of the undoubted leaders of last year’s Cowgirls side, and as a senior, Clayton will no doubt be expected to step up to fulfil that role to some degree in 2018. The senior’s role in midfield will no doubt consist more of providing service to the frontline than creating her own chances, but nonetheless, Clayton will surely be hoping to improve on last season’s tally of a single goal as the Cowgirls look to replace the six goals that Aussie pair Alisha Bass and Jemma House tallied last season which represented one-third of the team’s total scoring for the season. Wyoming finished last season on a five-game losing streak that dropped them from 6-4-2 to 6-9-2, missing out on the Mountain West Conference tournament in the process, and ensuring the same thing does not happen again will be paramount in 2018.

Jessie Gentle (Senior, Forward, Wyoming, Woolgoolga)

Jessie Gentle forms the second half of Wyoming’s Aussie duo alongside Annika Clayton, and with both players in their senior season, we may be looking at the conclusion of an extended era of Aussie presence in the Cowgirls’ squad. However, Gentle, like Clayton, is an integral member of the Wyoming side, so the Australians are unlikely to go quietly into the good night. Able to play in any wide position, Gentle has been utilised both on the front line and as a wingback in her time at Laramie and has performed admirably in all positions. Although scoring hasn’t been Gentle’s forte, tallying just one goal in her three seasons, the Woolgoolga product did pop up with two assists in 2017 to move to four for her career, and a further increase in that number would surely go a long way to helping Wyoming improve on last season’s 6-9-2 record.

The Road Less Travelled: Siobhan Longmore’s Journey To Lamar

How does a player from the coastal town of Busselton, Western Australia wind up in south-east Texas at Lamar University? If you’re Siobhan Longmore, it takes a long and winding road that detours through not one, but two junior colleges, and a little bit of guidance from your family. We caught up with Siobhan to find out more about the Dodge City Community College transfer’s journey to this point.

On the back of a glittering junior career that included state representation and a move from Busselton to Perth to continue her development, Siobhan Longmore has spent the past two seasons as an integral part of the Dodge City Community College women’s soccer team. (Yes, that’s Dodge City as in the term ‘get the hell out of Dodge.’) However, it wasn’t a truly smooth ride to get there in the first place as the Western Australian originally planned on playing at another school altogether.

“My sister, Ariana, was a freshman at Dodge City, and I was originally going to a school in Georgia called Georgia Military College. I got there, and it really just wasn’t what I expected and hoped it to be,” Longmore explained. “So the coach at Dodge City, Tim Romanello, took me in and I came here basically because my sister was here. She’s now graduated and she’s playing in California. So pretty much it’s because of my sister that I came here.”

Ariana’s presence at Dodge City may just have saved Siobhan’s career, because it wasn’t long before she was ready to leave Georgia and head back to Busselton, her college career over even before it started.

“I was going to come home three days into it; I hated it. It wasn’t what I was told it was going to be, so I was going to pack my bags and leave,” Longmore revealed. “But my family’s very supportive, they never want me to give up. My sister’s my biggest fan, I’m her biggest fan; she just said, ‘Nope, you’ve got to give it a chance.’ And I’m glad I did because I’ve made so many friends, and it’s just been amazing.”

But why attend a junior college in the first place? Longmore received interest from four year schools, but her sister’s guidance and the chance to play from the outset made the prospect of using her first two years in the US to set herself up for Division I all the more enticing.

“When I first got recruited, I got a lot of emails from four year schools. But my sister was at a community college, and she pretty much said ‘Listen, it’s going to set you up for a four-year, it’s going to give you the experience,’” Longmore explained. “For most incoming freshmen going to a four year university, it’s hard to get playing time. It was good at the community college, I mean, I played every game and I feel like it definitely has developed me to go to the next level.”

Longmore was certainly thrown in the deep end at Dodge City, though. A centre back throughout her junior years, then-Dodge City coach Tim Romanello had different plans for his newest player, moving Siobhan into a new position from the outset in what proved to be an inspired decision.

“He was an amazing coach, practices were different every day, I learnt so many new things. Honestly, I moved to America to play as a centre back, and the first day I got to America, he put me in as a centre midfielder, and I loved it,” Longmore explained. “I played centre midfield for the last two years, and it’s just developed my game. I’ve created so much more skill and strength and speed that I never had before, that I didn’t know I could have.”

“Over the last two years I’ve gained so much speed that I didn’t know I had. I’m not the best with foot skills, but I’ve got them there, and I have a very strong shot from the left side. I’m very competitive – if someone passes me, I’ll get mad about it and it’ll never happen again.”

“So now I’ve been recruited to play left defender (at Lamar), which is good because I’m left-footed and I love defence, and I also love attacking, which is what I can do in that position.”

However, the chance to play a certain position is never the be-all and end-all when it comes to recruiting, with many other factors coming into play. Hailing from a coastal town, Longmore craved a return to a beachside setting, but clearly there were other factors at play, including the opportunity to play for a team that coach Steve Holeman has turned from a 2 win team in 2016 to conference champions in 2017. However, it wasn’t Holeman who recruited Longmore, but one of his assistants.

