Nov. 12, 1997
No. 23 USC Women's Soccer Season Ends
Even with 16 wins the Women of Troy don't get in the NCAA's
THIS SEASON: The No. 23 USC women's soccer team (16-3-1 overall, 7-2 in the Pacific-10 Conference, for second place) saw its season end on Tuesday (Nov. 11) when it was not invited to the 32-team NCAA Tournament. Led by 1996 Pac-10 Coach of the Year Jim Millinder, the Women of Troy set a new school record for wins and maintained their first-ever national ranking for seven straight weeks.
NCAA TOURNAMENT: Perhaps USC has the most compelling case in the country to be in the tournament ... USC had a better winning percentage (.825) in 1997 than 19 of the 32 tournament teams ... USC was No. 15 in the latest Sagarin computer ratings (Nov. 2) ... Six teams that received at-large bids were unranked or ranked lower than No. 23 USC in the final regular-season Soccer News poll ...
It's the first time since 1992 that at least two Pac-10 teams didn,t make the tournament (it was a 12-team tournament then) ... As for strength of schedule, the Sagarin ratings had USC's schedule as more difficult than 21 of the 32 tournament teams, and nine of the 16 teams that received at-large berths ... A Soccer Buzz analysis showed that USC had a 12-3-1 record against Top 100 teams and only four non-Top 100 victories, numbers much better than other bubble teams that received at-large bids ...
USC has the second-best winning percentage in the nation over the last two years (.788, 31-8-1) for a team that did not appear in an NCAA Tournament (Centenary is first at .810, 30-7).
HIGHLIGHTS: The Women of Troy ended the regular season at No. 23 in both the Soccer Buzz and Soccer News polls. In the West Region rankings, USC was No. 5 in the Soccer Buzz and NSCAA polls ... Sophomore midfielder Kim Clark set or tied five school records this year, including assists in a career, with 21 ... Junior midfielder/forward Courtney Barham set the school career record for goals (30) and points (69) ... USC had four Pac-10 Players of the Week in 1997, while no other school had more than two.
OFFENSIVE STANDOUTS: USC set new school records for goals (61), assists (56) and points (178), and ranked first in the Pac-10 in points and tied for second in the West Region in goals per game (3.05). The main catalyst was sophomore midfielder Kim Clark, who had 13 goals and 17 assists (first in the Pac-10, first in the West Region and tied for eighth in the country) for a total of 43 points. The All-American candidate had a hand in 49 percent of USC,s goals (30 of 61).
She set a school single-season record for assists, while also breaking the career record (21) as well as records for consecutive games with a point (12) and an assist (six). Junior forward/midfielder Courtney Barham led Troy with 14 goals, while other top scorers included freshman forward Megan Orach (eight goals), sophomore forward Kaylee Whitfield (eight goals) and junior midfielders Erica De Vitis (seven goals) and Carol Hatcher (six goals).
USC's success came without the scoring prowess of Isabelle Harvey, the 1996 Pac-10 scoring champ as a freshman, who is recovering from knee surgery. USC was 15-1 in 1997 when scoring two or more goals.
DEFENSIVE STANDOUTS: The Women of Troy tied a school record for shutouts with six and ranked third in the Pac-10 in team goalkeeping with a 1.20 goals-against average thanks to veteran Meghan Reppe, a junior who has never missed a start, and an infusion of young talent. Freshmen Katie Ticehurst, Andrea Warner and Susie Mora all played important roles and will shore up Troy's defense for years to come.
Though USC struggled a bit during one stretch of Pac-10 play (allowing 13 goals over a five-game span), the defense righted itself in the final weekend and shut out Washington State and held Washington to one goal. The goalkeepers were also solid, as senior Laura Badagliacco (10-1-1 as a starter) and Karin Puccinelli (6-2) shared time once again.
RANDOM NOTES: USC's win over Arizona was the 50th victory in the program's history ... The Women of Troy set school records this year with a seven-match winning streak and 13-match unbeaten streak ... USC was 12-0 when leading at the half, 3-1-1 when tied at the half and 1-2 when trailing at the half ... USC is 12-1-1 all-time at the Coliseum ...
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 ... Head coach Jim Millinder became USC,s all-time winningest head coach with his 22nd victory, which came against Loyola Marymount (his previous team) on Sept. 26. He is now 31-8-1 in two years at USC.