No. 17 Women of Troy Set for Home Opener vs. UC Riverside
Sept. 3, 2014
Click HERE for a game preview interview with head coach Keidane McAlpine.
THIS WEEK The USC women's soccer team is set for its home opener, as UC Riverside comes to McAlister Field for a 4 p.m. PT match on Friday, Sept. 5. The Women of Troy are riding a two-game winning streak, including a 2-1 victory over then-No. 10 Notre Dame on Sunday at the Notre Dame Invitational.
SCOUTING UC RIVERSIDE The Highlanders are 2-0-1 on the season, after victories over Grand Canyon (3-0) and Northern Arizona (4-2) in the first weekend of the season, and a double-overtime tie at San Diego State (2-2) this weekend. The team has found the back of the net a lot over three games, scoring nine goals for an average of three a game, with seven different Highlanders scoring. Tyler Cunningham and Sammy Arellano lead the team with two goals apiece, and Cunningham has also added two assists. Goalkeeper Eilzabeth Silas has made 14 saves on the year. In 2013, the Highlanders were 8-12-2.
This is the first meeting all-time between the teams in official competition. Senior Alex Quincey transferred to USC after playing her freshman season at UC Riverside.
RECAPPING LAST WEEK The Women of Troy went 2-0-0 at the Notre Dame Invitational last weekend in South Bend, Ind. The Women of Troy now have experience with come-from-behind wins, as they were down 1-0 in each of their two wins over the weekend. On Friday against Iowa State, the Women of Troy were down in the fourth minute of play, but fought back to tie things up on a long Jamie Fink strike in the 34th minute. Striker Katie Johnson connected on the eventual game-winner, her first goal of the year in the 58th minute. Finally, North Carolina transfer Reilly Parker put the game away in the 85th minute with her first goal as a Trojan. Freshman Sydney Sladek got her first collegiate point with the assist on Parker's goal. Goalkeeper Caroline Stanley made three saves in the win.
Against then-No. 10-ranked Notre Dame, the Women of Troy played the tale of two halves. In the first half, the game was dominated by the Irish, who struck first with a goal in the 19th minute. They outshot the Women of Troy 11-2 in the first half. However, the Women of Troy were able to hang around, and in the second half came out as a completely different team, dominating the tempo and going on the attack more often. Sophomore Savannah Levin scored her first collegiate goal, a near-post upper "v" beauty in the 65th minute to tie the game 1-1. In the 72nd minute, Tamara Mejia set up the game winner, beating her defender 1 v. 1 on the right flank, crossing the ball to Parker, who was able to get a one-touch on the ball far post. Stanley came up with a huge stop on a penalty kick in the box just minutes later, after Women of Troy hand ball. The stop preserved the win and the Women of Troy were able to hold on for the huge early-season statement victory.
RACKING UP THE HONORS North Carolina transfer Reilly Parker has made herself known in the early going, as her two goals over the weekend, including the game-winner over Notre Dame earned her Pac-12 Player of the Week. She was also named to Top Drawer Soccer Team of the Week and was College Soccer 360 Primetime Player. The honor was the first of her career and the first for the Women of Troy since Elizabeth Eddy won in the first week of the 2013 season. Goalkeeper Caroline Stanley was also recognized her outstanding play between the pipes as Pac-12 Goalkeeper of the Week. Stanley is the first Trojan to win the honor since the inception of the award. She collected seven saves over the two wins, including the huge stop on the Notre Dame penalty kick. The last goalkeeper to receive a weekly honor was Kristin Olsen, who earned Pac-12 Player of the Week honors in 2009.
PRESEASON ACCOLADES Sophomore Kayla Mills earned Preseason First Team All-Pac-12 honors by College Sports Madness. Mandy Davis and Jamie Fink earned preseason second team honors. Mills also earned Preseason All-American fourth team honors by College Sports Madness. Freeman earned All-Pac-12 honors and Freshmen All-Pac-12 honors last season, while Mills earned Freshmen All-Pac-12 honors, while Fink earned All-Pac-12 honorable mention.
