Trojans Ready for Home Openers, Loyola Marymount and No. 8 North Carolina|
Sept. 7, 2016
THIS WEEK - After the first five games came on the road or at neutral sites this year, the Trojans are finally ready to return to the friendly confines of McAlister Field, hosting Loyola Marymount on Friday, Nov. 9 at 4:30 p.m. PT and No. 8 North Carolina on Sunday at 1 p.m. PT. Both contests will be televised live on Pac-12 Networks.
SCOUTING NO. 8 NORTH CAROLINA - The Trojans are 0-3 all-time against the Tar Heels. The two squads met last year in a tournament at Duke, and although the Trojans scored first, they eventually fell 2-1. This is the first time the Trojans and Tar Heels will meet in Los Angeles.
REVIEWING LAST WEEK - The Trojans had an outstanding weekend at the Auburn Soccer Classic, winning both matches against two SEC foes. The team defeated Georgia 3-0 with goals from Alex Anthony, Katie Johnson and Nicole Molen. Then against Auburn, Nicole Molen and Alex Anthony followed with their second goals of the weekend. Both Anthony and Molen each had a game winner and a late goal to put the game out of reach of their opponents over the weekend. Goalkeeper Sammy Jo Prudhomme was also outstanding, tallying 17 saves over two shutouts to earn tournament Co-MVP honors (shared with Iowa State’s goalkeeper).
GOALKEEPER OF THE WEEK - Prudhomme earned her first Pac-12 Goalkeeper of the Week honors (previously was Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week while at Oregon State). She started off the weekend by tallying a USC career-high nine saves against Georgia on Friday. Seven of those saves came in the second half, as she staved off multiple Bulldog attacks to keep the team’s 3-0 lead in tact. She followed up that performance by an arguably even more impressive one against another SEC foe, this time No. 21 Auburn. The Trojans took the lead in the 21st minute, but it was a 1-0 contest throughout most of the game, and Prudhomme came up with big save after big save to keep the lead, and a 77th minute goal by the Trojans eventually gave them a 2-0 cushion. She saw 13 shots and made eight saves in the win over the tournament host.
DEFENSIVE STRONG - Prudhomme and the Trojans are now on a three-game shutout streak and have not surrendered a goal in 294 minutes.
IN THE STATS - Alex Anthony leads the Pac-12 in points (10), 2 per game. She is tied for the conference lead with 4 goals.
THIS YEAR’S MIX - The Trojans return nine of 11 starters from the 2015 Sweet 16 squad, while adding impact transfer strikers Alex Anthony (Maryland) and Leah Pruitt (San Diego State). The Trojans also add nine true freshmen, a solid group that will provide instant depth to an already strong side.
IN GOAL - The Trojans return 2015 All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention selection Sammy Jo Prudhomme in goal for her senior season in Cardinal and Gold. She started all 23 games for the Trojans last year, tallying 69 saves. He 10 shutouts rank third on the USC single-season shutout list. She finished the year with a 0.68 goals against average. Depth between the pipes comes from junior Julia Murphy and freshman Kaylie Collins.
THE DEFENSE - The Trojans return Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, Kayla Mills, to shore up USC’s defense in 2016. Sophomore Ally Prisock, a 2015 Pac-12 All-Freshman selection who started all 23 games in 2015 is also a big returner for the Trojans, and having spent much of the last six months playing with the U.S. Youth Women’s National U-19 team she brings a lot of experience to her sophomore campaign. The Trojans add senior Savannah Levin to the defensive mix on the wing, along with freshman Julia Bingham, who is comfortable on the flank. The Trojans will have to replace Dominique Randle in 2016, as she is out with a knee injury. A group of freshmen are in the mix at that position, including the speedy Courtney Corrin, U.S. Youth National Team circuit member Samantha Bruder, Australian national Lulu Pullar and English Youth National Team member Ashleigh Plumptre.
THE MIDFIELD- The midfield is an incredibly deep position for the Trojans, led by NSCAA Second Team All-American Morgan Andrews and NSCAA All-Pacific Region Second Teamer Mandy Freeman. Junior Amanda Rooney is expected to be an impact player for the Trojans in her second season in Cardinal and Gold, along with the speedy Sydney Sladek and the ever-steady Nicole Molen. Freshmen Jalen Woodward and Daria Petredes will also provide depth for the Trojans in the position.
THE FORWARDS- The Trojans have stabilized their core of strikers with the additions of transfer forwards Alex Anthony and Leah Pruitt. The Trojans also return Katie Johnson, a seasoned Trojan striker who sat out 2015 recovering from a knee injury. The Trojans also return Sydney Johnson, who was second on the team with five goals in 2015. The Trojans are looking for this core to finish more often in 2016, supplementing returning central midfielder Morgan Andrews, who led the team with an impressive team-leading 12 goals in 2015.
