After five straight OT games, Trojans look to snap a four-game winless stretch this week.
Oct. 9, 2012
USC Soccer Release
The USC women's soccer team will visit its third new state of the season this week when the Trojans (4-6-3, 1-2-2 Pac-12) head to Pullman, Wash., for a clash with Washington State. USC has played a program record five consecutive overtime games now -- all in Pac-12 play -- and are also looking to snap a a four-game winless slump. USC goes for Pac-12 victory in a 1 p.m. match at Washington State (8-4-1, 2-2-1) on Friday (Oct. 12) in a match to be televised on Pac-12 Networks.
THE LAST MEETING
September 25, 2011
Early Goal, Late Loss For Trojans
USC set a new school record with the fastest goal scored in program history, but it wasn't enough for the Trojan women's soccer team to hold on against visiting Washington State in the teams' Pac-12 opener. Samantha Johnson struck for the Women of Troy on an assist from Haley Boysen just 14 seconds into the game, only to see the Cougars stabilize in the second half and hand the Trojans' their fifth home loss of the year with a late WSU goal. The 2-1 loss puts the Trojans on a four-match losing skid, taking them to 3-7-0 overall and an 0-1 start to conference play. Washington State goes to 7-3-1, 1-0 with the Pac-12 win at McAlister Field.
Friday's match at Washington State will be regionally televised live by Pac-12 Networks with play-by-play from Jim Watson and analysis from Leslie Osborne. Live stats will be available online. Click on the Gametracker link on the USC soccer schedule page at usctrojans.com
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USC is not ranked in the current 2012 NSCAA poll. Washington State also is unranked.
The Cougars are 8-4-1 overall and 2-2-1 in Pac-12 play after losing 1-0 to ASU and beating Arizona 3-0 last week. Micaela Castain leads WSU in scoring with eight goals, including four game-winners. Goalkeeper Gurveen Clair has made 32 saves with 11 goals allowed in 12 appearances. USC is 9-6-3 all-time against the Cougars after a 2-1 loss last season in Pullman.
In another road trip for the Trojans, USC got stuck in two more overtime games to extend a run of OT play to five matches in a row. The Trojans were the aggressors in Friday's match at Oregon State and finally broke through with Jamie Fink's first career goal in the 71st minute. USC's luck would change soon after, however, with an own goal off a USC defender leveling the score 1-1 in the 74th minute. Despite some strong attacks, USC came up empty in another double overtime run, finishing with its second straight 1-1 tie. Two days later at Oregon, the Trojans were without two players who had been hurt in Friday's match. That left the USC offense with a little less firepower, and the Trojans were unable to find a goal against the Ducks through regulation. In the first overtime, Oregon got the lucky break with a 96th minute score after a shot off the crossbar fell within reach of a Duck striker. That left USC winless for a fourth straight game. USC goalkeeper Caroline Stanley and the Trojan defense put up a strong stand in both matches, as Stanley finished with 10 saves at OSU and nine at Oregon.
Outside of two lopsided 4-1 games earlier in the year, USC has played one-goal games or ties in every match, and much of the deciding action has come in the final 20 minutes of play. Samantha Johnson has provided last-second heroics with two winners -- a 90th minute winner at San Diego and a 100th minute OT winner vs. Washington. USC suffered 70th minute goals to Duke and San Diego, and a 69th minute losing strike by Portland, with more recent daggers coming in a 101st minute OT goal by ASU with USC playing two players down and a 95th minute golden goal by Oregon. USC has also been the producers of some more positive late-game drama with clutch equalizers from Elizabeth Eddy (86th minute in an eventual win at San Diego), Autumn Altamirano (89th minute to tie ASU in the eventual OT loss) and Samantha Johnson (74th minute to tie Cal State Northridge in what would finish as an overtime draw). The Trojans also gave up an 88th minute game-tying goal at Arizona and fell prey to a 73rd minute own goal for a tie at OSU. In all, USC and its opponents have each tallied 15 goals in the second half of play. In the final 20 minutes of regulation, the Trojans are also even with opponents with eight goals scored each, and USC has scored once and and given up two overtime goals.
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, as USC has done in 2012. 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 was a marked shift from the 2011 campaign. Through their first three games of 2012, the Trojans had already matched their scoring output from their first eight games of 2011. That increased scoring pace now has USC with 23 goals scored to date this year, bettering its entire season total from 2011.
USC has lined up with no fewer than five newcomers in the starting lineup in every game of 2012, and all but seven of USC's 23 goals scored to date has come from a new Trojan foot -- seven of those true freshmen. Freshmen Megan Borman and Katie Johnson and transfer Alex Quincey have notched two-goal games so far in their first year as Trojans. 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. On the starting blocks, USC freshmen Jamie Fink and Katie Johnson have started all 13 games. Transfer Jordan Marada has done the same, and leads the team to date in points with three goals and five assists. Freshman defender Erin Owen has been tabbed for 12 starts, as has goalkeeper Stanley. In all, USC has utilized nine different starting lineups in its 12 games to date.
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 started her first three games as a Trojan. That height has had either a head or a foot in scoring or setting up 12 of USC's 23 goals to date. Borman, Johnson and Quincey have already made their mark as the only players to put in a two-goal performance to date. Borman notched her pair in USC's 4-1 win over Saint Mary's in the Aug. 24 home opener; Johnson slotted two on Sept. 16 in a 3-2 loss to No. 19 Portland; and Quincey went back-to-back for the Trojan in a 5-4 OT loss at ASU on Sept. 28.
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. With four goals to date -- including dramatic game-winners at San Diego on Sept. 14 and vs. Washington on Sept. 21 -- Johnson has bumped up her career tally to 14 as she works on climbing up the USC career charts.
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 seniors Kristina Noriega and Samantha Johnson and junior Haley Boysen back as multiple-goal scorers in 2011. Johnson leads the pack of returners with a team-high four goals to date, including two game-winners, and Boysen and Eddy also have scored a goal each for the Trojans this year.
The 2012 USC roster is 34 players strong. Twenty of those are wearing Cardinal and Gold for the first time, and every last one of them aims to make a lasting impression. So if strength in numbers means anything at all, the Women of Troy are 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 a healthy glow for 2012.
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.
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.