THE VETS The Trojans boast four seniors in Jessica Musmanno, Alex Quincey, Caroline Stanley and Heather Davis. Stanley is set to be the Trojans' starting goalkeeper for the third-straight season. Last season Stanley started all 20 games in goal, making 78 saves for a save percentage of .757. Musmanno and Quincey provide the Trojans with versatility, and head coach McAlpine expects them to be big contributors on any of the three lines. Overall the Trojans boast 19 returners, including six starters. Jamie Fink leads a strong junior class, as the Trojans bring back goal-scoring tenacity with Fink (five goals) and Katie Johnson (five goals). Megan Borman will also be looked at to be a big contributor for the Women of Troy in 2014.
THE SOPHS The Trojans boast a strong group of sophomores, headlined by Mandy Freeman and Kayla Mills. The Trojans also have strong contributors in midfielder/forward Savannah Levin, who appeared in 17 games last season, making seven starts. The return of a healthy Dominique Randle, now a redshirt sophomore is key for the Trojans in 2014, as she will be able to anchor the defensive line with Freeman.
THE NEWBIES USC welcomes 11 new Women of Troy to the turf for 2014. It's a crew packed with talent and potential for immediate impact on the pitch, led by North Carolina transfer Reilly Parker. Freshman Sydney Sladek was the Nevada Gatorade Player of the Year and should make a splash for the Trojans from day one, along with Nicole Molen and Sydney Johnson.
THE STAFF The Trojans have a new-look coaching staff in 2014. Along with head coach Keidane McAlpine, the 2013 Pac-12 Coach of the Year, the staff includes former UNLV head coach Jen Klein, one of McAlpine's assistants at Washington State, along with Jason Lockhart, also an assistant for McAlpine in Pullman, Wash.
SISTER ACTS Three USC juniors have factored in significantly to the USC gameplan since arriving at USC last season, and their ability to make a quick transition may well be attributed to family ties. Jamie Fink, Katie Johnson and Erin Owen have all played a ton of minutes, and all three have older sisters who also have been USC student-athletes. Fink's older sister Amanda was an All-American and Pac-12 champion in tennis; Katie Johnson's older sister Isabelle also was on the soccer team; and Owen's older sister Kelly was a co-captain on the track and cross country teams before graduating last year. Whether it has been familiarity with USC overall or sisterly advice on how to succeed as a student-athlete, it's working as all three have played in every game to date.
The collegiate soccer pedigree lives amongst other Women of Troy, including sophomores Mandy Freeman and Savannah Levin. Mandy's sister Ashley played soccer, softball and ran track at Florida, while her sister Tiara played soccer at South Alabama. Savannah's sister Camille played soccer for four seasons at Stanford and was a member of the 2011 National Championship team on the Farm. Camille currently plays in the NWSL for Sky Blue F.C. as a defender.
2013 RECAP The Women of Troy finished the 2013 season with an 8-10-2 record and were 3-7-1 in Pac-12 play. The leading goal scorer from last season, Elizabeth Eddy (6 goals) is gone due to graduation, but the assists leader (8) and points leader (16), Kayla Mills is back in action. Mills and teammate Jamie Fink both had two gamewinners in 2013 and the team saves leader, Caroline Stanley (75) is back between the pipes.
WATCH THE CLOCK USC played seven overtime games last season, going 3-3-2 in that span. What's more, 11 games finished as one-goal decisions, of which the Trojans were on the losing end eight times. In Pac-12 play, all but three conference matches stretched into OT. In 2014, the Women of Troy have already played one overtime match, a 1-1 draw at San Diego.
TUNE IN TO THE TROJANS USC's 2014 schedule features 10 televised games for the Women of Troy. Of the 20 total games on the Trojans' regular-season agenda, half are scheduled to be televised by the Pac-12 Networks -- eight at home and two on the road.