USC Heads To The Final Four
Nov. 30, 2007
MORGANTOWN, WV. - The No. 2 seeded USC women's soccer team continued its trek through uncharted territory by posting its fourth shutout of the NCAA Tournament, topping fourth-seeded host West Virginia 1-0 on Friday night in Morgantown, W.V. In doing so, the Women of Troy have not only punched their first-ever ticket to the NCAA College Cup and increased their program record win total to 18 victories, the Trojans have tied a program record shutout total of 14. Freshman Kasey Johnson delivered the winning blow for the second straight game, scoring on a sharp header in the second half to tally goal number two for the freshman and push USC to the 1-0 win on a cold night versus the host Mountaineers. West Virginia closes its season with an 18-5-2 record.
The Trojans' record-breaking trend began two weeks ago, when USC captured its first-ever win in the NCAA Second Round. Since then, the Trojans have continued to play solid soccer, with USC's reliable back line - anchored by sophomore goalie Kristin Olsen - disciplined midfield and dangerous strikers utilizing a gameplan that has now generated an 18-3-2 record for the Women of Troy as they set up to travel to College Station, Texas, for the NCAA College Cup.
Against West Virginia, USC's possession game set the tone once again. Meanwhile, the USC defense held the Mountaineers to six shots with Olsen nabbing a pair of saves in the 32nd and 33rd minutes. With five minutes left in the first half, Megan Ohai got deep and earned a corner for the Trojans. USC's initial corner was headed out to bring up a second, and Karter Haug sent the ball in to set up a series of USC looks on goal. Kasey Johnson took the first try, but it was blocked. Amy Rodriguez drove one in next, and it also was stopped. Ohai got the next chance, rocketing a shot on goal that clipped the top crossbar. Johnson took a shot on the rebound but sent it high, leaving the game scoreless but the Trojans hungry for the second half.
Olsen opened the second half with an early save - giving her three of an eventual career-high five on the night. Defender Janessa Currier intercepted several Mountaineer crosses, and fed the second up to the USC counterattack. The USC offensive surge continued, with Rodriguez and Marihelen Tomer taking shots that the WVU defense blocked. Ohai also kept the Mountaineer defense busy, drilled two powerful shots that goalkeeper Kerri Butler pulled in for saves. In the 63rd minute, Tomer was fouled about 24 yards out, setting up Ashley Nick for a free kick. Nick sent in a low ball that made its way to the left side of the box, where Currier put a centering touch on it, pulling Butler out of position and opening up the right side of the cage for Johnson. Johnson drove her header to the back post, getting the freshman her second career goal and pushing the Trojans ahead 1-0.
USC did a good job of maintaining control during the game. The Mountaineers had a chance in the 79th minute, but Olsen grabbed the save, and after another booming kick from the sophomore keeper, the Trojans were back on the attack. With Ashli Sandoval and Ohai feeding the ball out from the midfield, Alyssa Davila and Lauren Brown were both able to earn USC corners with shots deflected out of bounds. The WVU defense turned them away, but could not generate an answering attack as the Trojans emerged with the 1-0 win.
USC will face Pac-10 rival UCLA -- which beat Portland in double overtime on Friday night -- in the NCAA semifinals at the College Cup, to be held Dec. 7 in College Station, Texas. The National Championship match is set for Dec. 9 also at Aggie Soccer Complex in College Station.
USC 1, West Virginia 0
SAVES: Kristin Olsen (USC) 5, Kerri Butler (WVU) 5
SHOTS: USC 20, WVU 9
CORNER KICKS: USC 7, WVU 3