McGillen Gallery: USC Women's Soccer vs. Stanford

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On Thursday afternoon, No. 7 USC women's soccer earned a program-record 10th straight win and its first ever over a No. 1 team. The Trojans knocked in three goals against Stanford, more than the Cardinal had allowed in a single game since 2005.

Check out USC photographer John McGillen's photos of USC's statement win:

2016 Game 6: USC vs. Colorado

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No. 21 Colorado Buffaloes (4-1, 2-0) at USC Trojans (2-3, 1-2)

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum at 1 p.m. PT on Pac-12 Network

Shay-Fields.jpgBuffalo to Watch: Junior WR Shay Fields

Like most of the Pac-12, Colorado recruits Southern California heavily. The Buffaloes have 43 players from the state of California, while USC has zero from Colorado. Shay Fields is a local product who once was linked with the Trojans, but ultimately, he found a bigger opportunity in Boulder, and he seized it. The third-year wideout is second in the Pac-12 in receiving yards per game and tops in yards per catch. He is an explosive weapon in the pass game who would love nothing more than to come back to Los Angeles and show off in front of family and friends.

Click here for more on the Buffaloes.

3 Keys

Like ASU, But Opposite

Arizona State was one of the best fourth quarter teams in college football, but the Trojans put the game out of reach before the final 15 minutes. Conversely, Colorado is one of the best first half teams in the nation. The Buffaloes have scored 164 points before halftime and only 52 after the break. USC must burst out of the gate like Ralphie, so the Trojans can gallop home like Traveler. 

Baxter Ball

Colorado appears to be a team without many weaknesses. The Buffaloes have the top ranked defense in the Pac-12, and they are exceptionally balanced offensively, ranking third in the conference in rushing and passing. So, how do you beat them? Michigan is the only team that can claim a victory over Colorado in 2016, and even the Wolverines found themselves trailing, 21-7. However, Michigan won quite comfortably in the end, 45-28, thanks to two special teams touchdowns. USC has been expert in the third phase of the game this season after welcoming back special teams guru John Baxter. In an otherwise evenly matched affair, big plays on special teams could tilt the balance.

Turning Point

The Trojans rebounded nicely from a trying September by blasting previously undefeated ASU last week. The season's momentum can really turn if USC can pick up a galvanizing win over a veteran, ranked Colorado team, which is playing with much more belief than recent versions. The Trojans did not leave much room for error after an 0-2 start in league play, but if they can beat the Buffs than every Pac-12 South team will have at least one loss and another wide open division race will commence.

Toppling the Top-Ranked

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USC women's soccer earned a program-record 10th straight win and its first-ever win over a No. 1 team with its 3-0 victory over top-ranked Stanford today.

Thanks to Morgan Andrews' goal in the 28th minute, USC entered halftime with a 1-0 lead over the Cardinal. It was the first time all season that Stanford trailed at the half. After a goal from Alex Anthony and another from Andrews, the Trojans prevailed, 3-0. Those three goals were the most Stanford had surrendered since 2005. Andrews leads the team with seven goals this season, while Anthony is tied with Katie Johnson for second, at six goals apiece.

No. 7 USC has now won 10 straight games --- the longest streak in program history. The Trojans enjoyed an 11-game unbeaten streak in 2008, but that comprised nine straight wins, a tie and another win.

Should USC win on Sunday against Cal, the Trojans are sure to jump into the Top 5 in the national rankings. That game kicks off at 11 a.m. at USC's McAlister Field. Click here for tickets to watch the Trojans host the Bears!

Colorado Thursday - Clay Helton Presser

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Written by Grace DeWitt, USC blog contributor 

Clay Helton met with the media one last time today ahead of Saturday's matchup against Colorado. It's the first time this season the Trojans will enjoy back-to-back games at home. According to Coach Helton, OT Zach Banner is doubtful to play and TE Taylor McNamara will likely be limited to emergency situations. Helton also discussed redshirt possibilities, the team's brotherly relationships, and the offense's progress.

