Trojans Set For Home Opener Against San Diego on Friday|
Sept. 9, 2015
SCOUTING SAN DIEGO The Trojans are 8-6-2 all-time vs. the Toreros. Last year in San Diego the two squads played to a 1-1 draw. The Trojans are 2-3-1 at McAlister Field all-time and have lost the last two contests (2012, 2011).
SCOUTING LONG BEACH STATE The Trojans are 3-1 all-time vs. the 49ers. The Trojans defeated LBSU 1-0 last fall at the USC Tournament in San Diego. The one loss came at McAlister Field 2-1 in 2011.
HOME OPENERS The Trojans are 3-2 in their last five home openers. The last loss was in 2011 when Long Beach State bested the Trojans in a home opener, 1-0. They are 13-9-1 all-time in home openers.
FINDING THE BACK OF THE NET The Trojans are looking to find the back of the net more consistently, as the high-powered offense scored 42 goals last season, but only four over five games on the year. Two true freshmen, Hailey Hite and Mckenzie Taylor each have one goal, game winners vs. Texas Tech and UC Riverside, respectively. Sophomores Sydney Johnson netted a goal vs. UC Riverside, while Sydney Sladek collected the lone goal at the Duke Nike Classic last weekend.
LAST WEEK AT DUKE NIKE CLASSIC The Trojans played well against then-No. 18 Duke and then-No. 4 North Carolina, but continued to struggle finishing offensive chances in their offensive third. Against Duke, the Trojans outshot the Blue Devils, 11-7 and forced their keeper to make seven saves. The Blue Devils scored in the 8th minute off a missed clearance by usually sure-footed keeper Sammy Jo Prudhomme. Against UNC, the Trojans had a 1-0 lead off a 10th minute goal from Sydney Sladek (assist Nicole Molen). UNC proved to have a deeper bench than the Trojans, as the game-winning goal came in the 67th minute from substitute Sarah Ashley Firstenberg.
RANDLE DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK Dominique Randle led a staunch Trojan defense that held two top-15 teams scoreless for 172 minutes at the NM Lobos Invitational, Aug. 21-23. The Trojans, who went 1-1 on the weekend, shut out then-No. 13 Texas Tech, allowing them only six shots in the match and shored up the defense even tighter in the second half, not allowing a corner kick to the dangerous Red Raiders to go on and win their first match of the season, 1-0. Then against the reigning national champions and current No. 1 Florida State, Randle and her defense held the Seminoles scoreless for 82 minutes, thwarting multiple attacks. The Seminoles were only allowed nine shots and just four on goal through 90 minutes. They finally broke through in the 83rd minute with the eventual game-winning goal, but that was the only goal Randle and the Trojans gave up through two tough matches. This is Randle’s first career Defensive Player of the Week nod and the second all-time for the Trojans, as Whitney Pitalo earned the honor last season. She was also named to the College Soccer 360 Primetime Players of the Week.
ONE MOMENT ONE NOW The Trojans’ theme this year is “One Moment, One Now.” Coach McAlpine is encouraging the team to have the mindset of focusing on one game at a time, staying within the moment and focusing on the task at hand. Also written as the #1M1N, “I’m In,” it reminds all the student-athletes to buy in and be a part of the mentality.
THIS YEAR’S MIX Consistency is key to this year’s group, which returns nine starters from last season and adds strong reinforcements in college transfers Sammy Jo Prudhomme, Morgan Andrews and Amanda Rooney. Six true freshmen also join the fold of 20 returners, led by impact defender Ally Prisock.
IN GOAL Trojan fans will see a new goalkeeper in 2015, as three-year starter Caroline Stanley graduated and is currently competing for the Seattle Reign of the National Women’s Soccer League. Fortunately, the Trojans have a good one waiting in the wings, as redshirt junior Sammy Jo Prudhomme has patiently sat out the last season after transferring within conference from Oregon State last year. Prudomme, a Pac-12 All-Freshman team honoree in 2012 made 188 saves for the Beavers in just two seasons. Senior Faith Sugerman and sophomore Julia Murphy round out the goalkeeping core and the group has had competitive sessions all camp.
THE DEFENSE The Trojans return the entire back line with Whitney Pitalo, Dominique Randle and the highly-decorated Kayla Mills, who earned All-Pac-12 and NSCAA West Region honors in 2014, as well as being named the No. 15 player nationally by TopDrawerSoccer. Joining the strong core is freshman Ally Prisock, who entered school a semester early and was able to hit the ground running this fall. Redshirt freshman Abigail Callahan also adds more depth in the back, along with U.S. Youth National team alum Mandy Freeman, who is being transitioned to the midfield, but can still play in the back.
THE MIDFIELD Mandy Freeman will anchor the midfield, along with highly-touted transfers Morgan Andrews (Notre Dame) and Amanda Rooney (North Carolina). Returning veterans Erin Owen, Jamie Fink and Dana Schwartz, along with rising sophomore Nicole Molen provide an outstanding midfield for Troy.
THE FORWARDS One big hole that the Trojans will have to fill is the loss of 2014 leading scorer Alex Quincey’s 10 goals. Fink was tied for second on the team with six goals and McAlpine hopes she can find the back of the net more often this season. Those joining Fink at striker this season to fill the void left by Quincey are redshirt junior Reilly Parker, seniors Tamara Mejia and Natalie Donaldson, sophomore Sydney Sladek and freshman Olga Langenskiöld.
TUNE IN TO THE TROJANS USC’s 2015 schedule features eight televised games for the Women of Troy. The team will play four games at home and four on the road on the Pac-12 Networks.
AROD A WORLD CUP CHAMPION USC’s Amy Rodriguez started collecting championship hardware as a Trojan, her winning efforts spanning the 2007 NCAA Championship with USC before stepping onto the Olympic gold-medal podium in Beijing and London with Team USA. She also won the NWSL title in 2014. Now, Rodriguez and her fellow U.S. National Team members have given the U.S. its third star, as the team won the 2015 World Cup in Vancouver, Can. Rodriguez made her first start in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup against China in the quarterfinals after seeing her first 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup action against Sweden on June 12, 2015.
SUCCESS IN THE CLASSROOM A program record number of USC women’s soccer players earned Pac-12 All-Academic honors in 2014. The Trojans had one player earn placement on the Pac-12 All-Academic Second Team, while 11 others earned honorable mention. The program’s 12 selections tied just Washington for the most out of any team in the conference. Moriah Earley led the group by receiving Pac-12 All-Academic Second Team honors. 2014 senior Jessica Musmanno earned her third All-Academic Honorable Mention, while senior Alex Quincey and then-juniors Megan Borman, Jamie Fink, Katie Johnson, Erin Owen and Whitney Pitalo became two-time honorees as Honorable Mentions. Then-juniors Natalie Donaldson and Tamara Mejia, and then-sophomores Savannah Levin and Kayla Mills were all recognized as Trojan academic standouts.