Women's Soccer
    USC Hosts A Busy Weekend At McAlister

    USC is looking to upset No. 4 Duke on Friday at McAlister Field.

    Aug. 28, 2012

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    The USC women's soccer team hosts the 2012 USC Fútbol Classic this week, bringing No. 4 Duke, San Diego and Washington State to town for two days of action at McAlister Field. It all starts up on Friday (Aug. 31) with a 1 p.m. matchup between San Diego (2-2) and Washington State (2-0). Following that, the Women of Troy will make their second appearance on the new Pac-12 Networks when USC (2-1) squares off against No. 4 Duke (2-1) at 4 p.m. The competition continues on Sunday (Sept. 2) when the Blue Devils and the Cougars face off at 11:30 a.m. The Trojans wrap up the weekend at 2 p.m. in a tilt with the Toreros.

    Live stats will be available for all games at the USC Fútbol Classic this week. Click on the Gametracker link on the USC soccer schedule page at usctrojans.com to follow along. The USC-Duke match on Friday will be regionally televised live on Pac-12 Los Angeles, with play-by-play from Mark Rogondino and analysis from Cobi Jones.

    Friday's USC-Duke showdown is one of 58 women's soccer matches being televised by the new Pac-12 Networks this season. The Pac-12 Networks launched August 15 and consist of one national and six regional networks devoted solely to the Pac-12. In addition to the hundreds of live televised Pac-12 sporting events, Pac-12 Networks subscribers will have access to their carrier's `TV Everywhere' platform, providing access to all Pac-12 Networks programming on any device through their broadband service. Visit pac-12.com for more information, and CLICK HERE to find a channel near you.

    USC is not ranked in the current 2012 polls. Duke is ranked highest at No. 4 in this week's Soccer America poll, and is No. 6 in the NSCAA poll; San Diego is unranked but receiving votes; Washington State is unranked

    The No. 4 Blue Devils are 2-1 overall after taking its first loss last week in a 3-2 overtime decision to No. 20 Florida. Laura DeCesare and Laura Weinberg lead Duke so far with three goals apiece, and goalkeeper Tara Campbell has three saves and three goals allowed in three appearances to date, having shared time with Meghan Thomas and Ali Kershner. Head coach Robbie Church is in his 12th season at Duke, which went 22-4-1 overall last season in reaching the 2011 NCAA Championship game, where it fell to Stanford 1-0. USC and Duke have met just once before, when the Trojans beat the Blue Devils 2-0 in a win in Durham, N.C., in 1999.

    The Toreros are 2-2 overall after netting two wins last week, beating No. 12 Texas A&M 1-0 and Minnesota 3-2 in overtime. Emily Dillon is USD's top scorer with two goals scored in the first four games. Goalkeepers McKenna Tollack and Michelle Craft have shared time in goal, with Tollack making five saves with six goals allowed and Craft holding six saves and three goals allowed. Head coach Ada Greenwood is in his 10th season at San Diego, which went 12-8-2 overall last season in reaching the NCAA Third Round. This will be the first of two meetings between USC and San Diego this season. Overall, USC is 7-5-1 all-time against the Toreros, who have won the past three meetings. USC's last win over San Diego was a 4-0 victory in 2009 at McAlister Field. Since then, the Toreros have won two 1-0 decisions in 2010 and a 3-1 victory last season at McAlister Field.

    The Cougars have made a 2-0 start to 2012 with a 3-0 win over Gonzaga and a 6-0 win over Boise State. Micaela Castain leads WSU with three goals in those first two games, and goalkeeper Gurveen Clair has made four saves in claiming both shutout wins. Head coach Keidane McAlpine is in his first season at WSU, which went 12-7-4 overall last season in reaching the 2011 NCAA Second Round.

    In taking a 2-1 to start the season, USC has matched its 2008 start, which also happens to be the last time the Trojans won both their season and home openers. The Trojans' 4-1 win over Saint Mary's was the highest scoring home opener for the Women of Troy since 2007, the year of USC's run to the national championship that began with a 5-1 win over Weber State. The scoring production of eight goals in the first three games is a marked shift from the 2011 campaign. Through their first three games of 2012, the Trojans have already matched their scoring output from their first eight games of 2011.

    USC wound up with a split in its home-opening weekend last week. The scoring spark was flashy in the first match as the Trojans had all their scoring provided by USC newcomers in a 4-1 win over Saint Mary's. Freshmen Erin Owen (10'), Megan Borman (24' & 63') and Whitney Pitalo (64') each rang up their first career goals as Trojans, with Borman going big with a two-goal game. Fellow newcomers Alex Quincey, Marlee Carrillo and Jordan Marada registered assists with setups on the strikes. Two days later, USC came up against a resilient Minnesota squad, which responded to USC freshman Katie Johnson's first career goal in the 25th minute with an equalizer just 53 second later. The Golden Gophers would take advantage of defensive breakdowns from there, finishing up a 4-1 win over the Trojans in the programs' first-ever meeting.

    USC has lined up with no fewer than seven newcomers in the starting lineup in the first three games of 2012, and all but one of USC's eight goals scored to date has come from a new Trojan foot -- six of those true freshmen. On the defensive end, freshman goalkeeper Faith Sugerman anchored the first win of 2012, while sophomore transfer Caroline Stanley stepped in for the start against Saint Mary's to log the first 69 minutes of that 4-1 win.

