Sept. 3, 1997
USC Women's Soccer Heads to Pepperdine, Then Opens Home Schedule With UC Santa Barbara
THIS WEEK: The USC women's soccer team (1-1), led by 1996 Pacific-10 Conference Coach of the Year Jim Millinder, meets local rivals Pepperdine (1-0) and UC Santa Barbara (0-2) this weekend. The Women of Troy head to Pepperdine on Friday (Sept. 5) for a 4 p.m. match, then have their first home game on Sunday (Sept. 7) against UC Santa Barbara at 1 p.m. at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The Women of Troy, now in their fifth year of existence, are coming off their best-ever season with a 15-5 record in 1996, and went 4-3 in the Pac-10 for a tie for fourth place.
OPPONENTS: Pepperdine is 1-0 after defeating Cal State Northridge, 4-1, earlier this week. The Women of Troy lead the all-time series, 4-2, against the Waves and have a four-game winning streak. Last season USC won at the Coliseum, 2-0 ... UC Santa Barbara is 0-2 in 1997, with a 2-1 loss to Loyola Marymount and a 1-0 loss to San Diego State. USC is 3-1 all-time against the Gauchos, and has won the last three. In 1996, USC won a 3-2 overtime game in Santa Barbara.
LAST WEEK: The Women of Troy began 1997 with a split of their first two matches. At Iowa State last Friday (Aug. 29), USC got off to a shaky start before rallying for a 5-1 win. Sophomore midfielder Kim Clark scored two goals and added an assist, and freshman forward Megan Orach, sophomore forward Kaylee Whitfield and junior midfielder Erica De Vitis scored the other goals. Then, the Women of Troy headed to No. 6 Nebraska, where they battled the talented Cornhuskers to a near-standstill before falling, 2-1. The Women of Troy fell behind, 2-0, in the second half before Clark's goal off a free kick cut the lead in half. Junior goalkeeper Karin Puccinelli was impressive with seven saves.
KIM CLARK: Sophomore midfielder Kim Clark, expected to be one of USC's stars this season, is off to a great start. She was named Pac-10 Player of the Week on Tuesday (Sept. 2) after scoring three goals and getting one assist for a total of seven points against Iowa State and Nebraska. After one week, she leads the Pac-10 in scoring. Clark is almost halfway to her 1996 season total of 15 points.
KARIN PUCCINELLI: Troy's starting goalkeeper, junior Karin Puccinelli was solid in goal the first two games. After one week, she leads the Pac-10 with 10 saves. Seven of them came against Nebraska, including the block of a penalty shot in the 88th minute, and two consecutive saves on short blasts in the 75th minute.
FRESHMEN: Four true freshmen made an impact in the first two games of the season. Forward Megan Orach (Huntington Beach, Marina HS) scored the game-winning goal against Iowa State. At one point against the Cyclones, Katie Ticehurst (Los Alamitos, Mater Dei HS), Andrea Warner (Dana Point, Dana Hills HS) and Susie Mora (Mission Viejo, Santa Margarita HS) made up an all-true freshman line of defenders. Orach, Ticehurst and Warner started both games.
NOTES: USC has never lost a season opener, winning all five. The Women of Troy have won three of their four home openers ... USC was without two of last year's starters against Iowa State and Nebraska because of injury: sophomore forward Isabelle Harvey (knee) and sophomore defender Christina Kushnir (quadricep). Harvey, the Pac-10's top scorer in 1996 and an honorable mention All-American, is recovering from surgery to her left ACL but should return for the Pac-10 season. Kushnir is expected to play this week.
COACH MILLINDER SAYS: "These are two games against local rivals so we need to come to play. Pepperdine has two very good scorers and is very, very tough up front. If we can stop them and put pressure on the ball, we'll be in good shape. Santa Barbara has a new coach so we'll have to see how they do things now. The key in both of these games is to play hard. We have to jump on these teams early and play up to our potential."