Sept. 16, 1997
Trojans Open Six-Game Homestand with Cal State Fullerton, San Jose StateTHIS WEEK - The USC women's soccer team (5-1), led by 1996 Pacific-10 Conference Coach of the Year Jim Millinder, is off to the best start in the program's five-year history. After playing five of the first six on the road, the Women of Troy begin a six-game homestand this week. They host Cal State Fullerton on Friday (Sept. 19) at 3 p.m. and San Jose State on Sunday (Sept. 21) at 1 p.m. Both matches are at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The Women of Troy are ranked No. 7 in the West Region. USC is coming off its 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 - The first three meetings between Cal State Fullerton (2-4 - plays Hawai'i on Sept. 17) and USC ended in ties, but the Women of Troy won two of the next three, including a 4-2 overtime win last season in Fullerton. Junior forward Dolores Browning leads the Titans with 10 points ... San Jose State (2-3 - plays Pacific on Sept. 16 and Pepperdine on Sept. 19) lost to USC, 3-1, in 1996 at Howard Jones Field in the first meeting between the two schools. Senior forward Stacie Savage leads the Spartans with nine points.
LAST WEEK - The Women of Troy avenged their two non-conference losses of a year ago with a 2-1 win at Fresno State on Thursday (Sept. 11) and a 4-1 win at San Diego State on Sunday (Sept. 14). Junior midfielder Carol Hatcher was the hero against the Bulldogs, scoring both goals in the game's final nine minutes to rally USC to victory. Against the Aztecs, sophomore forward Kaylee Whitfield and sophomore midfielder Kim Clark scored two goals each and Hatcher added an assist. Senior goalkeeper Laura Badagliacco got both wins and made five saves against FSU and eight against SDSU.
KIM CLARK - Sophomore midfielder Kim Clark, expected to be one of USC's stars this season, is off to a great start with five goals (tied for first on USC, tied for second in the Pac-10 and tied for third in the West Region) and three assists (tied for third in the Pac-10) for a total of 13 points (first on USC, second in the Pac-10 and tied for fifth in the West Region). She was named Pac-10 Player of the Week on Sept. 2 after getting a total of seven points at Iowa State and Nebraska. She leads USC with 30 shots, and if near-misses were an official statistic, she would lead the team in that as well. After six games, Clark is about to surpass 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.
CAROL HATCHER - After rallying USC to a victory over Fresno State with two goals in the final nine minutes and getting an assist at San Diego State, junior midfielder Carol Hatcher was named Pac-10 Player of the Week on Monday (Sept. 15). Hatcher leads USC with four assists (second in the Pac-10 and tied for third in the West Region) and has eight points (tied for eighth in the Pac-10). Hatcher was named to the All-Pac-10 second team in 1996 after scoring 19 points.
COURTNEY BARHAM - Junior midfielder Courtney Barham has been a strong contributor thus far, with three goals (tied for sixth in the Pac-10) and three assists (tied for third in the Pac-10) for a total of nine points (tied for fifth in the Pac-10). She had two goals against UC Santa Barbara. One of USC's top offensive threats, the speedy Barham scored 17 points as a 1996 sophomore (earning All-Pac-10 second team honors) and 19 points as a 1995 freshman.
KAYLEE WHITFIELD - A sophomore forward with a nose for the goal, Kaylee Whitfield (Santa Ana, El Modena HS) has found the back of the net five times this season (tied for first on USC, tied for second in the Pac-10 and tied for third in the West Region) on just 13 shots. Her total of 10 points is second on USC and tied for third in the Pac-10. She came off the bench to score two goals at San Diego State. A year ago, she was a sparkplug as a reserve, totalling three goals and four assists.
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 six games.
GOALKEEPERS - Senior Laura Badagliacco and junior Karin Puccinelli were co-starters at goalkeeper a year ago and have been sharing the job once again. Badagliacco has started the last three games, playing in four overall, and has a goals-against average of 0.95 (third in the Pac-10 and eighth in the West Region) and 18 saves (sixth in the Pac-10). Puccinelli started the first three games and made 13 saves (ninth in the Pac-10).
NOTES - USC has never lost a season opener, winning all five ... USC's season-opening trip to Iowa State and then-No. 6 Nebraska was the program's first east of the Rockies ... The Women of Troy are first in the Pac-10 in points with 48, and are tied for sixth in the West Region in goals with 17 ... USC was been without one of its stars due to injury. Sophomore forward Isabelle Harvey, the Pac-10,s top scorer in 1996 and an All-America honorable mention pick, is recovering from ligament surgery to her left knee but should return for the Pac-10 season.
COACH MILLINDER SAYS - "We have two tough matches this week. Our win against San Diego State was impressive, but we have to stay focused on what's coming up. We can't look past anyone. Cal State Fullerton and San Jose State have been up and down this season, but both of them can come up with a big game. If we overlook anyone, we could get beat, and we can't let that happen."
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."