Women's Soccer
    USC Takes First Pac-12 Trip To Utah and Colorado

    Colorado native Brittany Kerridge plays close to home this weekend.

    Oct. 25, 2011

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    The USC women's soccer team sets off on its first Pac-12 road trip to the mountain schools this week. The Trojans (6-11-0, 3-5-0 Pac-12) take a three-game win streak into a new time zone, first visiting Utah (8-8-1, 4-4-0) for a night game in Salt Lake City on Friday (Oct. 28) at 7 p.m. MT. Next it'll be a trip to Boulder, Colo., for a clash with Colorado (4-10-2, 1-6-1) at 1 p.m. MT on Sunday (Oct. 30) as the Women of Troy continues their push to finish the season with a winning conference record.

    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. Colorado and Utah also are unranked.

    The Utes are 8-8-1 overall and 4-4-0 in Pac-12 play after losing 4-0 to No. 1 Stanford and 2-0 to Cal last week. Erin Dalley leads Utah in scoring with five goals and two assists, and goalkeeper Hannah Turpen has 54 saves and 22 goals against in 16 games. Rich Manning is in his 10th season as head coach of the Utes, who went 5-15-1 overall last season and were 3-3-1 in their final season in the Mountain West Conference. USC is 3-0 all-time against the Utes, last facing in 2000 when the Trojans claimed a 4-1 win over Utah in Salt Lake City.

    The Buffaloes are 4-10-2 overall and 1-6-1 in Pac-12 play after getting their first Pac-12 win with a 1-0 victory over California last week and then falling 4-1 to No. 1 Stanford. Anne Stuller and Kate Russell are Colorado's top scorers with four goals and an assist apiece. Goalkeeper Kayla Millar played in the last two games for the Buffs, gathering 14 saves with four goals against in her four total appearances this year. Bill Hempen is in his 11th season as head coach of the Buffs, who went 8-9-3 overall last season and finished 4-5-1 in their last season in the Big 12 Conference. USC is 2-0 all-time against Colorado, first meeting in 1999 and last in 2005 when USC claimed a 2-0 win over the Buffs at McAlister Field. This will be USC's first-ever trip to Boulder, Colo.

    USC finally tallied its first winning weekend of the year and secured its first home victories as well as the Trojans edged Arizona State 2-1 in overtime and beat Arizona 1-0 on Senior Day at McAlister Field last week. Over the weekend, the Trojans were again anchored by a strong performance in goal by freshman Carley Pennington and her back line of Autumn Altamirano, Samantha Johnson, Kristina Noriega and Chelsea Buehning, who helped lock in on USC's second shutout win of the year with the 1-0 victory over Arizona. The USC offensive unit, meanwhile, matched a season high of 18 shots, with Elizabeth Eddy breaking through in the 60th minute when Claire Schloemer nabbed a takeaway around midfield and sent up a nice long ball for a sprinting Eddy on the right side for her fourth goal of the year, giving her the goals lead on the team, and marking her second game-winner of the year, which also is a team high for 2011. On Friday vs. ASU, Ashli Sandoval got USC a late 1-0 lead with her first goal of the year on a header in the 83rd minute off a corner from Brittany Kerridge, but the Sun Devils put a dramatic twist on things with an equalizer with 38 seconds left in regulation to force OT. As the 95th minute approached, Eddy pushed the ball over to Sandoval, who slipped a pass to Schloemer for a powerful drive from about 18 yards out, rattling the back of the net and registering the senior's second career goal and first game-winner in giving USC the 2-1 overtime win at McAlister Field.

    USC broke out of a rough skid 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 on Oct. 14. 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 (24), No. 8 in career game-winning goals (5), No. 10 in career points (54) and No. 10 in career goals (15). 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 has jumped up to join Sandoval on the assists ladder with her seventh assist of the year to hold 13 career assists and take a spot at No. 8 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 currently sits eighth in the Pac-12 standings at 3-5-0. USC's lowest conference finish was in 2004 with a 3-6-0 record in the Pac-10. That year also was the last time the Trojans missed an appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

    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 again on the board, while Eddy leads the group with four goals and senior Brittany Kerridge has had a career season, boasting three goals and seven assists so far.

    Three Trojan newcomers have 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.