Women's Soccer
    USC Closes Home Stand With ASU, Arizona

    2007 NCAA Champion Ashli Sandoval wraps up her fifth season at McAlister this weekend.

    Oct. 18, 2011


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    The USC women's soccer team wraps up its home season this weekend with a pair of Pac-12 matches at McAlister Field. The Trojans (4-11-0, 1-5-0 Pac-12) are aiming to tack two home victories onto their 2011 record for this final stretch of regular-season action. USC will first face Arizona State (6-8-0, 2-4-0) at 3 p.m. on Friday (Oct. 21) before hosting Arizona (1-11-2, 1-4-1) at 1 p.m. on Sunday (Oct. 23). Sunday's game will be preceded by a Senior Day ceremony to honor the Trojans' five graduating seniors: Carly Butcher, Ashley Freyer, Brittany Kerridge, Ashli Sandoval and Claire Schloemer.

    The first 250 students will receive a coupon for a free taco from the Don Chow Taco Truck at Friday's game. The Women of Troy will be wearing pink wristbands in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness on Friday.

    Sunday is Fan Appreciation Day at McAlister Field, with free admission for all. The first 500 fans will receive a free slice of pizza, and all fans will receive a raffle ticket for prizes to be given away at halftime.

    Live stats will be available for this weekend's matches. Click on the Gametracker link for each game on the USC soccer schedule page at usctrojans.com.

    USC opened the year ranked No. 25 in both the NSCAA and Soccer America preseason polls, but dropped out of the polls after opening losses. Arizona State and Arizona also are unranked.

    The Sun Devils are 6-8-0 overall and 2-4-0 in Pac-12 play after a 3-1 loss to Stanford last week. Sierra Cook and Alexandra Doller lead ASU in scoring with five goals each. Goalkeeper Alyssa Gillmore has 43 saves and 18 goals against in her 14 appearances. Kevin Boyd is in his fifth season as head coach of the Sun Devils, who went 9-8-3 overall last season after a 3-5-1 Pac-10 mark and a trip to the NCAA First Round. USC is 11-4 all-time against ASU after a 3-0 loss to the Sun Devils last season in Tempe, Ariz.

    The Wildcats are 1-11-2 overall and 1-4-1 in Pac-12 play after a 1-0 overtime loss to Cal last week. Arizona's six goals this season have been scored by six different players, while goalkeeper Ashley Jett has made 66 saves with 26 goals against in her 14 appearances. Lisa Oyen is in her second season as head coach of the Wildcats, who went 5-13-2 overall with a 1-8 Pac-10 finish last season. USC is 13-3-1 all-time against Arizona with an unbeaten run of six straight games including wins in the past four meetings, including a 5-0 victory last season in Tucson, Ariz.

    USC broke out of a slump with the Trojans' first shutout win of the year on Elizabeth Eddy's first career game-winning goal as USC edged out host Washington 1-0. The win snapped eight straight losses taken by the Trojans, ringing up USC's first Pac-12 win of the season. In the fifth minute of play, Brittany Kerridge served up a ball that Eddy finished off for an early 1-0 USC advantage. The assist was Kerridge's sixth assist of the year and 12th of her career, moving the senior up to rank No. 10 all-time at USC in career assists. For Eddy, the goal marked her third of the year, but it wasn't until 85 minutes later that her score stood tall as the game-winner -- the first of her career. The Trojans held strong against the Huskies the rest of the way, gripping that early goal and holding it up for the win in spite of a Washington offense that out-shot USC 12-8 in the game. Freshman goalkeeper Carley Pennington went the distance for the Trojans in her collegiate debut, hauling in two saves to anchor a much-needed win for the Women of Troy and notching the team's first defensive shutout of the year.

    Samantha Johnson drilled a historic goal for the Trojans when Haley Boysen sent in a centering pass from the left sideline against WSU on Sept. 25. Charging into the box, Johnson headed the ball through, rattling the back of the net as the Women of Troy got a 1-0 lift just 14 seconds into the action at McAlister Field. The goal marked a new school record for the quickest goal in a game, shaving two seconds off the previous record set in 2005 by Tracy Lansing at the 16-second mark. In USC history, the Trojans now have scored in the opening minute of play five times (2011, 2005, 2003, 1998, 1997).

