Women's Soccer Hosts Fila Challenge with UCLA
September 15, 1998
THIS WEEK - The USC women's soccer team (2-2), led by coach Jim Millinder, will host the Fila Challenge this weekend along with UCLA. All four participating teams have been nationally ranked this season. The first of two doubleheaders takes place on Friday (Sept. 18), when UCLA's Spaulding Field has USC and Baylor (5-0) at 6 p.m., then UCLA (4-1) and Nebraska (2-1) at 8 p.m. The venue shifts to the Coliseum on Sunday (Sept. 20), when UCLA and Baylor play at 11 a.m., followed by USC and Nebraska at 1 p.m.
NEWS & NOTES - USC is unranked this week after appearing as high as No. 19 in the preseason polls (Soccer Buzz) ... Soccer America chose the Nov. 1 USC-UCLA contest at the Coliseum as one of its top five games to watch this season ... Soccer Buzz chose Kim Clark as its preseason Pac-10 Player of the Year ... USC's 31 wins over the 1996 and 1997 seasons were more than any other Pac-10 team ... USC is coming off its best-ever season with a 16-3-1 record in 1997, and went 7-2 in the Pac-10 for second place.
OPPONENTS - Baylor (5-0, ranked No. 18 in Soccer America) has outscored its opponents 19-4 in its first five games, with seven coming off the foot of junior forward Courtney Saunders. She has a team-high total of 16 points. Sophomore goalkeeper Dawn Greathouse has a goals-against average of 0.863. USC and Baylor are meeting for the first time ... Nebraska (2-1, ranked No. 11 in Soccer America) is coming off two victories over ranked teams: 4-1 over Clemson and 3-0 over Stanford. The Cornhuskers are led by senior forward Kim Engesser, who led the nation in goals in 1997 and has four goals and a total of 10 points so far in 1998. USC and Nebraska are 1-1 all-time, with the Cornhuskers winning last season in Lincoln, Neb., 2-1. The Women of Troy won the first meeting in Los Angeles, 4-0, in 1995.
LAST WEEK - The Women of Troy split a pair of matches back east at the Puma Invitational hosted by Maryland. The host Terrapins earned a 3-0 victory last Friday (Sept. 11). It was the largest margin of defeat for USC since the end of the 1995 season. After falling behind 2-0 in the first 19 minutes, the Women of Troy put together a strong effort but couldn't find the back of the net. USC then came back to defeat Towson, 4-0, on Sunday (Sept. 13) behind two goals each from Kim Clark and Isabelle Harvey. Goalkeepers Karin Puccinelli and Shaelyn Fernandes each played a half to share the shutout, and USC had a 22-5 shot advantage.
NATIONAL TEAM NEWS - Assuming she keeps playing with the Canadian National Team, Isabelle Harvey will take part in the 1999 Women's World Cup, to be hosted next summer by the United States. Harvey, a native of Quebec, was part of the Canadian team that won the CONCACAF qualifying tournament in early September ... Susie Mora also still has a chance to play in the World Cup with Mexico (she was born in Santa Ana, Calif.; her parents were born in Mexico). The Mexicans finished second at the CONCACAF qualifying tournament and next face Argentina in a two-game series with a World Cup bid on the line ... Meghan Reppe was called up to the U.S. National B team in August but has not yet played in a game.
KIM CLARK - One of the top players in the nation, senior midfielder/forward Kim Clark (Cupertino/Monta Vista HS) is one of the focal points of USC's attack once again. A quick and creative player, she has a team-high seven points (three goals and one assist) in 1998. She had two goals against Towson and a goal and an assist against Pepperdine. Her school-record 12-game scoring streak ended in the opener against San Diego State. She earned All-American third team status in 1997 and led the West Region with 17 assists. Kim also plays basketball for the Women of Troy (along with her twin sister, Kristin).