    TREES `R' US
    To go along with senior defender Kristina Noriega -- who stands at 5-foot 10-inches -- USC's crop of newcomers boasts a lofty crew of talent with regular roles in the Trojan gameplan. Aside from Noriega, USC has freshmen Megan Borman (5-10), Marlee Carrillo (6-0) Jamie Fink (5-9), Katie Johnson (5-9) and Erin Owen (6-1) looming at 5-9 and up. Sophomore transfer Alex Quincey stands at 6-1 and also is a consistent impact player, having started her first three games as a Trojan. That height has had either a head or a foot in scoring or setting up five of USC's eight goals to date.

    USC has two players sidelined for the season after offseason ACL injuries. Senior Isabelle Johnson and incoming freshman Jeanette Jimenez will not participate in 2012.

    USC returns seven of its 11 goal scorers from 2011, including top scorer Elizabeth Eddy, who provided four goals, including two game-winners. Those seven scorers had combined to provide 64 percent of the Trojan scoring load last season. In addition to Eddy, who enters her junior season this year, USC has senior Kristina Noriega and Samantha Johnson and junior Haley Boysen back as multiple-goal scorers in 2011.

    The 2012 USC women's soccer team roster is 34 players strong. Twenty of those will be wearing Cardinal and Gold for the first time. And every last one of them aim to make a lasting impression. So if strength in numbers means anything at all, the Women of Troy are already in good shape. With the influx of newcomers -- an invigorating blend of transfers and freshmen -- an injury-depleted 2011 roster that was dinged up with more losses than USC had taken since 1993 now boasts such a healthy glow that Khosroshahin is certain his 2012 Trojans are certainly set to outshine the competition to come.

    The versatile senior Samantha Johnson played in almost every spot on the pitch except for the goal in her junior season to help fill holes left by a vicious injury bug. A striker by nature, Johnson moved to a defensive role last year. But now, with returns and reinforcements bolstering the Trojan back line, Johnson has been freed up to lead her team from a more natural spot in the attack. Now in her fourth year at Troy, Johnson is the reigning veteran to lead by example and by instruction.

    USC's Amy Rodriguez captured her second Olympic gold medal this summer as a member of Team USA in London. An All-American at USC, Rodriguez competed for the Women of Troy from 2005-2008. In her junior season, Rodriguez helped power USC to its first-ever NCAA Championship, as the Trojans won the 2007 title. The following year, Rodriguez had been called up the U.S. ladder to make her Olympic debut. She would go on to serve up the assist on the game-winning goal in the 2008 gold-medal game. In London, Rodriguez played in four games during the USA's run to 2012 gold.

    The Trojans tote an arsenal of four goalkeepers into 2012, with two fresh pairs of hands in the mix with returning keepers Carley Pennington and Lindsey Brown. Tabbed for the starting slot is highly touted sophomore transfer Caroline Stanley, whose toughness and athleticism stand strong for the Trojans as she enters her first season of competition at Troy. The Missouri transfer and native has another out-of-state import alongside her in New Jersey product Faith Sugerman, a promising freshman who promises to impress.

    Senior Kristina Noriega wraps up her second season at USC after joining the Trojans as a transfer in 2011. A lofty center back, Noriega was a clutch addition to the defensive staff in the light of a season-ending injury suffered by standout defender Mia Bruno during the spring. Bruno is back as a redshirt sophomore for 2012, locking in a powerful tagteam of experience, skill and know-how to anchor the Trojan back line. Speedy junior Autumn Altamirano answered the call to the back line, bringing a dangerous ability to charge up the transition game to turn defense into an offensive counterattack from the wing. Junior Elizabeth Eddy can fit well into the opposite wing, too, while the Trojans can compliment that speed on the corners with serious size in the center. In addition to the height that Bruno and Noriega bring, USC welcomes a freshman pairing of 6-foot Marlee Carrillo and 6-1 Erin Owen.

    With the field general Samantha Johnson running the show in the Trojan midfield, USC is already primed with a feisty attack mode. Johnson has a crop of impressive young talent at her disposal as well, with freshmen Jamie Fink and Megan Borman on call to further charge up the midfield and transfers Jordan Marada and Alex Quincey already proven scoring machines. Junior Haley Boysen returns with a nose for the goal, too, not to mention the abilities of juniors Eddy and Altamirano to move up within striking distance.

    Cutting their teeth on the front lines in their Trojan debuts are freshman forwards Katie Johnson and Whitney Pitalo, whose addition to the attack Khosroshahin is truly excited about. The fresh feet of those two young talents can be joined by some returning skill in senior Courtney Garcia and sophomores sophomore Elizabeth Caparis and Jessica Musmanno.

    USC had a shockingly frustrating season in 2011, taking the second most losses in program history in finishing up 7-13-0 overall. Six of those losses were in one-goal games, and the Trojans would finish eighth in the Pac-12 at 4-7-0. Elizabeth Eddy was USC's top scorer with four goals, including two game-winners. Senior Brittany Kerridge led the pack in assist with nine, finishing with a team-high 15 points. USC would miss the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2004. All-Pac-12 honors went to Kerridge on the second team an honorable mention to Eddy. USC scored 22 goals in 2011 and allowed 35.