Here is his post-practice presser:

Leventhal Stat of the Week - Colorado

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This Saturday against Colorado, USC football has a chance to win its sixth consecutive game at the Coliseum. The Trojans' last home loss came a year ago to the date of this weekend's tilt with Colorado (USC fell, 17-12, to Washington on Oct. 8, 2015). Since then, USC has beaten Utah, Arizona, UCLA, Utah State and Arizona State at home.

The current five-game win streak is USC's longest since the Trojans won 12 consecutive games at home from 2007-2009.

Click here to purchase tickets to USC vs. Colorado this Saturday at 1 p.m.


Volleyball Nets 1,000

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Last night, USC women's volleyball won its 1000th match as a program in a 3-1 victory over ASU at the Galen Center.

Click here for the full recap!

The Women of Troy improved to 11-5 on the season, with a 3-2 mark in conference play, and became the 17th women's volleyball program in NCAA Division I history to earn 1,000 wins.

Freshman outside hitter Khalia Lanier led the way with her eighth double-double of the season (career-high 22 kills, 11 digs). Opposite hitters Niki Withers and Alyse Ford also racked up double-digit kills.

The Women of Troy won the first two sets easily (25-15 and 25-18), but dropped a close third set (25-27). They roared back in the fourth, jumping out to an early 7-2 lead, and Ford put up the final kill to seal USC's 1000th victory.

The win was just another milestone for head coach Mick Haley, who has led the program to their 600th, 700th, 800th, 900th and now 1000th win.

Click here to watch highlights of the match!

USC photographer John McGillen captured all the best moments from USC's historic win:

Colorado Wednesday - Notes

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The Trojans hit the practice field on Wednesday preparing to play their fourth ranked opponent this season: No. 21 Colorado.
  • USC_Football_2016_ASU_McGillen_d500_2518.jpgFull injury report, per USC head coach Clay Helton: RT Zach Banner (ankle, doubtful for Saturday), S Ykili Ross (shoulder, doubtful), LB Jabari Ruffin (concussion, 50/50), TE Taylor McNamara (back, will assess tomorrow).
  • Helton said the team's main point of emphasis today was third down defense. Colorado is second in the Pac-12 in third down efficiency, moving the chains on half their attempts this season.
  • The team also focused on defending the deep ball today, specifically shutting down Colorado wideout Shay Fields. Helton called his deep-threat ability "as good as we've seen to date." Indeed, Fields leads the Pac-12 in yards per catch (21.9).
  • The Trojans have caught some heat for not signing Fields, who initially committed to USC out of St. John Bosco HS, but Helton explained, "You can only take so many, but there's also so many in Southern California." "Credit to Shay," he added. "He's doing a tremendous job."
  • USC CB Jonathan Lockett (pictured) played against Fields in high school, and said he's excited to face his former foe. "Going against him in high school, it should be a fun one," Lockett said. "My freshman year [at SC] I lined up against him. It's always fun going against him."
  • Colorado still hasn't announced whether Sefo Liufau or Steven Montez will start at QB on Saturday (Liufau missed the last two games with an ankle injury), but Lockett doesn't seem daunted by the uncertainty. He said both QBs "play the same way --- same body type and same style of running."
  • Lockett and the Trojans will be hosting a Colorado team that's nationally ranked for the first time since 2005, and DT Stevie Tu'ikolovatu marveled at how far the Buffs have come. "I went back and watched film and figured out how they put this much points on Michigan, how they put this much points on Oregon, on Oregon State, and they're really improved from the past two years," he said. "I'm impressed, man."
  • Here is Helton's full press conference:

#USCHero: Jose Cevallos

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At every home game, USC and Sport Clips partner to celebrate a veteran of the armed forces. This weekend, it was Jose Cevallos, an 11-year Army veteran and Purple Heart recipient.

