Once again, this past week of Division I women’s soccer action reinforced the sports cliché that defense wins championships.
While a couple of games were decided by multi-goal margins, every single game was close for long stretches, with goalkeepers and back lines ultimately proving to be decisive in the quartet of quarterfinals.
One defender – Florida State center back Kassey Kallman – continued to reinforce her case for the Hermann Trophy, scoring the winning goal and helping the Seminoles keep a clean sheet in a 4-0 defeat of Boston College. Kallman’s excellent form continued as FSU looks like legitimate title contenders heading into the penultimate weekend. That earns her TopDrawerSoccer.com Player of the Week honors.
Here’s a look at the rest of the Team of the Week.
TDS Player of the Week: Kassey Kallman, Florida State
GK Dayle Colpitts, Virginia Tech: Making five saves on the evening, the senior goalkeeper showed up when her team needed her the most, keeping it close in the first half against Duke before the Hokies pulled away with two goals after the break.
D Molly Menchel, Virginia: The marauding outside back had another fantastic shift on the flank, and she scored – or forced, depending on who you ask – the decisive goal in Virginia’s 2-1 defeat of Michigan.
D Ally Courtnall, UCLA: Nothing she did showed up on the stat sheet, but watching Courtnall throughout the matchup with Carolina, it was clear how important she was to UCLA’s triumph. The quick outside back – who also runs track – kept up with UNC star Kealia Ohai for all 102 minutes, and even offered a threat going forward. Her speed added a different element to Friday night’s win.
D Kassey Kallman, Florida State: Not only did Kallman help the Seminoles maintain their defensive poise against a tough Boston College attack, but the U.S. youth international bagged the game winning goal. She struck first in what turned into a 4-0 win.
D Caprice Dydasco, UCLA: While Courtnall shut down Ohai on one side, Dydasco worked her socks off on the other side of the Bruin defense, limiting UNC’s chances from her flank, and pushing forward into the attack when she had the opportunities.
MF Morgan Brian, Virginia: The Cavalier midfield ace scored again – making it four-for-four in NCAA tournament games – and was in top form, pulling the strings in the midfield in yet another UVA victory.
MF Katie Yensen, Virginia Tech: Locked in a back-and-forth encounter in the first half against Duke, Yensen popped up to score what turned into the game-winning goal, striking with eight seconds left in the first half. Both teams had chances prior to that, but Yensen’s goal proved to be decisive, as the Hokies added two more after the half to book a College Cup spot.
MF Marta Bakowska-Mathews, Florida State: Coming off the bench, Bakowska-Mathews put the game out of reach with a pair of second half goals, while also notching an assist on Kallman’s opening and winning strike.
F Taylor Smith, UCLA: It was a scrappy goal in the end, but Smith managed to bundle home the winning goal in the second overtime as UCLA achieved history with its first win over North Carolina and booked a trip to the College Cup thanks to her tally.
F Jazmine Reeves, Virginia Tech: With a two-goal lead in the second half, Reeves’ pace became an even bigger asset, and she ultimately put the game out of reach with a well-deserved goal, the third on the day that sealed the Hokies’ spot in the semifinals.
F Nkem Ezurike, Michigan: The hard-working forward didn’t have a lot of joy against Virginia – few offensive players have this season – but deserves mention for her tireless pressure of Virginia defenders, as one forced turnover led to Michigan’s lone goal on the evening in a losing effort.
Other players considered: GK Anna Sieloff (North Carolina), D Kristin Grubka (Florida State), MF Annie Steinlage (Virginia), D Abby Dahlkemper (UCLA), MF Ashley Meier (Virginia Tech), D Meghan Brigman (North Carolina)
photo credit: Florida State Athletics