Women of Troy takes on Cal State Northridge in a Sunday night game.
USC Women's Soccer Release
The USC women's soccer team transitions into a one-game week after a busy stretch to open 2012. This week, the Women of Troy (2-3-0) look to put a stop to a three-game losing skid with a road trip to face Cal State Northridge (3-1-1). USC faces the host Matadors at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday (Sept. 9) in Northridge, Calif.
Live stats will be available for Sunday's game at Cal State Northridge. Click on the LIVE STATS link on the USC soccer schedule page at usctrojans.com to follow along, or CLICK HERE. You can also LISTEN LIVE.
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USC is not ranked in the current 2012 polls. Cal State Northridge also is unranked, but is receiving votes in the NSCAA poll.
The Matadors are 3-1-1 overall after beating Michigan 1-0 last week. Stephanie Galarze leads CSUN with two goals scored, and Stephanie Norton has supplied three assists. Goalkeeper Cynthia Jacobo has made 23 saves with three goals allowed. Keith West in in his seventh season as head coach at CSUN, which went 7-10-2 overall and 4-3-1 in Big West play last year. USC is 3-0 all-time against the Matadors with the last win a 2-1 decision in 2008 at McAlister Field.
USC took two tough losses last week at the USC Fútbol Classic at McAlister Field. In both games, the Trojans took a quick start and scored in the first 10 minutes of play. But in both games, the opponent would answer back, equalizing and then getting a second-half winner while the Trojans fell short of forcing OT. First, USC took on No. 4 Duke, netting an Alex Quincey goal (6') assisted by Jordan Marada. That lead would stand through halftime, but the Blue Devils reconvened and answered on a 63rd minute score followed by a 70th minute winner for the 2-1 win over the host Trojans. Two days later, USC took on San Diego. This time, Marada took it on herself to get the opening goal with a solo shot in the eighth minute. The Toreros would pull even in minute 22 for a halftime lockup, and then got another 70th minute winner to deal the Trojans their third straight loss of 2012.
In taking a 2-1 to start the season, USC 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 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 six of USC's 10 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.
BACK ON THE ATTACK
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.