Cevallos joined the Army in 2004, and was deployed to Iraq twice and Afghanistan once. While in Afghanistan for his final mission, his vehicle was struck by a rocket propelled grenade, resulting in a traumatic brain injury, along with other severe injuries. He was awarded a Purple Heart for his courage and heroism.

Now, Cevallos is working toward a Bachelor's degree in Human Services, and plans to apply to USC's Master's in Social Work program upon graduating in 2017. AD Lynn Swann presented Cevallos with a USC Medal of Courage on Saturday.

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State of Troy: October 2016

Each month, we interview USC Athletic Director Lynn Swann to get his take on the hot topics around Heritage Hall.

USC_Football_2016_ASU_McGillen_d500_1552.jpgSwann on the football season through five games...

The team has improved week over week. The players are executing better and making fewer mistakes, which were our biggest issues earlier in the year. They played strong, fast and confident against Arizona State, so Coach Helton has done a great job making sure the players are focused on the game ahead instead of worrying about the game behind. That is how you get better and have a winning season.

Click here for football ticket information.

Swann on the university being ranked in the nation's Top 15 academically...

The No. 15 ranking in the Wall Street Journal study is a testament to the long term growth of the university. You do not improve in those rankings overnight. It's not about doing something well for one year. You have to do it consistently. Under the leadership of Max Nikias as our president, USC has been able to do that, not just in terms of the new buildings that you see on campus, but the professors and academic teams inside these buildings, and the kind of students that are applying to USC from all over the country and around the world.

Click here for the full story.

Swann on women's soccer's nine-match winning streak being tested by No. 1 Stanford on Thursday...

USC_Soccer_LMU_Mcgillen_D500_card2_DSC_2333_1.JPGYou always want to beat Stanford. You always want to beat Cal. And of course, you always want to beat UCLA. All the California teams, so you establish your dominance within the state. The women's soccer team has been phenomenal. They are good, confident and deep. You can see their determination every time you walk out to the field and watch them play. They go after it. They are relentless in their pursuit of this streak and winning championships. Their shutout streak was broken, but that's okay because they are still winning.

Click here for the women's soccer schedule.

Swann on expectations for men's and women's basketball season...

I am looking forward to watching both teams as practice begins this month. I have sat with Andy Enfield and tried to help him recruit some of the top athletes in the country, and he feels very confident about the future classes that he is going to bring into the school. He has the program on the upswing. They were in the NCAA Tournament last year, and he feels really good about the talent that he has on this year's team and their chances to get back to the postseason.

On the women's side, I see them more than just about any group down at the McKay Center, working out and getting stronger. They are so confident that a number of the players on the team have challenged me personally in terms of a workout, so we might have a little competition somewhere along the way. They are eager and ready to show that they are improving also.

Click here for basketball ticket information.

Swann on the safety and security improvements at the Coliseum...

Security is a big issue around the country. With the Rams being here, we are following some of the same procedures that the NFL does, and many other colleges are following suit. For example, the clear bag policy and the metal detectors help our security staff provide a safe environment, but it takes a little extra time. We need to educate all our fans not to rush the gates right before kickoff. We encourage them to enter the stadium earlier to make sure that they make it to their seats in a timely manner. It's a process. People have to get used to the new way of doing things. Everybody at the stadium is working diligently to make sure that the process is as smooth and efficient as possible.  

Click here to watch a video on the new security procedures.

Transfer of Energy

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Tomorrow, USC women's soccer will go for its 10th consecutive win, a school-record-setting feat. At 9-2, the program is off to its best start in nearly a decade, thanks in part to third-year head coach Keidane McAlpine.

When McAlpine arrived at USC after two years at the helm of Washington State, he made clear his goal of bringing a national championship back to Troy. But in soccer, student-athletes typically commit to colleges around their sophomore year of high school, so McAlpine inherited a few years' worth of players that he didn't recruit. If McAlpine wanted to implement his strategy and make an immediate positive impact, he would have to think outside the box.

