Women's Soccer
    No. 17 USC Takes On New Foes Mississippi & LSU

    The Trojans hit the road for Minnesota this week!

    Sep 3, 2013

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    The No. 17 USC women's soccer team has an out-of-state adventure on tap for the week, as the Women of Troy head out to Minneapolis for action at the Minnesota Gold Classic. There, the Trojans (3-0-0) will go up against Mississippi (4-0-0) at 4:30 p.m. CT on Friday (Sept. 6) before taking on LSU (2-1-1) at 11 a.m. CT on Sunday (Sept. 8) on the home turf of the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

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    USC is back in the national rankings for the first time since the start of 2011, when the Trojans opened the year ranked No. 25 in the NSCAA preseason poll. Now with a 3-0 start to 2013, the Women of Troy remain locked into all national polls. The primary national coaches' poll, NSCAA, has USC ranked No. 17 in the nation this week. The Trojans also weigh in at No. 13 according to Soccer America this week, and are No. 18 according to BennettRank and No. 23 according to TopDrawer. Ole Miss and LSU are unranked but receiving votes in this week's NSCAA poll.

    Mississippi is 4-0-0 overall after beating Northwestern State 5-0 and Saint Louis 2-0 last week. Mandy McCalla leads the Rebels with five goals so far. Goalkeeper Kelly McCormick has made eight saves in four appearances, with two goals allowed in Mississippi's 5-2 win over UAB on opening weekend. Ole Miss went 13-9 overall in 2012, reaching the second round of the SEC Tournament. This will be the first meeting between USC and Ole Miss in program history.

    LSU enters the week 2-1-1 overall after tying TCU 0-0 and taking its first loss of the year with a 4-2 loss to No. 6 BYU last week. Fernanda Pina leads the Tigers with three goals, and Emma Fletcher has provided a team-high four assists. LSU goalkeeper Megan Kinneman has made 13 saves with four goals against in her four appearances. LSU went 9-8-4 overall last season, appearing in the first round of the SEC Tournament. This will be the first meeting between USC and LSU in program history.

    USC ripped off another four-goal game to continue its powerful start to 2013, beating visiting Cal State Northridge 4-1 in the Trojans' home opener at McAlister Field last week. Four different Women of Troy got to the back of the net in the win, as USC has set a program record with 12 goals scored in its first three games while also matching its best start to a season since 2007 with a 3-0 record on the year. Credit the game-winner to freshman Tanya Samarzich, whose nifty finish in the box off a Marlee Carrillo setup in the 30th minute would stand as the winner on the day and gave the newcomer her second straight game-winning goal. Sophomore Katie Johnson and Kayla Mills had hooked up four minutes earlier on another underclassman combo pack when Mills delivered and Johnson proved the sharpshooter to take USC ahead 1-0 in the match in the 26th. The Trojan domination drummed up a 3-0 advantage early in the second half. Elizabeth Eddy had misfired on a chance in the box once, but give a second opportunity the senior capitalized moments later. Fellow senior Jordan Marada carried the ball and placed at pass into the box for a hungry Eddy. She would gather it up, turn and fire her blast to the back of the net, notching her fourth goal of the season to give Eddy her 14th career goal -- 11th most in program history. On a deep CSUN run, a Matador striker got into the USC area, went down on the USC defender's challenge and was awarded a penalty kick for the Matadors in the 66th minute. Chloe McDaniel put the shot away for CSUN, and the Trojans were then holding a 3-1 advantage. The Trojans regrouped, and Kayla Mills went on a solo mission to goal in the 75th minute. Mills carried the ball with speed and put her shot away with precision to the far low post to grant USC its third consecutive four-goal game and another well-balanced victory.

