Onward and Upward

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor 

The USC women's soccer team concluded its impressive season under new head coach Keidane McAlpine in heartbreaking fashion on Saturday, falling to the No. 4 Pepperdine Waves in penalty kicks in the first round of the NCAA tournament. 

"These are never easy. They're never anything that you can walk away from and feel just great about," said McAlpine. "In the same way, we are extremely proud of the season we had changing the direction of the program." 

The Trojans battled toe-to-toe with the Waves in front of a feisty Pepperdine crowd in Malibu for 110 minutes before heading to penalty kicks to decide the outcome. Freshman Nicole Molen gave the Women of Troy the early lead when she scored her first career goal for USC off a tremendous corner from junior Jamie Fink. USC held the lead until the 70th minute when Pepperdine evened things out with a goal off of a rebound from senior goalie Caroline Stanley's save.

Both squads had plenty of opportunities in the second half and the two overtime periods; however, neither team could capitalize ultimately leading to the most heartbreaking way to decide a game: penalty kicks. Stanley saved the first Pepperdine attempt, but the Waves responded immediately with a block of their own. The Trojans ultimately fell 4-2 in PKs ending their season in devastating fashion. 

"In regards to the game, we fought hard - that's a long game when you go into double overtime and then PKs, but the game is cruel," said the senior goalkeeper. "It really doesn't judge the talent of this squad. I'm not worried about them at all next year. In fact, I think they're only going to go up and rebuild this program into a dynasty." 

The Women of Troy finished the 2014 season with a trip to the NCAA tournament and a winning season for the first time since 2010 - a goal of the new coaching staff. After finishing 11th in the PAC-12 last year, no one really considered a trip to the NCAA tournament in 2014, especially with the implementation of a brand new coaching staff. 

"When we looked at the roster, we knew it had a lot of talent on it. The question was could we get them to believe in the vision, get them to believe in each other, get them to commit to being great teammates because we believe it starts with great chemistry," said the head coach. 

Well, the girls bought into McAlpine's system finishing fourth in the PAC-12 under the leadership of the reigning PAC-12 Coach of the Year. The Women of Troy set a school record for the best start - opening the season with six wins and two ties and prior to Saturday, they had 41 goals which surpasses the 31 goals for all of the 2013 season. 

Though the 2014 season just concluded on Saturday, McAlpine is already preparing for his sophomore season focusing on the growth potential of his young team. However, the Women of Troy do lose four seniors in goalie Caroline Stanley, forward Jessica Musmanno, midfielder Alex Quincey and defender Heather Davis.

"We ask them to get better every day. We ask them to just grind every day. Now that they've been with us for a year, there's some understanding of expectations," said McAlpine. "We're just going to continue to clean up details, clean up technically. We return a large group of women, so we expect big things."

Here are John McGillen's photos from the devastating first-round loss to Pepperdine...

3-Points: PSU 76, USC 68

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

The Trojans fell to the Vikings in their season opener on Saturday night after giving up 23 turnovers. However, the host of new and talented Trojans showed promise in their debut.

Click here for the full recap.

Turnover Terror

As head coach Andy Enfield said, "It's impossible to beat a team with 23 turnovers." The Trojans found this out the hard way as the starting five gave up the ball 22 times, never able to fully take the momentum away from the Vikings. Even when the Trojans took a one-point lead midway through the second half and seemingly had momentum on their side, they turned the ball over and failed to recover the lead again. Enfield credited the turnovers to poor decision-making rather than sloppy play but is confident in his team's ability to compete this season regardless of its relative inexperience.

Fantastic Freshmen

In his USC debut, Jordan McLaughlin led the team in scoring with 19 points and six assists. The two freshmen starters, McLaughlin and Malik Martin combined for 29 points and newcomer Elijah Stewart tacked on five of his own. The Trojans will be reliant upon fresh faces this season and it's clear after one game that the youngsters aren't shying away from the challenge. "I'm happy with their effort but disappointed with their turnovers," said Enfield. "They played hard, they're good players. They just have to learn and get better."

Quick Turnaround

The Trojans have less than 48 hours to bounce back from their season-opening loss as they host Tennessee Tech on Monday night at 8 p.m. The focus will be on eliminating turnovers and coming out of the gate fast, two areas Darion Clark feels confident his team can execute. "You'll see more of our style of play as the year goes on and as we start playing defense the way we know how to," said the redshirt sophomore. "It's a good thing we had this type of game early. On Monday, we will be a much better team."

Here are the SnappyTV game highlights:

Tip-Off Time

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USC men's basketball gets the 2014-15 season underway tonight at 7:30 p.m. inside Galen Center against Portland State.  If you cannot attend the game, it will be broadcast live on Pac-12 Networks and ESPN Radio 710.

All season long, ESPNLA 710 will be the radio home of the Trojans, with any conflicts being farmed out to XEWW AM 690, and Chris Fisher returns as the play-by-play voice for his fifth season. Jordan Moore will join him as a sideline reporter on all home games and conference road games.