USC_soccer_air_force_mcgillen_3466.jpg"In those gap years, to be able to fill the void quicker, if you have an opportunity to go get the one piece who has some experience, it'll allow your team to continue to grow," said McAlpine.

So, the coaching staff scoured the country to find recently freed talent who could transfer to USC and contribute as soon as they arrived. Standout goalkeeper Caroline Stanley was on her way out, and McAlpine knew just the replacement.

"I had the fortune of playing against Sammy Jo [Prudhomme] when she was at Oregon State, so I knew her talent," the head coach said. "I knew that as Caroline was going out, we were going to need an experienced goalkeeper to do what we wanted to do in terms of changing the program."

Now in her second year as USC's starting keeper, Prudhomme helped the team set the school record in shutout games and shutout minutes. She's No. 1 in the Pac-12 in saves per game (4.18) and second in save percentage (.885).

Prudhomme is one of many transfers on USC's roster that have led the team to its highest ranking (No. 7) since 2008. Alex Anthony (pictured) and Morgan Andrews, who are tied for the second-most goals on the team this year, are both imports, from Maryland and Notre Dame, respectively.

USC_Womens_soccer_pepperdine_mcgillen_082816_DSC_4523.JPGAnthony graduated from Maryland in three years, and chose to transfer to USC over Florida, Stanford and Cal due in part to USC's Master's of Public Policy program, in which she's specializing in homeland security. She believes her prior experience has helped her, but acknowledged that transitioning to a new coaching staff was difficult at first.

"I've had certain styles ingrained in my head, like, 'This is what you do in this situation, this is what you don't do.' It's not necessarily bad, it's just re-learning a different way," she said. "And I wouldn't say that either way is right or wrong, it just depends on what system you're playing and the players around you."

Though Anthony is one of the new kids on the block, having arrived on campus on July 1, she had help learning the ropes. She moved in with Amanda Rooney, who transferred to USC from North Carolina last year, and started against them in USC's upset win last month (an experience she called "sweet"). Rooney joked that she took Anthony under her wing, and both of them laughed when they realized they couldn't remember which members of the team were transfers --- a testament to how well the squad has integrated them.

"All this new stuff is being sent down from the coaches, so everyone's kind of new and on the same page, which allows everybody to gel together," Rooney said. "Everyone's just learning new stuff at the same time."

Indeed, when USC's previous head coach, Ali Khosroshahin, was let go, every woman on the team was forced to adapt to McAlpine's style, so the whole team understands what it's like for a transfer to come in and learn a new system. McAlpine seconded Rooney's assessment of the team's relationship.

"Joining a new team is difficult, but I'll give the team here credit. They've opened the door and allowed those players some space to have some success," he said.

USC_Womens_soccer_UNC_mcgillen_2016_LR_USC_Womens_soccer_UNC_mcgillen_2016_DSC_6605.JPGMcAlpine expedited that process by forming committees within the team to encourage his players to take ownership of the team's direction. Each committee has a different focus, from academics, to personal branding, social media, health and wellness, and more. Anthony, for example, is on the academic committee, while Rooney (pictured) is on the social media committee. McAlpine asserted that these committees force his players reach out to the USC community, including academic advisors, sports psychologists and nutritionists.

McAlpine sees this community as crucial to helping the team achieve its lofty goals.

His first goal upon taking the job was to get the team to the NCAA Tournament, which they did in his first season, losing a penalty kick shootout to Pepperdine in the first round. Next, it was about making a run in the tournament, which they did the following year, advancing to the third round. Now, with the transfers McAlpine "hand-picked with a purpose" and with his first class of freshman recruits, McAlpine is focused on the next step forward: a national championship.

"We're going to have our peaks and valleys," he said. "Right now, we're on the upswing, but we know that there's probably something coming down the road that we're going to half to deal with. Whether it equates to a loss or not, we're trying to make sure that we keep walking on this journey."

The journey continues tomorrow at 4 p.m. against No. 1 Stanford on McAlister Field.