2015 End Of Season Awards

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

Freshman Of The Year: Tia Gavin (Washington State)

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

Goalkeeper Of The Year: Georgia Rowntree (Wyoming)

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

Defender Of The Year: Emily Hulbert (Hofstra)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Player Of The Year Votes:

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

Week 8 Wrap

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

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert)

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

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

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

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

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

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)

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

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

Colorado (Kahlia Hogg, Alexandra Huynh)

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

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

Washington State (Tia Gavin)

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

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

Winthrop (Jai Jackson)

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

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

Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)

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

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

East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson)

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

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

Alabama State (Shelbi Vienna-Hallam)

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

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

Massachusetts (Laura Johns)

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

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

Player Of The Year Points:

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

Week 1 Wrap

Whilst a few players were unable to find any playing time this weekend, others managed to make some real statements in this first weekend of the season. Without further ado, here’s 2015’s first weekly wrap.

Iona (Kiri Dale)

This week’s results: lost to LIU Brooklyn 2-0, lost to Vermont 1-0

An inauspicious beginning to the season for Iona, as the Gaels lost to LIU Brooklyn and Vermont in games that they would have deemed themselves a fighting chance in. Both games were fairly even contests, with the shot totals being incredibly close on both occasions, but it was the Gaels’ opponents that managed to put those shots into the net. LIU Brooklyn opened the scoring in the 8th minute before putting things to rest with a second 13 minutes from time, whilst Vermont got the jump on Iona in just the 4th minute of play, with no further goals being scored throughout the match, and the teams combining for just 5 shots on target. Unfortunately, Kiri Dale failed to see any playing time in either game.

Massachusetts (Laura Johns)

This week’s results: lost to Syracuse 6-0, drew with New Hampshire 0-0 (2OT)

Massachusetts walked right into a slaughter in their first game against Syracuse, going down 6-0 after being down 3-0 after 23 minutes. Massachusetts managed to keep Syracuse out for the remainder of the first half, but lightning struck again in the second half, with the Orange notching up another 3 goals. The second match of the weekend, against New Hampshire, proved to be a much closer affair. Whilst the teams combined for 25 shots (13-12 New Hampshire), neither team was able to beat the opposition goalkeeper, and the game ended 0-0 after 110 minutes of play. Laura Johns came off the bench in both games, playing 31 minutes against Syracuse and 10 minutes against New Hampshire.

Drexel (Emma Heckenberg)

This week’s results: defeated Villanova 1-0, lost to Buffalo 1-0

Drexel kicked off their season with a victory in a local derby against Villanova. A tight first half was punctuated by the only goal of the game, which came in the 44th minute courtesy of Drexel’s Vanessa Kara. Drexel kicked on in the second half, unleashing 13 shots to Villanova’s 2, but couldn’t find the net a second time. The second match against Buffalo proved to be a much tighter, yet still fairly open affair. Like the Villanova match, the only goal of the game came late in the first half, but unfortunately it came from Buffalo and Drexel would finish the weekend with one win and one loss. Emma Heckenberg sadly did not see any playing time this weekend.

Nicholls State (Jess Coates)

This week: defeated Louisiana College 6-0, lost to Louisiana-Lafayette 2-0

Nicholls State’s weekend started comfortably enough, defeating Division III Louisiana College 6-0 in their final exhibition game, but the Colonels were brought back to Earth with a thud against Louisiana-Lafayette, falling to a 2-0 loss. Despite failing to register a shot throughout the first half and giving up five, Nicholls State went in just 1-0 down. Even stranger may be the second half – the Colonels tallied fourteen shots to 7, yet Louisiana-Lafayette doubled their lead on 81 minutes, and it stayed 2-0 until the end. Jess Coates started for Nicholls State and managed two shots, with one on target.

Southern (Simone Arthur)

This week’s results: lost to South Carolina State 5-1, lost to Texas-Rio Grande Valley 3-0

A disappointing weekend for Southern this weekend, suffering two heavy defeats in a tournament hosted by Texas-Rio Grande Valley. After going down 1-0 early to South Carolina State, things started looking up when Jami Blackston tied things up in the 26th minute. That proved to be a false dawn, though, as South Carolina State tacked on four second half goals for a 5-1 victory. Things didn’t go much better against Texas-Rio Grande Valley, as the Jaguars were outshot 20-6 in a 3-0 loss that started with a goal in the 4th minute and was followed up with two more in the second half. Simone Arthur unfortunately did not see any playing time this weekend.

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

This week’s results: defeated Missouri S&T 2-0, drew with Northern Iowa 3-3 (2OT)

Siena Senatore started in her first two college games as Southeast Missouri State went undefeated throughout the weekend. The Redhawks took a while to find their range against local rivals Missouri S&T, as 24 shots for the game resulted in only 2 goals, with the first not coming unit 7 minutes in the second half. Southeast Missouri State managed to tack on a second 15 minutes from time to seal the win. The side then moved onto some tougher competition in the form of Northern Iowa, but at halftime looked set for another win as they took a 2-0 lead to the break. Then came the comeback, as Northern Iowa scored twice to tie things up with 20 minutes to play. The Redhawks would score again in the 80th minute, but Northern Iowa managed to find another equaliser two minutes later. Siena Senatore got the start in defence in both games, whilst Maddy Cornell came off the bench in both games.