IN THE IN THE RECORD BOOKS - In just her first season with the Trojans, Morgan Andrews inserted herself into multiple categories of the USC women’s soccer record book. She currently holds the USC record of consecutive games with multiple goals, which is three-straight games, with seven total goals. The streak goes from Nov. 6 (at UCLA) to Nov. 20 (at Virginia, 2nd Rd. NCAA vs. Princeton). This streak includes two goals as the Trojans defeated UCLA in Westwood for the first time ever on Nov. 6, to the first-ever Trojan postseason hat trick vs. Cal State Fullerton on Nov. 13 in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament, to the 2nd Round NCAA match vs. Princeton (two goals). Her 2015 12 goals rank fourth-best on the USC single-season goals list, while her 28 total points are a USC single-season seventh-best. She is two goals away from cracking the USC career goals scored top 15. Also her Pac-12-leading 96 shots taken in 2015 are the second-most on the single-season USC shots taken list.
LOCKDOWN DEFENSE - The 2015 Trojan defense that was tied for first with only five goals allowed in Pac-12 play. The team led the league with a goals against average of .544 in the regular season, good for the ninth-best mark nationally. The Trojans went 336 total minutes over five different contests without giving up a goal. They were the only team in the Pac-12 to go three-straight games (all in conference) without allowing a goal.
PRESEASON ACCOLADES - Seniors Morgan Andrews and Kayla Mills have racked up the preseason honors. Both were named to the watch list for the MAC Hermann Trophy, given to the nation’s top collegiate male and female soccer players. This is the first time either have been named to the watch list (36 women’s soccer student-athletes). Both Andrews and Mills were also named to the TopDrawerSoccer Preseason Best IX First Team, while fellow senior Mandy Freeman was named to the second team. TopDrawerSoccer also recently named Mills the top defender in the USWNT youth circuit, while Andrews was named the fourth-best midfielder. Andrews, who was the Gatorade National High School Female Athlete of the Year in 2013, was outstanding for the Trojans down their stretch run to a NCAA Sweet 16 bid in 2015, scoring seven of the Trojans final eight goals of the year. The Milford, N.H., native finished the season as the team’s leading goal scorer with 12 finishes, as well as the team’s leader in points with 28. She appeared in all but one game for the Trojans, starting 20 of them. The junior had five multi-goal outings, including the first-ever hat trick by a Trojan in an NCAA match as she had three in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to bring the Trojans back from a 2-0 deficit against Cal State Fullerton. She also netted two goals against crosstown rival UCLA as the Trojans defeated the Bruins for the first time ever in Westwood. Andrews, who played her first two seasons at Notre Dame, earned All-Pac-12 first team honors. Mills, the 2015 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year and All-Pac-12 first team selection was third on the team with 10 points and was tied for the team-lead with six assists and two goals. The attacking-minded defender started all 23 games for the Trojans, netting the game-winner vs. USD, while adding a goal in a 4-0 victory at Oregon. She also was the leader of a stalwart Trojan defense that was tied for first with only five goals allowed in Pac-12 play. Mills earned Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week honors earlier this season as the Trojans only allowed one goal in 200 minutes of action, including a shutout of then-No. 23 Long Beach State and a 2-1 victory over San Diego. In 2015, Andrews and Mills became the seventh and eighth Trojans all-time to earn NSCAA All-America honors, being named to the second team after earning First Team NSCAA All-Pacific Region. Freeman was named to the All-Pacific Region Second Team.
TRANSFER HELP- Junior forward Alex Anthony, a talented student-athlete, finished her Maryland undergraduate degree, a double major in sociology and psychology in just three years with a 3.895 GPA in Spring 2015. She was a member of the Dean’s List from fall 2013 through spring 2016 and was named a senior scholar and senior marshal in the UMD College of Behavioral Social Sciences. Athletically, after redshirting her true freshman season in 2013, she appeared in seven games and scored two goals and assisted on another in 2014, before blossoming as one of the Big Ten’s most dangerous goal scorers in 2015. In her sophomore season last fall, she started all 19 games for the Terrapins, finishing tied for second in the Big Ten with 10 goals scored. A Littleton, Colo., native, Anthony broke the school single-season record and led the Big Ten with 91 shots in 2015. Anthony also added two assists to finish tied for second in the conference with 22 points.
Sophomore forward Leah Pruitt is a talented forward who earned 2015 Mountain West Freshman of the Year honors last fall, along with being named to the All-Mountain West First Team. She started all 18 games for the Aztecs as a true freshman, leading the team with 10 goals, nine assists, 29 points, five game-winners and 62 shots. 41.9 percent of her shots were on target, which was the second-best number among Aztecs with at least 10 shot attempts. To end her outstanding season she scored in four of her last five contests. Pruitt is a native of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., and is a 2015 graduate of Alta Loma HS.
SUCCESS IN THE CLASSROOM- 11 Trojans earned Pac-12 All-Academic honors, headlined by Nicole Molen, who earned first team honors with a 3.94 GPA as a human biology major. She also earned CoSIDA All-Academic District VIII First Team honors. Moriah Earley, who was a Pac-12 All-Academic Second Team selection, earned CoSIDA District VIII Second Team honors, along with Sammy Jo Prudhomme, who was a Pac-12 All-Academic honorable mention selection with a 3.44 GPA as a communications major. Returners Sydney Sladek and Kayla Mills both earned honorable mention nods, with a 3.23 GPA (undecided) and a 3.13 GPA (communications), respectively.