    Trojans emerged victorious from their first road trip of the year, tacking up 4-1 upset win over No. 11 San Diego State before amassing another four-goal outing to beat host San Diego 4-2. USC finished as the only team at the USD Tournament with two wins, and had Elizabeth Eddy and Jamie Fink named to the All-Tournament Team. Against the No. 11 Aztecs, USC was in control throughout and quickly made a 1-0 halftime lead a solid 3-0 advantage with goals three minutes apart from freshman Kayla Mills and sophomore Jamie Fink. Senior Elizabeth Eddy bookended those blast in scoring USC's first and last goals of the match as the Women of Troy locked in on a decisive winning start to 2013. Defensively, the USC's starting back line of Marlee Carrillo, Mia Bruno, Mandy Freeman and Autumn Altamirano did a good job of limiting work for goalkeeper Caroline Stanley, who was called to action for three saves in the game. Two days later, USC made another strong statement in San Diego in taking down the tournament host Toreros 4-2. USC roared to life with three first-half goals, including back-to-back goals from freshman Tanya Samarzich to follow sophomore Jamie Fink's opener. The Women of Troy would build a 4-0 advantage on a finish in the box from Elizabeth Eddy before the Toreros managed two late goals against a younger USC lineup to wrap the final scoreline as a 4-2 USC win.

    Senior forward Elizabeth Eddy opened the 2013 season with a bang, becoming the first Trojan since 2010 to be named Pac-12 Player of the Week, picked as Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week on Aug. 26. Eddy scored the Trojans' first goal of 2013 as she provided the spark for the Trojans in the 7th minute of play en route to a 4-1 upset win over No. 11 San Diego State. Eddy would score the last goal of the game as well on an 89th minute breakaway to cap the 4-1 victory. With two goals on the day, it was the senior's first multiple-goal game since tallying a hat trick for USC during her freshman season. Two days later, Eddy made it a three-goal weekend as she finished off USC's fourth goal again in a 4-2 win over host San Diego. Eddy was named to the USD All-Tournament Team and also moved up the USC scoring ladders to now hold 13 career goals -- the 12th most career goals scored in USC history. The last Trojan to be named conference player of the week was Karter Haug in 2010.

    USC's attacking abilities are in full effect. The Trojans lead the conference in scoring through the first two weekends of action, averaging 4.0 goals and 3.0 assists per game for a grand total of 11.0 points per game. USC's 12 goals scored in its first three games is a program record. What's more, the USC attack is widespread. While senior Elizabeth Eddy leads the team with four goals, four other Women of Troy have gotten to the back of the net. Freshmen Tanya Samarzich (3) and Kayla Mills (2) have combined for five goals, with sophomores Jamie Fink (2) and Katie Johnson (1) providing three more. Assists, too, have come a set of six Trojans, led by Mills with three and Autumn Altamirano with two to date. With eight goals scored in its first two games, USC had bettered the seven goals scored in its first two games of 2007 when the Trojans went on to win the NCAA Championship. That year, USC won its first three games of the season -- a stat the 2013 Trojans have also matched. The Trojans' best season start to date was in 2000 when USC won five in a row to start the year.

    The USC roster is five seniors strong this year, marking a changing of the guard that has brought some standout leadership to the forefront. A transfer last season, Jordan Marada not only was the Trojans' top scorer in 2012, she has fit into USC's veteran core like a charm, as she takes up her senior season as a Trojan alongside Autumn Altamirano, Haley Boysen, Mia Bruno and Elizabeth Eddy. There are three juniors on the list this year, but only Jessica Musmanno began her collegiate career at Troy. Alex Quincey and Caroline Stanley played their first seasons as Trojans last year, but, like Marada, they've taken a natural shine to Cardinal and Gold as they continue to be key forces in the USC gameplan. That group of eight upperclassmen have logged 19,574 minutes and accounted for 34 goals, 25 assists and 95 saves for the Trojans to date.

    Ah, the sophomores... Freshman year is but a distant memory for the USC sophomore class, which came into 2012 as a group of 10 new Trojans looking to make their mark. At the close of their first season, they accomplished something that few freshmen classes had managed -- a dramatic win over rival UCLA, which was then ranked No. 2 in the nation. That was the confidence boost the young Trojans needed to charge them up for the next stage in their USC careers, and the 2013 class of sophomores are undoubtedly locked in for more success. Six of them are entering 2013 already with goals on their career count. Katie Johnson had three apiece in 2012, joined by Marlee Carrillo, Erin Owen, Megan Borman, Jamie Fink and Whitney Pitalo with goal tallies last season.

