No. 5 USC Fights Back For 3-2 OT Win Vs. No. 16 Washington|
Oct. 10, 2008
WATCH FULL GAME USC vs UW (95:00)
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. - The No. 5 USC women's soccer team found itself in an unfamiliar position for its Pac-10 opener, falling behind twice to No. 16 Washington at McAlister Field on Friday afternoon. After the Huskies were 2-for-2 on shots, the Women of Troy stayed composed and answered back. Carly Butcher blasted the tying score in the 78th minute to bring up overtime, and Amy Rodriguez delivered her second goal of the day to steal a 3-2 victory for the Trojans as the senior punched in the game-winner in the 95th minute. The win pushes USC's win streak to nine straight, improving the Trojans to 11-1-0 overall and 1-0-0 in Pac-10 play. Washington moves to 9-3-0, 0-1-0.
Washington got on the board first, getting deep in USC territory during the 11th minute. USC goalkeeper Kristin Olsen came out to knock away the initial Husky attack, but Washington regained possession on the left side. Olsen got back to her place in goal, only to have Veronica Perez sail a well-placed shot from the left side to the far right post over an outstretched Olsen, putting the Huskies up 1-0. That score put USC behind in regulation for just the second time this season. The last time was on Sept. 12 when Georgia got in front of USC 2-0, only to see the Women of Troy come back and pull out a 3-2 overtime road win.
This time, USC wouldn't let its opponent get out of reach. In the 22nd minute, Stacey Strong slipped a pass from the right to Amy Rodriguez at the top of the box. Rodriguez blasted her shot to the far post, equalizing things 1-1. USC had a late look at going ahead after a Washington handball gave USC a free kick outside the 18, but the try by Ashley Nick was no good, leaving things at a 1-1 lockup for halftime.
In the second half USC put pressure on and had a series of corner kick opportunities. Kasey Johnson wound up for a powerful shot on goal from the left on the second corner, but it was blocked wide by a Washington defender. The next corner was cleared out by the Huskies. Despite the USC pressure, Washington was able to mount a counterattack in the 60th minute. Perez gathered in a ball in Trojan territory and knocked a pass to Melissa Beal on the right. Olsen charged for the stop, but Beal pushed the ball through to get the Huskies on top once again, ahead 2-1 with 30 minutes left in the second half. Olsen was faced with another tough play just minutes later with Perez charging one-on-one, but Olsen came up big with the save, knocking away the dangerous shot attempt to get USC back on the attack.
Unshaken by the 2-1 deficit, USC pressed back. In the 78th minute, another equalizer came through. Freshman Carly Butcher unleashed a shot from about 20 yards out, driving the ball to the top left corner. Washington goalkeeper Alex Phillips got a hand on it, but the ball went off the post and in to lock the game up 2-2. Washington got dangerously close again in the last two minutes, earning a free kick that Jenna Robison sent into the box. The ball knocked through and off the far post, leaving Sarah Martinez with an opportunity on the rebound. Her shot was wide, hitting side net to bring up overtime.
Just over four minutes into overtime, USC mobilized a smooth attack. A slick series of passes saw Butcher hit fellow freshman Ashley Freyer and Freyer pushed a nice pass over to Rodriguez. Rodriguez was all over the opportunity, smashing another rocket to the left post and in to cash in on the senior's 11th career game-winning goal and close out a 3-2 overtime win for the Trojans.
After the third multiple-goal game of her career, Rodriguez climbs to No. 4 all-time in USC in career points with 76. She also moves up to tie at No. 3 in career game-winners with 11 and is No. 4 all-time in career goals with 30. Fellow senior Stacey Strong also cracks the all-time top-10 in career assists, moving to No. 9 with 12. USC's home unbeaten streak also grows to 18 straight with today's victory.
USC next faces No. 26 Washington State in another home match at McAlister Field. The Trojans take on the Cougars at 1 p.m. on Sunday (Oct. 12)
#5 USC 3, #16 Washington 2 (OT)
SAVES: Kristin Olsen (USC) 1, Alex Phillips (WASH) 5.
SHOTS: USC 22, WASH 6
CORNER KICKS: USC 7, WASH 1