With conference schedules well underway, the pressure for players to deliver in close, tight encounters could prove to be the difference come tournament time.
This past week, a Big Ten scoring standout provided a pair of game-winning goals, on the road, to pick up Player of the Week honors. Below are the details, including the TopDrawerSoccer Team of the Week.
Please submit Team of the Week nominations every Monday to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Team of the Week: Sept. 14-20
GK Ashton McKeown, Long Beach State – It was an unbeaten road swing for McKeown and Long Beach State. The netminder gave up a pair of goals but made eight saves to preserve a 2-2 draw against Cincinnati, and then made three saves in a 1-0 win against DePaul on Sunday.
D Claire Wagner, Clemson – Her hopeful effort from range nestled into the far corner of the Notre Dame goal, securing a big win for Clemson at home. Wagner logged 101 minutes in the victory as well, helping keep threats at the Tiger goal to a minimum.
D Laura Rayfield, Oklahoma – The Sooners successfully defended home turf against Tulsa and Arizona State over the weekend, thanks in part to Rayfield’s success at both ends of the field. She scored a goal apiece in each victory, while playing all 180 minutes as the defense held firm.
D Schuyler DeBree, Duke – The sophomore from New Jersey was handed the task of slowing down Florida State All American Cheyna Williams on Sunday. DeBree handled that task with aplomb, helping limit Williams to one shot in a 0-0 draw.
M Katie Bowen, North Carolina – The Tar Heels edged Virginia Tech in a tough and tenacious ACC opener. Bowen’s calm finish in the second half provided the difference between the two teams, capping off a nice combination play in the attacking third.
M Brooke Ramsier, Auburn – After losing its SEC opener the weekend prior, the Tigers bounced back in emphatic fashion, putting a trio of goals past Tennessee in a 3-1 win. Ramsier had a hand in all three goals, notching three assists and helping Auburn assert control in midfield.
M Annie Alvarado, UCLA – Badly in need of a win ahead of the start of Pac-12 play this week, Alvarado provided the winning goal for UCLA from the penalty spot, capping off an impressive, controlled effort from the junior midfielder.
M Natalia Gomez-Junco, LSU – Down a goal against Georgia last Thursday, Gomez-Junco turned the game around for LSU. First, her thunderous free kick tied the game at 3-3 before she polished things off and secured a vital SEC win with another dazzling finish.
F Simone Kolander, Minnesota – Player of the Week plaudits land on the Minnesota native after a tremendous week for herself and the program. On the road to open Big Ten play, she scored the game winners in a 2-1 win over Ohio State on Thursday and a 1-0 victory against Penn State on Sunday.
F Mimi Asom, Princeton – A bright start to her college career continued for Asom, who netted the game winning goals for the Tigers over the past week. She scored her side’s second in a 4-1 defeat of La Salle last Wednesday, before scoring an overtime winner versus William & Mary.
Honorable Mention: D Kadeisha Buchanan (West Virginia), D Christina Gibbons (Duke), F Maycie McKay (Lipscomb), F Krissy Kirkhoff (IUPUI), F Tyler Lussi (Princeton), F Summer Clarke (LSU), F Rachel Daly (St. John's), D Saga Fredriksson (UCF), F Savannah Jordan (Florida)