"We are excited about both our broadcast team of Chris Fisher and Jordan Moore and our radio home on ESPNLA 710 for USC basketball," said Dan Shell, General Manager/Vice President, USC Sports Properties. "We are also pleased that all games that can't air on ESPNLA 710 will have a consistent home on AM 690, a station with tremendous signal reach throughout Southern California."

Click here for the complete radio release.

The Trojans feature an exciting new team in Andy Enfield's second season in charge led by freshman point guard Jordan McLaughlin. In fact, 11 of the 14 players are freshmen and sophomores.

Hoops Class of '15: PF Chimezie Metu

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USC men's basketball doubled down on top recruits this week by signing big man Chimezie Metu to go along with Bennie Boatwright.

Click here for the complete story.

Metu's athleticism and length make him a force on the defensive end of the court. Metu was named the Pioneer League MVP last season as he averaged 18 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks per game and led his Lawndale High team to the CIF Southern Section quarterfinals.

Metu, originally from Nigeria, played at the 2014 NIKE Global Challenge for Nigeria and averaged 16 points and 9.8 rebounds, while recording seven assists and six blocks in the four games to earn All-Tournament selection. He had offers from schools all over the country including UConn, Oregon, Arizona State, Creighton and Harvard.


McGillen Galleries: USC vs Cal

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USC is 2-0 in November thanks to another impressive offensive performance from Cody Kessler, Nelson Agholor and Co. John McGillen caught the whole thing on camera.

Here are his galleries:

Meet Malik Martin

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USC men's basketball tips off the 2014-15 season Saturday night (7:30 p.m.) at Galen Center against Portland State.

Click here for tickets.

As we countdown to tip-off this week, we are introducing the Trojan Family to the six new players (four freshmen and two sophomore transfers) who will make up a large chunk of Andy Enfield's rotation.

On the eve of the opener, meet athletic big man Malik Martin, who is a long freshman with a ton of upside.

SooHoo Gallery: USC vs. Cal

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Here are the Jon SooHoo photos from USC's 38-30 Thursday night victory over Cal at the Coliseum:

A Celebration of Champions

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This Saturday, No. 3 USC hosts No. 5 Cal at Uytengsu Aquatics Center at 10:30 a.m. for the men's water polo regular season finale. First, the Trojans will honor their four graduating seniors Rex Butler, Kostas Genidounias, Max Hurst-Mendoza and Marc Vonderweidt with a Senior Day ceremony fit for champions.

Unique in the world of college athletics, this senior class knows nothing but winning. The quartet has played in a combined eight NCAA Tournaments in the past three seasons and three of the four - Butler, Genidounias and Vonderweit - have experience from USC's 2012 and 2013 championship matches. As the Trojans seek out their seventh consecutive national title this season, it is the senior class that has set the tone and continued to establish the team's championship culture.

Leading the charge for USC is senior Kostas Genidounias who tops the team with 67 goals. The three-time All-American has steadily climbed the USC scoring ranks in his four-year tenure. His current mark of 246 goals puts him at second all-time and just eight goals back from Nikola Vavic's No. 1 record. Genidounias, who plays for the Greek National Team in the offseason, has been an integral part of the Trojans' last three national championships, scoring three goals in his first-ever NCAA Tournament in 2011, the game-winner in the 2012 NCAA Championship and two goals in last year's 12-11 overtime victory over Pacific.

Rex Butler packs a potent punch on the other side of the pool and is second in scoring on the team with 39 goals. He has also joined prestigious company in the USC record books this season, earning his place in the Century Club with 108 career goals and counting. As a redshirt senior, Butler owns four national championship rings and has been a key playmaker for the Trojans the past two seasons.

As USC begins yet another historic postseason pursuit, it can get a great boost in the MPSF standings and the postseason race with a win against Cal to close out the regular season. The Pac-12 Networks will be broadcasting the game live on Saturday, so tune in or come out to Uytengsu at 10:30 a.m.

Here is the dynamic senior duo on Trojans Live in September...

Ford Trojan of the Game: Nelson Agholor

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The Trojan Family voted WR Nelson Agholor the SoCal Ford Dealers Trojan of the Game for his 16-catch performance against Cal.

The junior wide receiver became the first Trojan ever to post back-to-back 200-yard receiving games. He ended up with 216 receiving yards and two touchdowns.


Meet Malik Marquetti

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USC men's basketball tips off the 2014-15 season Saturday night (7:30 p.m.) at Galen Center against Portland State.

Click here for tickets.

As we countdown to tip-off this week, we are introducing the Trojan Family to the six new players (four freshmen and two sophomore transfers) who will make up a large chunk of Andy Enfield's rotation.

On the eve of the opener, meet freshman swing man Malik Marquetti who could develop into the team's defensive stopper.