No. 19 Women's Soccer Opens at Home
September 1, 1998
THIS WEEK The No. 19 USC women's soccer team, led by coach Jim Millinder, kicks off the 1998 season with a pair of home matches at brand-new McAlister Field, located on the corner of 30th and Hoover (two blocks north of the university). The Women of Troy meet San Diego State on Friday (Sept. 4) at 3 p.m. and Pepperdine on Sunday (Sept. 6) at 1 p.m. These are the only two games USC will play at McAlister Field (which serves as USC's practice field) in 1998. The Coliseum will host the other eight home matches.
NEWS & NOTES In the preseason rankings, USC appears at No. 19 by Soccer Buzz and No. 21 by Soccer Times. In the West Region rankings, USC is No. 3 in Soccer Buzz ... The Women of Troy return nine of 11 starters (not including 1996 Pac-10 scoring leader Isabelle Harvey, who sat out 1997 with a knee injury) and 16 of 23 letterwinners ... USC is coming off its best-ever season with a 16-3-1 record in 1997, and went 7-2 in the Pac-10 for second place ... USC,s 31 wins over the last two seasons is more than any other Pac-10 team ... USC is 5-0 in season openers and 4-1 in home openers ... Soccer America chose the Nov. 1 USC-UCLA contest at the Coliseum as one of its top five games to watch this season.
OPPONENTS San Diego State (0-0 faces Cal State Fullerton on Tuesday), led by sixth-year head coach Chuck Clegg, went 10-6-1 in 1997 and returns nine of 11 starters. The Women of Troy are only 2-3 all-time against the Aztecs, but won last year's meeting in San Diego, 4-1 ... Pepperdine (0-0 faces UNLV on Tuesday and UC Santa Barbara on Friday) is a team in transition, as former assistant Tim Ward takes over as head coach of a team that went 7-12-1 in 1997 and returns five starters. The Women of Troy are 5-2 all-time against the Waves and have won the last five meetings.
WORLD CUP QUALIFYING Two members of the Women of Troy will miss this first weekend of collegiate competition as they try to help their respective countries earn a berth in the 1999 Women's World Cup. Isabelle Harvey of Canada and Susie Mora of Mexico are in the midst of participating in the CONCACAF qualifying tournament in Toronto, Canada. Harvey is a native of Quebec, while Mora's parents are from Mexico (she was born in Santa Ana, Calif.).
KIM CLARK One of the top players in the nation, senior midfielder Kim Clark (Cupertino/Monta Vista HS) earned All-American third team status in 1997 with 13 goals and 17 assists (a school record and good for first in the West Region and tied for 11th in the nation), good for 43 points (tied for second in the West Region). A quick and creative player, Clark is one of the focal points of USC,s attack. She has scored a point in 12 consecutive games. Kim also plays basketball for the Women of Troy (along with her twin sister Kristin).
ISABELLE HARVEY After establishing herself as one of the top scorers in the West as a freshman in 1996, midfielder/forward Isabelle Harvey (Quebec, Canada) redshirted the 1997 season with a knee injury. As a sophomore in 1998, she's back at full strength and should again be one of the region's (if not one of the country's) top players. She scored 20 goals and had 11 assists for a total of 51 points in 1996, all of which led the Pac-10.
COURTNEY BARHAM Senior forward Courtney Barham (Olivenhain/San Dieguito HS) is the Pac-10's top returning goal scorer with 14 in 1997. Barham, one of Troy's quickest players, made the All-West Region third team and All-Pac-10 first team last season. She is USC's career goals (30) and points (69) leader.
FORWARDS Barham is joined up front by sophomore Megan Orach (Huntington Beach/Marina HS), who scored eight goals in 1997 as a freshman. Junior Kaylee Whitfield (Santa Ana/El Modena HS) will make a mini-miracle comeback after tearing the anterior crucicate ligament in her right knee in March. Whitfield, a sparkplug off the bench the last two season, will continue in the same role this season. She has scored 11 career goals.
MIDFIELDERS USC's strongest position, Clark and senior Carol Hatcher (Kapolei, HI/Kalani HS) will patrol the middle of the field, and Harvey and senior Erica De Vitis (Coto de Caza/Santa Margarita HS) are on the wings. Hatcher had 20 points and De Vitis had 16 points last season. Defensive midfielder will likely be handled by freshman Erin Reed (Alamo/San Ramon Valley HS). Sophomore Andrea Warner (Dana Point/Dana Hills HS) started at sweeper last season but returns to her natural position at midfielder and will see a great deal of playing time. She could take the place of Harvey this weekend, who is at the World Cup qualifying tournament. Other possibilities to start there are sophomore Ami Aylor (Lake Forest/Santa Margarita HS) and freshman Brittany Savelkoul (Seal Beach/Los Alamitos HS).
DEFENDERS The defense is anchored by senior Meghan Reppe (Orange/Villa Park HS), one of the quickest players in the West and a 1997 All-West Region second teamer. She,s joined by sophomore Katie Ticehurst (Los Alamitos/Mater Dei HS) and junior Christina Kushnir (San Diego/Bishop,s HS). Other future possibilities include sophomore Susie Mora (Mission Viejo/Santa Margarita), who is currently competing in the World Cup qualifying tournament, and freshman Kim Abbamonto (Mission Viejo/Capistrano Valley), the 1997 Orange County High School Player of the Year, who is currently sidelined by injury.
GOALKEEPERS Senior Karin Puccinelli (Cupertino/St. Francis HS) is the starter for now, but she'll be pushed by talented freshman Shaelyn Fernandes (San Jose/Presentation HS). Puccinelli was a co-starter the last two years and she has a career record of 16-4-0. Her goals-against average of 1.130 was good for sixth in the Pac-10 in 1997. Fernandes had a prep record of 78-4-5 and led her club team, the Central Valley Mercury, to the last three national championships.
HEAD COACH JIM MILLINDER In his two seasons as USC's head coach, Jim Millinder has turned Troy into a budding national power. He has a two-year record of 31-8-1 (.788) with USC. A former U.S. National Team member who played in the 1982 World Cup, Millinder was named the 1997 West Region Coach of the Year and the 1996 Pac-10 Coach of the Year.
COACH MILLINDER SAYS "I'm using the words cautiously optimistic, to describe how I feel about this team. We have to get a few games under our belt and get the team cohesion going, but things could look very good, especially when we get Isabelle Harvey and Susie Mora back and we're at full strength. San Diego State is a hard-working team and very determined, so I expect a battle in that match. Pepperdine lost some players, but they'll be well coached and will have good chemistry."