Sept. 30, 1997
No. 25 USC Women's Soccer, With First-Ever National Ranking, Hosts CS Northridge, UC Irvine
THIS WEEK - The No. 25 USC women's soccer team (7-1-1), 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 and has attained its first-ever national ranking. After playing five of the first six on the road, the Women of Troy are about to complete a five-game homestand. They host Cal State Northridge on Wednesday (Oct. 1) at 4 p.m. and UC Irvine on Sunday (Oct. 5) at 1 p.m. Both games are at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
NEWS & NOTES - Sophomore forward Isabelle Harvey, the Pac-10's top scorer and an All-American honorable mention a year ago, made her return last week from knee surgery ... The Women of Troy are in a national Top 25 for the first time, coming in at No. 25 in the Soccer Buzz poll. They're also in the "Others Receiving Votes" section of the NSCAA poll. In the West Region rankings, USC is No. 5 in both the NSCAA and Soccer Buzz polls (USC's highest regional ranking ever) ... Women of Troy players have won three of the five Pac-10 Player of the Week honors thus far ... 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 - Cal State Northridge (1-8) is led by freshman defender Elizabeth Hoiby (four points) and sophomore goalkeeper Tawni Takagi (2.13 goals-against average). The Women of Troy and the Matadors met for the first time in 1996, with USC winning, 3-0, in Northridge ... UC Irvine (8-3 - plays Pacific on Friday, Oct. 3) is led by junior forward Nicole Bucciarelli, who is tied for the West Region lead with 23 points (nine goals, five assists). The Anteaters are ranked No. 6 in the West Region by the NSCAA and Soccer Buzz. The all-time series is locked at 1-1-1. Last year, USC earned a 2-1 win in Irvine.
LAST WEEK - Junior midfielder Erica De Vitis scored two goals to lead USC to a 4-1 victory over Loyola Marymount on Friday (Sept. 26) at the Coliseum. Freshman forward Megan Orach and junior forward Courtney Barham also scored for the Women of Troy. Sophomore midfielder Kim Clark had two assists, while Orach and freshman defender Andrea Warner each had one.
ISABELLE HARVEY - The 1996 Pac-10 scoring champ and an honorable mention All-American, sophomore forward Isabelle Harvey made her return last week after being sidelined by knee surgery. Amazingly, the Quebec, Canada, native set school single-season records with goals (20), assists (11), points (51), game-winning goals (nine) and multiple-goal games (six) last year while playing on a torn left knee ligament. She aggravated the injury this spring, had surgery in mid-April and is now back playing after a little more than five months. In her first game against Loyola Marymount, she came off the bench and played about 30 minutes without attempting a shot.
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 second on USC and tied for sixth in the Pac-10) and eight assists (first on USC, first in the Pac-10, third in the West Region and tied for 13th nationally) for a total of 18 points (first on USC, second in the Pac-10 and fourth 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 tied the school single-game record with three assists against Cal State Fullerton and had two against Loyola Marymount. Clark leads USC with 41 shots, and if near-misses were an official statistic, she would lead the team in that as well. Clark surpassed her 1996 season total of 15 points after just seven games. Clark had an impressive summer and played for the West Region team at the U.S. Sports Festival. A two-sport athlete, she also plays for the USC women's basketball team (along with twin sister Kristin).
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 seven times this season (first on USC, tied for second in the Pac-10 and tied for fourth in the West Region) on just 20 shots. She has a total of 14 points (tied for second on USC and tied for fifth in the Pac-10). She tied a school record with consecutive multiple-goal games, getting two each against San Diego State and Cal State Fullerton. A year ago, she was a sparkplug as a reserve, totalling three goals and four assists. When Kaylee was 9 years old, she was hit by lightning and her heart stopped for about a minute.
CAROL HATCHER - The hero at Fresno State, junior midfielder Carol Hatcher earned Pac-10 Player of the Week honors on Sept. 15 after scoring two goals in the final nine minutes to lift USC from what looked to be a 1-0 loss to a stunning 2-1 victory. Hatcher has three goals and four assists (tied for fourth in the Pac-10) for a total of 10 points (tied for 10th in the Pac-10). She recently tied a school record by scoring points in five straight games. Hatcher was named to the All-Pac-10 second team in 1996 after scoring 19 points. She will be honored during the UNLV football game (Oct. 4) in the Academic Salute.
COURTNEY BARHAM - Junior midfielder/forward Courtney Barham has been a strong contributor thus far, with four goals (tied for eighth in the Pac-10) and three assists for a total of 11 points (tied for eighth 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.
MEGHAN REPPE - Her contribution doesn't usually show up in the stats, but junior Meghan Reppe (Orange, Villa Park HS) has earned a reputation as a top-caliber defender. She is regularly asked to guard the opponent's top attacker and, more often than not, shuts its scorer down. This is her third year as a starter and she has a career total of one goal and three assists.
FRESHMEN - Four true freshmen have been making an impact. Forward Megan Orach (Huntington Beach, Marina HS) scored the game-winning goal in her first game against Iowa State, then tied the school single-game record with eight points (three goals and two assists) against Cal State Fullerton - all in the first half. She had a goal and an assist against Loyola Marymount. Her performance against Cal State Fullerton earned her Pac-10 Player of the Week honors on Sept. 22. Her totals are five goals (tied for sixth in the Pac-10) and four assists (tied for eighth in the Pac-10) for a total of 14 points (tied for fifth in the Pac-10). 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. Warner has four assists this season (tied for eighth in the Pac-10). Orach, Ticehurst and Warner have started all nine games. Mora made her first start against Loyola Marymount.
GOALKEEPERS - Senior Laura Badagliacco and junior Karin Puccinelli were co-starters at goalkeeper a year ago and each has been impressive once again. Badagliacco has started the last six games, playing in seven overall, and has a goals-against average of 0.65 (first in the Pac-10 and second in the West Region) and 32 saves (tied for sixth in the Pac-10). Puccinelli started the first three games and made 13 saves. Senior Sheri Simala (Fountain Valley, Fountain Valley HS) saw her first action since 1994 against Cal State Fullerton and made two saves.
MORE NOTES - When Megan Orach tied USC's single-game record of eight points, she tied the mark set by current undergraduate assistant coach Amy Peterson in 1993. Interestingly, both were freshmen when they set the record, both are from Huntington Beach and both attended Marina High School ... USC has never lost a season opener, winning all five ... USC has never lost at the Coliseum, going 8-0-1 ... The Women of Troy are first in the Pac-10 in points with 78, and are fifth in the West Region in goals per game at 3.00 ... Freshman midfielder Ami Aylor (Lake Forest, Santa Margarita HS) has a flip throw-in which is as dangerous as a corner kick in the final third of the field. To the delight of the crowd, she's done it in two of the three home games in which she's appeared ... USC's season-opening trip to Iowa State and then-No. 6 Nebraska was the program's first east of the Rockies.
COACH MILLINDER SAYS - "The Northridge match will be one where we will really have to focus. They haven't had much success this season, but I'll always remember them beating UCLA last year. They could duplicate that, so we have to do the things that make us a good team. The match against Irvine will be a war. The key to the game is controlling Nicole Bucciarelli. We need to play well defensively and finish what we create. When we have a chance to put away a team, we have to do it. When Irvine hangs around and keeps it close, they get tougher and tougher."
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 fight hard."