Colgate (Dylan Holmes)

This week’s results: lost to Connecticut 4-1, lost to Boston College 3-0

Colgate scheduled a real test to start the season, and unfortunately it was not a test that they passed as the Raiders went down in both games. Against Connecticut, Colgate gave up the mind numbing total of 30 shots to 8 in a 4-1 loss, but against Boston College the Raiders held their own for the majority of the match. Despite being thoroughly outdone in the major stats, Colgate kept the scoreline even at 0-0 for 70 minutes, but the more highly-fancied Boston College team kicked down the stretch for 3 goals in a 13 minute period late in the game to seal the victory. Sadly, we did not see Dylan Holmes feature in either match this weekend.

Colorado (Kahlia Hogg, Alex Huynh)

This week’s results: drew with Colorado State 1-1 (2OT), defeated Colorado College 3-0

A rocky start to the weekend with a draw against Colorado State eventually smoothed out as Colorado managed their first win of the season in their second game against Colorado College. The Buffaloes were expected to come away with two wins this weekend, but an 8th minute goal to Colorado State threw a spanner in the works early on. Despite outshooting their in-state rivals 21-8 in regulation, it was not until a corner in the 82nd minute that Colorado were able to snatch an equaliser through striker Brie Hooks. Colorado continued to attack throughout overtime, but could not find a winner. Goals were much easier to come by against Colorado College, though. Strikes in the 24th, 36th, and 51st minutes made for a comprehensive victory as the Buffaloes kept their Colorado Cup hopes alive. Kahlia Hogg and Alex Huynh played a full 110 minutes against Colorado State, whilst Kahlia played 84 minutes and Alex played 69 in the win over Colorado College.

Alabama State (Shelbi Vienna-Hallam)

This week’s results: lost to Georgia State 5-0, lost to Troy 3-2

It was a slow start for Alabama State, as the Hornets went down 5-0 to Georgia State in a match that they were never really in as they gave up all five goals in a 30 minute period either side of halftime. You could be forgiven for thinking things would go the same way against Troy, but Alabama State were having none of that as they rallied from 1-0 down to lead 2-1 as the teams went to the sheds. With 10 minutes remaining, Alabama State looked headed for a famous victory, but two quick goals from the Trojans saw any hopes of an upset disappear as quickly as they’d been established in the first half. Shelbi Vienna-Hallam started both games in defence for Alabama State as she continues to be moved around the field after playing in midfield in exhibition games.

East Tennessee State (Isabel Hodgson)

This week’s results: defeated South Carolina Upstate 2-0, defeated Radford 3-1

East Tennessee State enjoyed a winning start to 2015 as they endeavour to match last season’s 15-6 mark. The Buccaneers were barely troubled in their match against South Carolina Upstate, as they scored 2 goals in the first 19 minutes whilst only facing 2 shots all game, of which only one troubled the goalkeeper. Radford proved to be a far tougher opponent. East Tennessee State were outshot 17-15, and the work of goalkeeper Jasmine Elliott combined with scoring on 3 of 4 shots on target proved to be gamechangers as the Buccaneers managed a 3-1 win that didn’t reflect the closeness of the match. Isabel Hodgson played a full 90 minutes in both games, even starting in defence against Radford.

Hofstra (Emily Hulbert)

This week: lost to Penn State 2-1, lost to Rutgers 1-0

Hofstra opened up their season with two tough games against Penn State and Rutgers, however any attempt to improve their strength of schedule may have backfired slightly as the Pride were unable to get a result in either game this weekend. Up against title chasing Penn State, Hofstra gave up an early goal, scored by one of the nation’s top strikers in Mallory Weber. Hofstra managed to equalise through Leah Galton just after the hour mark, but Penn State managed to find a winner in the 68th minute through a free kick, a just reward for a dominant performance from the Nittany Lions. The game against Rutgers was far closer, and it was a solitary goal five minutes from halftime that would prove to be the difference as Hofstra were outplayed but not humiliated by Rutgers. Emily Hulbert started in defence for Hofstra in both games, and managed to have an impact on the attacking end as well, tallying 3 shots over the weekend.

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

This week’s results: drew with Montana 0-0 (2OT)

Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how many Aussies you have on your team, you just can’t get the win. Four Aussies started for Wyoming in this game, whilst Annika Clayton came off the bench. But despite outshooting Montana 11-7 (6-1 on target), the teams could not be split after 110 minutes of play. Georgia Rowntree played the first half in goal, whilst Annika Clayton and Jessie Gentle had two shots apiece for the Cowgirls. Alisha Bass and Candace Sciberras also started for Wyoming.

