Women's Soccer Opens Up Pac-10 Play
October 6, 1998
LOS ANGELES - The USC women's soccer team (6-4-1), led by coach Jim Millinder and coming off two of its better efforts of the season, begins Pacific-10 Conference play this weekend with a road trip to the Washington schools. The Women of Troy visit Washington State (2-6-2) in Pullman, Wash., on Friday (Oct. 9) for a 3 p.m. match, then travel to Seattle to face Washington (4-5-1) on Sunday (Oct. 11) at noon.
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 - Washington State (2-6-2) has lost its last four games. Sophomore forward Deka DeWitt leads the Pac-10 with 20 points (on 10 goals). The Women of Troy are 3-0 all-time against the Cougars, though this is their first trip to Pullman ... Washington (4-5-1 hosts UCLA on Friday) is led by sophomore midfielder Tami Bennett's eight points. Freshman forward Caroline Putz has seven points and senior midfielder (and former USC player) Erin Bailey has six points. The Women of Troy are 2-1 all-time against the Huskies and won 4-1 last season at the Coliseum. USC is 0-1 in Seattle.
LAST WEEK - USC bounced back from a pair of disappointing results to win twice convincingly last week. USC defeated Cal State Fullerton, 3-1, on Thursday (Oct. 1) and UC Irvine, 3-0, on Sunday (Oct. 4), with both games on the road. Isabelle Harvey had a goal and an assist in each game and Kim Clark had a goal in each contest. Shaelyn Fernandes made her first career start in goal against the Titans and had six saves and Karin Puccinelli made nine saves in the shutout against the Anteaters, including a block of a penalty shot in the final minutes.
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 14 points (tied for first on USC and tied for fourth in the Pac-10) on six goals (first on USC and tied for fourth in the Pac-10) and two assists 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 14 points (tied for first on USC and tied for fourth in the Pac-10) on five goals (tied for seventh in the Pac-10) and four assists (tied for first on USC and tied for third in the Pac-10). She has three game-winning goals. Isabelle had two goals against Towson, two assists against Fresno State and a goal and an assist against both Cal State Fullerton and UC Irvine. She made the Soccer America Team of the Week for scoring the game-winner against No. 18 Baylor. After leading the Pac-10 in scoring as a 1996 freshman, Isabelle redshirted the 1997 season with a torn ACL. Now, she is again 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 (32) and points (75) leader, is an excellent scorer who has six points (two goals 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. Courtney missed the last two games with a sprained ankle.
OFFENSIVE NOTES - After scoring only 11 goals through the first nine games, USC scored six goals in its last two games to raise its scoring average to 1.6 goals a game. That's still down from an average of 3.1 last season. Injuries, and at times a lack of production, have forced several changes in the lineup. In addition to Barham, Clark and Harvey, other key offensive players include sophomore midfielder Andrea Warner (Dana Point/Dana Hills HS), senior midfielder Carol Hatcher (Kapolei, HI/Kalani HS) and senior midfielder Erica De Vitis (Coto de Caza/Santa Margarita HS). Warner has five points, including two game-winning goals. Hatcher has four assists (tied for first on USC and tied for third in the Pac-10). De Vitis has a goal and two assists. Senior midfielder Karen Norgaard (Encinitas/University City HS), freshman midfielder Brittany Savelkoul (Seal Beach/Los Alamitos HS) and sophomore midfielder Ami Aylor (Lake Forest/Santa Margarita HS) have seen a solid amount of time as well.
DEFENSIVE NOTES - USC is giving up an average of 1.1 goals a game, a bit better than the 1.2 average of last season. The Women of Troy have five shutouts this season (they had six in 1997). 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's joined in the starting lineup by junior sweeper Christina Kushnir (San Diego/Bishop's HS) and sophomore defensive midfielder Katie Ticehurst (Los Alamitos/Mater Dei HS). Sophomore Megan Orach (Huntington Beach/Marina HS) and freshman Erin Reed (Alamo/San Ramon Valley HS) are candidates to start at the other defender spot, with the other taking a more offensive role. Sophomore Susie Mora (Mission Viejo/Santa Margarita), a member of the Mexican National Team, is a key player off the bench.
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 21-8-1. She is 5-4-1 in 1998 with a 1.119 goals-against average (third in the Pac-10) and 44 saves (fifth in the Pac-10). Fernandes has played in two games (a total of 135 minutes) and has eight saves and one goal 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 - Now in his third season as USC's head coach, Jim Millinder has turned Troy into a budding national power. He has a three-year record of 37-12-2 (.745) with USC and a five-year overall mark of 45-39-6 (.533). 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.
INJURIES - USC's sideline has looked like a M.A.S.H. unit at times this season. Freshman defender Kim Abbamonto (Mission Viejo/Capistrano Valley HS), one of the top prep recruits in Southern California, has yet to see action due to a hip and lower back problem and she will likely redshirt. Junior forward Kaylee Whitfield (Santa Ana/El Modena HS), attempting to come back from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee, tore the ACL in her left knee against San Diego State and was lost for the season. Courtney Barham was one of four players that left the Loyola Marymount game with injuries. The other three have since returned, but Barham missed the last two games after re-spraining an ankle. She is questionable for this weekend.
COACH MILLINDER SAYS - "Now that we're starting the Pac-10 season, we have to be more focused and determined than ever. We had two strong results last weekend and we need to carry that kind of effort into our conference matches. Every game is important and we must get off to a good start this weekend."