ISABELLE HARVEY - Sophomore midfielder/forward Isabelle Harvey (Quebec, Canada) is back at full strength after a serious knee injury. A player with outstanding technical skills, she has four points (two goals against Towson). After leading the Pac-10 in scoring as a 1996 freshman, Isabelle redshirted the 1997 season with a torn ACL. Now, she should again be one of the region's (if not one of the country's) top players. She is also a member of the Canadian National Team.
COURTNEY BARHAM - Senior forward Courtney Barham (Olivenhain/San Dieguito HS), USC's career goals (31) and points (73) leader, is an excellent scorer who has four points (one goal and two assists) in 1998. She had a goal and an assist against Pepperdine. She is the Pac-10's top returning goal scorer with 14 in 1997. Barham, one of Troy's quickest players, made the All-West Region third team and All-Pac-10 first team last season.
FORWARDS - Barham is joined up front by sophomore Megan Orach (Huntington Beach/Marina HS), who has one assist in 1998. She scored eight goals in 1997 as a freshman. Other possibilities at forward include Harvey, Clark and several freshmen. Junior Kaylee Whitfield (Santa Ana/El Modena HS) will miss the season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee against San Diego State. She was attempting to make an amazing comeback after having ACL surgery on her right knee last March.
MIDFIELDERS - USC could employ several different combinations at midfield, depending on who is playing at forward, as Clark and Harvey could be at either position. Clark, senior Carol Hatcher (Kapolei, HI/Kalani HS) and sophomore Andrea Warner (Dana Point/Dana Hills HS) will rotate at attacking midfielder. Hatcher has one assist. Warner, who started at sweeper last season, has three points (a goal and an assist against Pepperdine). Senior Erica De Vitis (Coto de Caza/Santa Margarita HS) will start one of the wings. She has one assist. Harvey could start on the other flank, though if she moves up front, two others that may see time are sophomore Ami Aylor (Lake Forest/Santa Margarita HS), who has one assist, and freshman Brittany Savelkoul (Seal Beach/Los Alamitos HS). Defensive midfielder will either be handled by sophomore Katie Ticehurst (Los Alamitos/Mater Dei HS), who has one assist, or freshman Erin Reed (Alamo/San Ramon Valley HS).
DEFENDERS - The defense is anchored by senior Meghan Reppe (Orange/Villa Park HS), perhaps one of the quickest players in the nation and a 1997 All-West Region second teamer. She could be joined by the likes of Ticehurst, Reed, junior Christina Kushnir (San Diego/Bishop's HS) and sophomore Susie Mora (Mission Viejo/Santa Margarita). Mora is a member of the Mexican National Team. Freshman Kim Abbamonto (Mission Viejo/Capistrano Valley), the 1997 Orange County High School Player of the Year, is still sidelined by an injury.
GOALKEEPERS - Senior Karin Puccinelli (Cupertino/St. Francis HS) is the starter for now, but she is being pushed by talented freshman Shaelyn Fernandes (San Jose/Presentation HS). Puccinelli was a co-starter the last two years and she has a career record of 18-6-0. She is 2-2 in 1998 with a 1.429 goals-against average and 15 saves. Fernandes played one half against Towson and had two saves with no goals allowed. She had a prep record of 78-4-5 and led her club team, the Central Valley Mercury, to the last three national championships.
HEAD COACH JIM MILLINDER - In his first two seasons as USC's head coach, Jim Millinder turned Troy into a budding national power. He has a three-year record of 33-10-1 (.761) with USC. A former U.S. National Team member who played in the 1982 World Cup, Millinder was named the 1997 West Region Coach of the Year and the 1996 Pac-10 Coach of the Year.
COACH MILLINDER SAYS - This is a very important stretch for us, with matches against outstanding teams in Nebraska and Baylor this weekend and BYU next Tuesday. With the quality of our opposition, it's very important that we get some good results here to help our bid for the NCAA Tournament. It won't be easy, but if everyone comes to play like they're capable of doing, I think we'll have the opportunity to win some matches.