“My whole recruiting process didn’t go through him, it went through the assistant coach Henry (Zapata), I knew the background and how (Holeman) has carried the team to be conference winners. I just think it’s amazing how you can turn around in one season. But my whole recruiting process went through Henry, and he was so good, and very open and honest about everything,” Longmore explained.

“We were talking for about a month and a half. I was going to go out and visit, but with school and stuff I couldn’t, and it got to the point where just after Christmas, I actually told him that Lamar probably won’t be a place for me.

“He came back, he offered me a full scholarship, and he pretty much made it sound like everything I wanted it to be. I have family in Texas, so at that point we took the drive up there, and I looked at the campus, and I absolutely loved it. I saw the soccer field, and I’m actually going up there in about three weeks to meet the team and watch them play one of their spring games, so I’m really excited.”

“When I came in as a sophomore, I said to everyone, ‘I am going somewhere on the beach, I don’t care where it is!’ I put it out there to schools in California and Florida, and, there was a school in Florida that I was going to go to, but Lamar came up and it was the best option for me.”

So what does the future hold for Lamar’s newest Australian? The junior certainly has big dreams, with one eye on entering the professional ranks following her two years at the top level of college soccer.

“I’m staying in America for the summer, so I’m going to be training hard, and after the two years, I know that this is big to say, but I really want to get picked up by the Houston Dash. I guess that’s kind of the dream, so I have to go hard from start to finish,” Longmore explains, slightly shyly.

“But you know, if I was to come home, I would hopefully try to get into the Perth Glory team. I’ve tried that before, but then I’ve developed so much as a player, like I didn’t even know I could develop that much. But I definitely want to continue soccer, I want to keep playing at the highest level I can.”

Interestingly, Siobhan will not be the only Australian junior college transfer to be playing in the Southland Conference, with Iowa Lakes Community College transfer Tessa Calabria joining fellow Australians Kristy Helmers and Tenille Harberger at Nicholls State. The pair even faced off in a junior college match last season, with both sides featuring a number of Australians.

“We actually have a photo together! We we played against them at the start of the season, and one of the other girls who plays on the Iowa team, I went to school with her and lived with her when I went to John Curtin College (in Perth). So it was kind of a big reunion there, and then we got together and there were four Australians on the team. I was like, ‘Let’s take a big photo of all the Australians!’. There’s another Australian on my team, my roommate, who’s also from Busselton, so we have a photo of about six of us, which was cool.”

Madeleine Duncan, Tessa Calabria, Sienna Scully (all Iowa Lakes CC), Siobhan Longmore, and Keeley Milner (both Dodge City CC)

“We’ve been in contact, we’ve been talking about it, and she told me that’s where she was going to go, and I said that’s awesome, we’re going to be playing against each other. I love playing against other Aussies, and even when I’m at basketball games and I see Australians on the other team’s roster, after the game I go up to them, I give them a hug, we have such good chats, it’s so cool.”

JUCO transfer Tessa Calabria becomes Nicholls’ third Aussie

The Australian contingent at Nicholls State has grown to three, with junior college transfer Tessa Calabria joining Kristy Helmers and Tenille Harberger in Thibodaux. A forward out of Adelaide, Calabria spent the past two seasons at Iowa Lakes Community College, helping the team to 15 wins during her stint with the program. A First Team All-Region selection in 2016, Calabria also received an All-Tournament Team selection following her performances in the 2016 NJCAA Region XI tournament, which included a hat-trick in a 5-0 quarter-final win over Dakota County Technical College.

Nicholls State struggled to score goals in conference play last season, an area in which Calabria excelled during her two seasons in junior college. The South Australian scored over 20 goals in her two seasons in Iowa, establishing herself as one of the Iowa Lakes side’s most potent attacking threats due to her ability in front of goal. Having scored just five goals in Southland Conference play and picking up only 3 wins in 11 games last season, the Colonels’ faithful will be hoping that potency can transfer to the Division I level, and in the process turn a couple of losses into draws or wins.

Calabria will no doubt be expected to shoulder at least part of the goalscoring load left by the graduating Emily Werenskiold, who was equal second-highest scorer on the team with three of the Colonels’ 16 goals in 2017. With fellow Australian Kristy Helmers now entering her junior year with the program, Nicholls State fans will surely be hoping that the new pair of Australian attacking players can form the same link that Helmers did with Colonels legend Jess Coates prior to Coates’ graduation following the 2016 season.

Calabria is the second JUCO transfer to join a Division I team this year, alongside Lamar’s Siobhan Longmore, who joined from Dodge City Community College in Kansas. The pair actually faced off last season, with both Calabria and Longmore tallying 3 shots and 2 shots on target in a game that Dodge City won 2-1. The pair will now face off at least once in each of the next two seasons, with both Nicholls State and Lamar playing in the Southland Conference.