    USC welcomes 12 new Women of Troy to the turf for 2013. It's a crew packed with talent and potential for immediate impact on the pitch. U.S Under-20 national teamers Mandy Freeman and Kayla Mills may be the headliners, but the 12-pack of new Trojans is clearly deep and versatile. Natalie Donaldson is the only transfer in the mix this season, as the California native comes back west from Auburn.

    Tickets are going fast for USC soccer's Dads & Daughters Day at McAlister Field -- set for Sunday, Sept. 22 when the Trojans clash with Cal State Fullerton. A $20 package includes two game tickets, lunch for two, a soccer ball and a water bottle. Go to wwww.usctrojans.com/soccerpromo to get to the ticket link.

    Long since serving up the game-winning goal in USC's 2007 NCAA Championship victory, Trojan grad and current Director of Operations Marihelen Tomer has remained hungry to succeed. Now, the USC women's soccer standout is focusing her efforts on an international stage. As founder of the nonprofit organization Luv Way Ministries, Tomer is working to save the lives of children in Kenya. The mission of Luv Way is to build and run a children's home, where Tomer hopes to save the lives of Kenyan children. Luv Way is holding fund-raising events that range from the soccer-inspired Kickin' It For Kenya tournaments, to Komedy for Kenya shows and an upcoming concert. For more information, visit luvway.org

    The 2013-14 academic year marks 125 Years of Athletics at USC. To celebrate this milestone in USC history, each home football game will be a Reunion Weekend to recognize the accomplishments of the great teams, athletes and coaches of the past. USC women's soccer's Reunion Weekend is scheduled for mid-September, beginning with USC's Friday (Sept. 13) clash with Pepperdine at 3 p.m. at McAlister Field. The reunited Women of Troy are then invited to an Athletes Pre-Game Picnic before being honored at the USC football game vs Boston College the next day (Sept. 14) at the Coliseum. For more information for interested alums, visit usctrojans.com/reunions. Plan on sticking around, too, because USC soccer has another home game on Sunday (Sept. 15) against LMU. Come home and join the fun!

    USC played a program-record nine overtime games last season, going 2-4-3 in that span. What's more, 13 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. Safe to say the name of the game this season will be to get the job done in the first 90 minutes, and the 2013 Trojans certainly have the balance, backbone and firepower to make it happen.

    USC's 2013 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 -- six at home and four on the road. Pac-12 Network personalities Krista Blunk, Tammy Blackburn, Anne Marie Anderson and Kyndra de St. Aubin also return to rotate broadcasting duties throughout the season.

    Since fielding a football team in 1888, USC has had an unparalleled athletic tradition, including 120 national team championships, an unprecedented 419 Olympians and 52 NCAA Postgraduate Scholars as the Trojan family celebrates its 125th anniversary this 2013-14 academic year. Including the USC women's soccer team's historic 2007 NCAA Championship victory, USC boasts a grand total of 120 national team championships, including a national-best 82 men's NCAA crowns. Trojan men have won more individual NCAA titles (309) than those from any other school, while the Women of Troy have added another 69 individual NCAA titles. Four Trojans have won the prestigious Sullivan Award as the nation's top amateur athlete. Two Women of Troy athletes have won the Honda Cup as the top collegiate female athlete of the year and there have been 15 Honda Award winners as the top female athlete in their sport. USC not only has more Olympians than any school, but more Olympic medalists (287) and gold medalists (135). USC soccer great Amy Rodriguez is a big part of that Olympic tradition as a two-time Olympic gold medalist with Team USA. Thanks in part to A-Rod, a Trojan has won a gold medal in every summer Olympics since 1912. Four Trojans were Rhodes Scholars and there have been 31 Academic All-American first teamers. USC claims eight recipients of the NCAA Today's Top Eight scholar award and 13 NCAA Silver Anniversary Award winners.