    While USC's home turf has been a difficult stage for the Trojans, the Women of Troy have grabbed some important wins on the road. In the first weekend of September, USC turned an early-season slump into a three-game winning streak after a victorious weekend run through out-of-state competition. In a big matchup at No. 17 Illinois, USC put together an offensive onslaught that rang up a 3-1 victory, with a 17th minute goal from Ashley Freyer leading into two second-half strikes by the Trojans. Haley Boysen scored on a Brittany Kerridge assist in the 57th minute, and Kerridge converted on a penalty kick in the 66th to put USC ahead 3-0 for some padding. A 74th minute score by the Illini put the game-winner as Boysen's blast, and USC had some momentum to carry them across the state lines. On Sunday, the Trojans fought out of a halftime hole to claim an overtime victory over host Purdue, thanks to an equalizer from Elizabeth Eddy and the game-winner from Courtney Garcia in OT. Goalie Shelby Church had another six-save outing for the Trojans, rounding out a strong weekend in goal for the USC sophomore. Both games were a part of the Illini/Boilermaker Cup, and four Women of Troy earned All-Tournament Team honors on the successful road trip: Brittany Kerridge, Shelby Church, Carly Butcher and Ashley Freyer. For her two-assist, one-goal effort on the weekend, Kerridge was named to the Soccer America Team of the Week and as one of CollegeSoccer360.com's Primetime Performers of the Week.

    In spite of interruptions from injuries, USC redshirt senior Ashli Sandoval has already locked in on the USC career leader boards. Now closing down her final season with the Trojans, the 2007 NCAA Champion follows up her call-up to the Mexican National Team's summer training camp with one last push to the top of the lists at Troy. Sandoval has a hold with the No. 4 all-time mark in career assists (23), No. 8 in career game-winning goals (5), No. 10 in career points (51) and No. 10 in career goals (14). Sandoval has been joined on the game-winning goal board by junior Courtney Garcia, who tallied her fifth game-winner in USC's overtime win at Purdue on Sept. 4. Meanwhile, senior Brittany Kerridge just jumped up to join Sandoval on the assists ladder with her sixth assist of the year to hold 12 career assists and take a spot at No. 10 all-time at USC.

    USC's seven losses sustained at McAlister Field marks the most losses taken by the Trojans on that field and overall at home. USC's only other under-.500 season was in 1993 when the Trojans finished 2-15-2 overall. USC's only other winless start to conference play was in 2006 when the Trojans opened up at 0-1-2.

    USC has three players sidelined for the season with ACL injuries. Sophomore defender Mia Bruno suffered a tear during the spring; freshman defender Heather Davis was injured during high school; and redshirt sophomore Morgan Morrow sustained another season-ending injury in early September.

    USC went 13-6-3 overall last season after a third-place finish in the Pac-10 with a 5-3-1 mark. The Trojans reached the NCAA Tournament for the sixth straight season, beating Illinois 3-1 in the first round before falling 4-0 to eventual NCAA champion Notre Dame. Ashli Sandoval was USC's top scorer with six goals -- including three game-winners -- while Autumn Altamirano and Elizabeth Eddy each added five goals. Karter Haug was USC's assists leader with six assists, and Shelby Church was USC's goalkeeper of record in all games as she hauled in 82 saves with 25 goals against. Pac-10 honors went to seniors Haug and Megan Ohai on the Second Team and Alyssa Dávila with honorable mention along with Sandoval. Eddy was named to the Pac-10 All-Freshman Team.

    Five of USC's top seven scorers in 2010 were either freshmen or sophomores. That sure-footed unit returns for 2011, along with leading scorer Ashli Sandoval, who provided six goals in 2010 after being sidelined in 2009 with an ACL injury. As freshmen, Autumn Altamirano, Haley Boysen and Elizabeth Eddy accounted for a third of USC's goal-scoring in 2010. Now sophomores with some extra savvy, that trio combines forces with Sandoval, senior Ashley Freyer and juniors Courtney Garcia and Samantha Johnson as the Trojans bring back seven of their top eight scorers. Thirteen different Women of Troy got to the back of the net to tally 39 goals in 2010. Now, deep into 2011, six of those 2010 scorers are already on the board, while Brittany Kerridge has blasted to the front of the pack with a career season, boasting three goals and six assists so far.

    Three Trojan newcomers have already made their marks on the offensive end this season. Transfers Kristina Noriega and Erica Vangsness have each scored goals, and true freshman Jessica Musmanno has served up an assist for the Trojans. Noriega and Musmanno have both appeared in the starting lineup as well, with Noriega a full-time starter on the back line, and Musmanno holding five starts for the Trojans.

    USC head coach Ali Khosroshahin finished up his 10th season of collegiate head coaching after the 2010 season. It's a milestone that he admits came faster than he expected, but there's no doubt that he squeezed a lot of shining moments into his first decade. In his first four seasons at the helm of the Women of Troy, he continued his streak of NCAA appearances (2005 and 2006 at Cal State Fullerton; 2007-present at USC) and picked up a national championship along the way. Khosroshahin and the Trojans won the 2007 NCAA title in his first season at Troy, making USC the first and only Pac-12 school to ever win a women's soccer national championship. The 2007 National Coach of the Year, Khosroshahin takes a 61-20-10 (.725) overall record at USC and 137-60-16 (.681) career record into this first season of his next decade of collegiate coaching.