Sept. 8, 1997
USC Women's Soccer Visits Fresno State, San Diego State
THIS WEEK: The USC women's soccer team (3-1), led by 1996 Pacific-10 Conference Coach of the Year Jim Millinder, wraps up a portion of the schedule that sees the Women of Troy play five of their first six games on the road. USC travels to Fresno State (2-1) on Thursday (Sept. 11) for a 7 p.m. match, then goes south to San Diego State (3-1) on Sunday (Sept. 14) for a 1 p.m. match. 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: USC will be looking to avenge its two non-conference losses from a year ago. The Women of Troy lost to Fresno State, 2-1, and to San Diego State, 3-1, both at Howard Jones Field in 1996 ... The Bulldogs are 2-1 (will play Cal State Bakersfield on Tuesday, Sept. 9) and are coming off a 4-3 overtime win against Northern Arizona. The loss was to Pacific, 3-2 in overtime. Last year was the first meeting between FSU and USC ... The Aztecs are 3-1 and have won their last three since opening the season with a 2-0 loss to UCLA. USC has won only one of its four meetings with San Diego State, with the win coming in 1994.
LAST WEEK: USC posted wins at Pepperdine and in its home opener at the Coliseum against UC Santa Barbara. Junior midfielder Courtney Barham scored a goal and had an assist as the Women of Troy shut out Pepperdine, 2-0, on the road on Friday (Sept. 5). She assisted on sophomore forward Kaylee Whitfield's goal in the 55th minute and scored her own in the 76th minute. Junior goalkeeper Karin Puccinelli earned the shutout and made three saves. Barham then scored two first-half goals in a 3-1 win over UC Santa Barbara on Sunday (Sept. 7) at the Coliseum. Whitfield scored the third goal.
KIM CLARK: Sophomore midfielder Kim Clark, expected to be one of USC's stars this season, is off to a great start with eight points (three goals, two assists), which ties her for the team lead (tied for second in the Pac-10). She was named Pac-10 Player of the Week on Sept. 2 after scoring three goals and getting one assist for a total of seven points against Iowa State and Nebraska. She then had an assist against UC Santa Barbara. She leads USC with 17 shots, and if near-misses were an official statistic, she would lead the team in that as well. After four games, Clark is more than halfway to her 1996 season total of 15 points. Clark had an impressive summer and played for the West Region team at the U.S. Sports Festival.
COURTNEY BARHAM: After a terrific weekend, junior midfielder Courtney Barham is tied for the team lead (tied for second in the Pac-10) with eight points (three goals, two assists). She had a goal and an assist against Pepperdine and two goals against UC Santa Barbara. She previously had an assist against Iowa State. One of USC's top offensive threats, the speedy Barham scored 17 points as a 1996 sophomore and 19 points as a 1995 freshman.
KARIN PUCCINELLI: Troy's starting goalkeeper, junior Karin Puccinelli was solid in goal the first three games (senior Laura Badagliacco played in the win against UC Santa Barbara). She has made 13 saves (fourth in the Pac-10). Seven of her saves came against Nebraska, including a block of a penalty shot in the 88th minute. She earned the second solo shutout of her career (and eighth overall) at Pepperdine, making three saves.
FRESHMEN: Four true freshmen have been making an impact. Forward Megan Orach (Huntington Beach, Marina HS) scored the game-winning goal against Iowa State and had an assist against UC Santa Barbara. 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 have started all four games.
NOTES: USC has never lost a season opener, winning all five. The Women of Troy have won four of their five home openers ... The Women of Troy lead the Pac-10 in scoring with 32 points ... Junior midfielder Carol Hatcher is tied for first in the Pac-10 with three assists ... USC was been without one of its stars due to injury. Sophomore forward Isabelle Harvey, the Pac-10's top scorer in 1996, is recovering from ligament surgery to her left knee but should return for the Pac-10 season.
COACH MILLINDER SAYS: "I don't have to remind the players that these two teams upended us last year and we got off to a slow start. We're going to be fired up to play Fresno State and San Diego State, because we know we'll be in good shape playing our next five games at home. These two are very critical to our success."
THEY SAID IT: Nebraska Coach John Walker: "USC is a team that will be in the tournament at the end of the year. They just missed it last year, and certainly are quite a bit better than they were last year. They are well-organized, well-coached and they fought hard."