Around the World of WoSo: South Carolina Survive, Wilkinson Continues to Shine and NWSL Pair End Year With Injury

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Top 5 showdown between Duke and Virginia:

These ACC powerhouses are ranked #4 and #5 respectively, and the Blue Devils backed that up with a big win over the Cavaliers on Saturday. It was a perfect senior night at Koskinen Field, as all six Duke seniors started the game and one scored the game winner. Christina Gibbons was called upon to take a penalty kick in the 63rd minute, and she buried it to grab her fourth goal on the season.

With this important victory, Duke snaps a 10-game regular season losing streak to Virginia. The Blue Devils are 11-2-2 on the season and are still unbeaten in ACC play this year. It doesn’t get any easier for Duke as they travel to Tallahassee to face another tough ACC opponent in FSU on Thursday. As for the Cavaliers, they fall to 10-3-2 and look to rebound Thursday night against NC State.

Arkansas Falls to Auburn in SEC clash:

The 3-2 score line doesn’t really do Auburn justice.  The Tigers controlled this match from the first whistle and never looked back. With three second half goals from Brooke Ramsier, Kristen Dodson and Casie Ramsier, Auburn pushed past #12 Arkansas for a sixth consecutive conference win. For Brooke Ramsier, it was her third goal of the season. Ramsier has come alive as in the last two weeks, tallying two goals and three assists to continue to the Tigers six-game win streak.

Auburn improves to 11-4-0 and has a tough road game ahead in Baton Rouge as they face off with LSU on Thursday. Arkansas only had one loss in the last nine games before losing to South Carolina and now Auburn in the same week. The Razorbacks still have an impressive record at 13-3-0 and look to get back to winning ways. They won’t have to wait too long as they host Missouri (who are on a two-game winning streak) on Thursday.

Tennessee’s Wilkinson shining bright:

Many know this 24-year-old from her rapid success on the New Zealand National team (two Women’s World Cups, two Olympics), but she has had a remarkable career at the University of Tennessee here in the states. The Whangarei native is a great comeback story after getting injured in preseason last year, her senior year. She graduated but was able to return to finish her playing career as a grad student.  

In 63 appearances for the Vols, Wilkinson has 31 goals and 17 assists. She is tied fourth in program history with 10 game-winning goals to her name. This season she has led Tennessee to a 9-6-1 record, while also leading the team with nine goals and adding nine assists.  For me, this is one of the best stories of the year in women’s college soccer. Wilkinson has scored in three consecutive games helping her team to two wins and a draw in that span. The Vols return to action Thursday versus Mississippi State.

Nadim and Dydasco injured as NWSL season ends:

    Portland Thorns forward Nadia Nadim suffered a Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL) tear in the semifinal loss to Western New York two weeks ago. The Danish international has played in the NWSL all four years and this season led the Thorns with nine goals. She announced she had surgery last Tuesday to repair. An LCL tear is a result of a crucial blow to the inside of the knee and overstretching the ligament, according to USCF Health. Recovery time takes anywhere between six weeks to three months.

Washington Spirit defender Caprice Dydasco went down in the 17th minute after a challenge from Makenzy Doniak in the NWSL championship game against WNY. Two days later it was confirmed to be a torn left Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) and Meniscus for the 23-year-old. These can be caused by many things: twisting of the knee in a swift movement, stopping suddenly or some kind of collision.  Unfortunately this is a common injury among female soccer players. With surgery, Dydasco is expected to be out six to nine months, but each case has a different timeline according to degree of tear and athlete.

I hope both of these players have a healthy recovery and get the rest they need. I’m looking forward to seeing them back on the field next year for their respective clubs.

NWSL players take their talents to Australia:

Entering its ninth year of existence, the Westfield W-League has begun its preseason that consists of practices and a few scrimmages. It’s a popular destination for many players who are in the NWSL and looking for a home in the off-season. Signed to a contract that will last only a few months, it’s time well spent keeping in game shape and sharpening skills.  Of course, many of the Australian internationals return to their homeland at this time every year. Most notable are Boston Breaker Kyah Simon, the Houston Dash’s Lydia Williams, Sky Blue FC’s Sam Kerr, Orlando Pride’s Steph Catley and recently crowned champion with WNY, Alanna Kennedy.

Many Americans have made announcements and are on their way to Australia to start right away. Of the first signed was Katie Stengel (WAS), Alex Arlitt (FCKC) and Seattle duo Kendall Fletcher and Paige Nielsen. Following them was Stephanie Ochs (HOU), Hayley Raso (POR) and Chicago duo Alyssa Mautz and Vanessa DiBernardo.

The W-League season will begin play November 5th.

Gamecocks survive tough test from Gators:

It took 102 minutes to decide a winner between these SEC opponents. With South Carolina dominating every team they face, (boasting a 14-0-1 record) they have more than earned the #2 rank. But on Sunday, the #17 Gators gave them a serious challenge. Florida is no slouch either, showcasing a 10-3 record and had a four-game win streak heading into this matchup.

The Gators have one of the top forwards in the country this season in Savannah Jordan who has 12 goals and seven assists to lead her team. South Carolina’s leading scorer Savannah McCaskill almost matches Jordan’s stats, contributing 11 goals and seven assists. But neither managed to get on the score sheet in this one. Two minutes in to the second overtime, fellow Gamecock Simone Wark got taken down in the box and Senior Chelsea Drennan stepped up and buried it top shelf.

With the win, they are off to the best start in program history. Plenty of former players in attendance, including 2016 Olympic Bronze medalist and recent NWSL champion/MVP Sabrina D’Angelo. South Carolina is back in action Thursday at Vanderbilt, while Florida looks to rebound on Thursday at Alabama.