Marathon Match Ends Even For USC In Arizona
Sept. 30, 2012
TUCSON, ARIZ. - The USC women's soccer team caught fire in the second overtime period but was unable to find the winner at Arizona, where the Trojans played their third straight overtime match today. USC had taken a 1-0 lead on a goal from Whitney Pitalo in the first half, only to see the host Wildcats equalize late in regulation. The 1-1 tie would hold despite a series of attacks from the Trojans, leaving USC with the draw to move to 4-5-2 overall and 1-1-1 in Pac-12 play. Arizona goes to 5-5-2, 1-1-1.
Three games earlier, USC senior Samantha Johnson hit the overtime winner for the Trojans in a home game against Washington. Two days ago, a late red card dealt to Johnson would put USC two players down for a wild overtime game at ASU. Autumn Altamirano had received her second yellow of the day late in regulation for that one, and the Sun Devils would benefit from the edge in a 5-4 win in Tempe. Today, the temperature had cranked up even higher and the Trojans were without two veterans for the matchup at Arizona. Still, the Women of Troy dug deep and got contributions from all over the roster to make a strong stand against the Wildcats.
A freshman-fueled attack in the first half gave USC a lead when April Juarez sent the ball central for a streaking Whitney Pitalo. Pitalo got a foot on it just ahead of charging Arizona goalkeeper Gabby Kaufman. Kaufman made the initial stop, but Pitalo kept coming and swept the loose ball across the line for the 1-0 USC lead.
The Trojan defensive line stymied the Arizona attack on countless occasions from there, and the USC offense generated some serious strikes the other direction. Both Elizabeth Eddy and Katie Johnson blazed their way into one-on-one opportunities against Kaufman, but both chances were squelched by a charging Kaufman to steal away padding for the Trojans. Then, in the 88th minute, a USC foul set up a free kick for the Wildcats. Jazmin Ponce took the kick and sailed it into the box, where the ball jostled around before Jessica Culver got a foot on it to poke it through for the Arizona equalizer.
That put USC into another hot overtime session in Arizona, although this time the Trojans had a full 11 on the field. The first period passed largely without consequence, but the Trojans looked still fresh and determined for the second frame. It was all USC in the final 10 minutes as the Trojans pressed hard, pulled offsides twice and yet still attacking. Katie Johnson created a couple looks, but Kaufman was there for both. Haley Boysen had a go with a long-range missile that Kaufman made an impressive save on to push the ball over the bar with three minutes to go. In the final stretch, Eddy fed a couple deep balls in for Megan Borman, who got her dangerously strong left foot on both for shots that slipped just high. USC would run out of time on its surge, however, with the final whistle coming after 110 minutes of heated play to round out the 1-1 final in the desert.
The Trojans now return to Los Angeles for a few days of preparation before hitting the road once again. USC is bound for expectedly cooler temperatures with a trip through Oregon, where the Trojans will first play Oregon State in a 1 p.m. match on Friday (Oct. 5) in Corvallis. Then it's over to Eugene to take on Oregon at 1 p.m. on Sunday (Oct. 7). Friday's game against the Beavers will be broadcast by Pac-12 Networks - USC's fourth straight game on TV.
USC 1, Arizona 1
SAVES: Caroline Stanley (USC) 9, Gabby Kaufman (ARIZ) 10.
SHOTS: USC 15, ARIZ 24
CORNER KICKS: USC 1, ARIZ 2
FOULS: USC 17, ARIZ 10