Albany (Claire Urquhart)

This week’s results: defeated Davidson 2-1, lost to Campbell 4-3 (2OT)

Albany took a trip to North Carolina to start the season and came oh-so-close to coming away with two victories. Against Davidson, the Great Danes took the lead on 34 minutes, but gave up an equaliser just 7 minutes later. Albany were able to find a winner after halftime, with Mariah Williams chipping the Davidson ‘keeper in the 64th minute to give Albany a 2-1 win. Things didn’t start off quite as well against Campbell, as Albany went down 2-0 inside 25 minutes before grabbing one back before halftime. Campbell extended the lead back out to 3-1 just after the hour mark, but just 30 seconds later Albany made it 3-2. Ten minutes from time, Albany tied it up, but you don’t get away with a draw after 90 minutes in college soccer, and a minute into the second half of overtime Campbell denied Albany a fantastic comeback win by notching a winner of their own. Unfortunately, there was no playing time for Claire Urquhart this weekend.

Creighton (Anastasia McCleary)

This week’s results: defeated South Dakota 1-0, lost to UMKC 2-1

A mixed weekend results-wise for Creighton, as a win against South Dakota was followed up with a loss to UMKC. However, the most important part of this weekend was seeing Anastasia McCleary back in the starting lineup for the Bluejays after a frustrating junior year in 2014 following her transfer from Alabama State. Anastasia played 67 minutes as a starter in the win over South Dakota, before playing another 40 minutes off the bench against UMKC. Already, Anastasia has chalked up nearly 30% of her total minutes tally from last season, and it is great to see her back playing solid football under the side’s new coach.

Washington State (Tia Gavin)

This week’s results: defeated Seattle 3-1, defeated Idaho 3-1

Washington State enjoyed a successful start to the season, with a couple of 3-1 victories to open the campaign. It was a case of first half successes leading to victories for the Cougars this weekend, as on both occasions the side went up 3-0 inside the first 40 minutes before their opponents managed to grab one back before halftime. On both occasions, though, Washington State were largely untroubled and came away with two solid wins. Tia Gavin also had an exceptional start to her collegiate career. Coming off the bench in both games, the Sydneysider scored on debut against Seattle, before teeing up a teammate against Idaho to be credited with an assist.

Murray State (Nyomi Devine, Harriet Withers)

This week’s results: defeated Mississippi State 2-1

Murray State pulled off a remarkable upset this weekend, knocking off SEC side Mississippi State. Mississippi State appeared to have the edge stats-wise, but Aussie sophomore Harriet Withers opened the scoring in the 20th minute. Mississippi State equalised 14 minutes later, and the sides went in all level at halftime. In the 62nd minute, Courtney Robicheaux of Mississippi State gave away a penalty and also saw red. Murray State’s Taylor Richerson converted the penalty, and Murray State were able to use their numerical advantage to hold their opponents at bay and walk off with the win. As well as Harriet Withers’ goalscoring performance, Nyomi Devine also started for the Racers.

College Matildas Player Of The Year Points:

3: Tia Gavin (Washington State)
2: Harriet Withers (Murray State)
1: Emily Hulbert (Hofstra)

2015 Signing Period Recap

It’s now been three months since National Signing Day, and the majority of teams have released their signing classes. This year, seven new players will replace the three seniors who graduated after the 2014 season, taking the player total to 21 for this season. Four of the six players will be joining teams that either currently or previously have had Australians playing for them, with the remaining two players becoming the first Australians to play for their respective teams.

Wyoming have once again stacked up on the Aussies, with the current trio of Alisha Bass, Georgia Rowntree, and Candace Sciberras being joined by two more Aussies: Sydney University midfielder Annika Clayton, and Jessie Gentle, who hails from Woolgoolga on the NSW Mid-North Coast.

Also adding to their list of Aussies are the Redhawks of Southeast Missouri State, whose trio of Jenna Collingridge, Bridget Sankey, and Maddy Cornell will become a quartet with the addition of Canberra’s Australian Under 17 national team defender Siena Senatore.

One team who is reloading on the Aussie front is Washington State, the former home of ex-Matildas player Rachael Doyle. The Cougars, who play in arguably the best conference in the nation, the PAC-12, have signed Western Sydney Wanderers and Manly United striker Tia Gavin. Tia played on the Football NSW Institute side that won NPLNSW Women’s 1 in 2014, and her form saw her earn a W-League contract for the most recent season.

Claire Urquhart has signed with the University of Albany, and is already over in the US training with her new team, whereas most other players will not be joining until August. The age group national team midfielder is the first Australian to play for Albany.

Adelaide’s Dylan Holmes, who has represented the Young Matildas and played for Adelaide United in the W-League, has committed to Colgate, a team that is definitely on the rise despite being controversially omitted from the NCAA Tournament last season. Players like Dylan will only help Colgate’s cause over the next four years.

Our final addition to the college scene this year is Melbourne’s Emma Heckenberg, who will be joining Drexel in Philadelphia. Emma spent the 2014 season playing alongside Hofstra’s Emily Hulbert at Monbulk in the Victorian Women’s Premier League, and the two will now be conference rivals as Drexel and Hofstra both play in the Colonial Athletic Association.

We’ll be taking a closer look at the new players soon, but in the meantime, if there are any players we’ve missed, don’t hesitate to let us know!