USC Falls To Notre Dame In NCAA Second Round
Nov. 14, 2010
SOUTH BEND, IND. - The USC women's soccer team came up against a tough host on a chilly and windy day for the Trojans' NCAA Second Round battle today in South Bend, Ind. With the wind at its back to start, No. 4 seeded Notre Dame got back-to-back goals early in the match, and went on to claim a 4-0 win over the visiting Women of Troy. The loss wraps up USC's 2010 season with a 13-6-3 overall record in the Trojans' sixth straight postseason appearance, including a 2007 championship run to USC's first-ever NCAA title.
USC's possession game was strong and controlled throughout the match, but the Fighting Irish broke through first with a long strike to the top left corner. As the win kept blowing toward the Trojan goal, Notre Dame capitalized again a minute later by interrupting a clear and punching in a score to the right post to put USC behind 2-0 barely nine minutes into the action. The Women of Troy remained unrattled by the deficit, however, and continued to push and possess the ball. Ashli Sandoval sent a long free kick just high off the crossbar, and Haley Boysen would get a head on a Karter Haug corner kick only to see the shot go high. With 14 minutes left in the half, Notre Dame got in dangerous territory but came up against a stubborn USC goalkeeper in Shelby Church, who took away two Fighting Irish shots. Late in the half, USC mounted another strike when Mia Bruno fed the ball to Ashley Freyer, who backheeled the ball to a streaking Elizabeth Eddy for a look and a shot that she tried to place in the top left corner but saw it fly high of the frame. USC freshman defender Mia Bruno went down with an injury just before the half, and would not return for the second, moving Freyer back to the defensive ranks for the remainder of the game.
Despite the two-goal hole, the Trojans never seemed out of reach as they opened up the second half with persistence, bolstered by the wind at their backs and with the sun clearing through the clouds. The Notre Dame back line, however, was stalwart in deterring Trojan shots, making blocks on USC attempts to get on the board. Sandoval's free kick from 23 yards out sailed just high, while Eddy and Alyssa Dávila sliced through the Fighting Irish only to have their shots also blocked by a Notre Dame defender. In the 58th minute, Notre Dame padded out its lead to 3-0 when Melissa Henderson finished off a look inside the box, putting the Trojans in an extremely hard spot to mount a comeback. USC head coach Ali Khosroshahin realigned his troops and moved Sandoval up front in an effort to get extra power up on the front lines for a chance to generate some much-needed scoring. But with 20 minutes to go, Notre Dame countered and got another opportunity in the box, with Adriana Leon knocking in a fourth goal for the Irish to make it a 4-0 lead that would stand through to the final whistle.
The loss leaves USC with a 13-6-3 overall record after a third-place finish in Pac-10 play. USC is now 13-11-1 all-time in NCAA action, and still stands as the only Pac-10 team to win an NCAA championship with the Trojans' 2007 run to the national title.
Seniors Alyssa Dávila, Karter Haug and Megan Ohai and redshirt junior Ashli Sandoval were all freshmen on that national championship team. All four have made their mark on USC history as NCAA champs, but they also each have a spot in the all-time top 10 on the USC stat sheets. Dávila wraps up her USC career at No. 2 all-time in career game-winning goals (12), and holds the seventh-most career goals (23) and is No. 9 in career points (55). Ohai closes out her Trojan career with the sixth-most career game-winners (7) and ninth-most goals (16) and assists (12). And defender Haug was USC's season leader in assists, finishing up with the 10th most total in USC history (11) while also holding the program record for career starts with 88. Sandoval, who has one more season to play following a season-ending knee injury in 2009 and led USC in scoring this season, is No. 10 in career points (51) and has the eighth-most game-winners (5) and 10th most goals (14) while standing tall at No. 4 all-time in career assists (23). The foursome also have earned All-Pac-10 honors this year, with Ohai and Haug named to the All-Pac-10 Second Team and Sandoval and Davila earning All-Pac-10 Honorable Mention.
NCAA Second Round (South Bend, Ind.) - Nov. 14, 2010
SAVES: Shelby Church (USC) 4, Nikki Weiss (ND) 3.
SHOTS: USC 13, ND 16
CORNER KICKS: USC 2, ND 3
FOULS: USC 9, ND 7