Women's Soccer Hosts UCLA on Sunday
October 27, 1998
LOS ANGELES-- In one of the biggest women's soccer matches of the season, USC (10-6-1 overall, 4-2 in the Pacific-10 Conference), led by coach Jim Millinder, hosts crosstown rival and No. 11 UCLA (15-2-1, 5-1) on Sunday in the Coliseum at 1 p.m. Soccer America chose this contest as one of its top five matches to watch this season. The game has implications for both the Pac-10 title race (UCLA is tied for the lead, USC is only one game back in fourth place) and potential NCAA Tournament bids. It's the final home match of the year for USC, which will honor its seven seniors before the game.
NEWS & NOTES - USC is unranked this week after appearing as high as No. 19 in the preseason polls (Soccer Buzz) ... USC has beaten four ranked teams this season (Baylor, BYU, UC Irvine and Stanford) ... Kim Clark was named one of five "national players to watch" earlier this month by the Missouri Athletic Club, which also released its list of 15 National Player of the Year candidates ... Isabelle Harvey leads the Pac-10 with eight assists ... 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.
OPPONENT - UCLA (15-2-1, 5-1) is tied for the Pac-10 lead along with Washington. The Bruins are ranked No. 11 by Soccer America, No. 13 by Soccer Times and No. 17 by the NSCAA. They have won their last three since falling to California, 2-1, in overtime. Freshman forward Staci Duncan leads the team with 25 points (nine goals and seven assists) and sophomore forward Tracey Milburn (eight goals and two assists) and freshman midfielder Breana Boling (seven goals and four assists) each have 18 points. Junior goalkeeper Lindsay Culp ranks among the nation's leaders with a 0.55 goals-against average. USC is 1-6 all-time against UCLA. In 1996 at the Coliseum, the Women of Troy had their first win over the Bruins, 3-2. Last year, the two teams were both undefeated in Pac-10 play but UCLA came away with a 3-1 win in Westwood.
LAST WEEK - USC put together a pair of dominating efforts and routed Oregon State, 4-1, on Friday (Oct. 23) and Oregon, 4-0, on Sunday (Oct. 25) at the Coliseum. The Women of Troy set school single-game records for shots (37) and corner kicks (16) against the Beavers. The goals were scored by Isabelle Harvey, Courtney Barham, Sharla Chiang (the first of her career) and Carol Hatcher. USC set a school record with its seventh shutout of 1998 against the Ducks. Megan Orach scored two goals, including one in the first minute, and Hatcher and Kim Clark scored the others. Over the two matches, USC had a 61-11 shot advantage and a 21-1 corner kick edge.
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 21 points (first on USC and fourth in the Pac-10) on eight goals (first on USC and tied for seventh in the Pac-10) and five assists (tied for sixth in the Pac-10) in 1998. She had two goals against Towson, a goal and an assist against both Pepperdine and Washington and two assists against California. She has taken over the top spot on the school's career points and assists lists (80 and 26, respectively). Her school-record 12-game scoring streak ended in the opener against San Diego State. Soccer Buzz named her the preseason Pac-10 Player of the Year. 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 20 points (second on USC and tied for fifth in the Pac-10) on six goals and eight assists (first on USC and first in the Pac-10). She has four game-winning goals. Isabelle had two goals against Towson, two assists against both Fresno State and Oregon and a goal and an assist against Cal State Fullerton, UC Irvine and Oregon State. She made the Soccer America Team of the Week for scoring the game-winner against then-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.
MEGHAN REPPE - The heart and soul of USC's defense, senior Meghan Reppe (Orange/Villa Park HS) is one of the quickest players in the nation and a relentless defender. Her contributions don't usually show up in the stats (Reppe has one assist in 1998) but she is typically lined up against the opponent's top threat. She was a 1997 All-West Region second teamer and has been even better in 1998.
COURTNEY BARHAM - Senior forward Courtney Barham (Olivenhain/San Dieguito HS), USC's career goals (33) leader, is an excellent scorer who has three goals and four assists (tied for ninth in the Pac-10), good for 10 points in 1998. She had a goal and an assist against Pepperdine and two assists against Oregon. She is the Pac-10's top returning goal scorer with 14 in 1997. Barham, one of Troy's speediest players, made the All-West Region third team and All-Pac-10 first team last season. Courtney has been hampered by injuries and missed three games with a sprained ankle.
OFFENSIVE NOTES - One of the main reasons for USC's inconsistency has been its inability to put the ball in the back of the net. USC is only averaging 1.8 goals a game, down from an average of 3.1 last season. But that's up from an average of 1.3 five matches ago. USC has been shut out five times (the school record is nine in 1993). 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 forward Megan Orach (Huntington Beach/Marina HS), 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).
Senior midfielder Karen Norgaard (Encinitas/University City HS), freshman forward Christy Callier (San Diego/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 action as well.
DEFENSIVE NOTES - USC is giving up an average of 1.12 goals a game, a bit better than the average of 1.2 from last season. The Women of Troy have seven shutouts this season, setting a school record. In addition to Reppe, another standout is junior sweeper Christina Kushnir (San Diego/Bishop's HS). * Kushnir has three goals and an assist, good for seven points. She had two goals against California and an assist against Stanford, leading to Pac-10 Player of the Week and Soccer America Team of the Week honors as well as the FOX Sports Net Player of the Game against California. Rounding out the starting lineup are sophomore defensive midfielder Katie Ticehurst (Los Alamitos/Mater Dei HS) and freshman defender Erin Reed (Alamo/San Ramon Valley HS). 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, but talented freshman Shaelyn Fernandes (San Jose/Presentation HS) is beginning to see more time in goal as well. Puccinelli was a co-starter the last two years and she has a career record of 24-9-1. She is 8-5-1 in 1998 with a 1.012 goals-against average (second in the Pac-10) and 60 saves (sixth in the Pac-10). Fernandes has played in four matches and has a 1.429 goals-against average and 15 saves. 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 41-14-2 (.737) with USC and a five-year overall mark of 49-41-6 (.542). 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 not seen any action due to a hip and lower back problem and she will 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. Four players left the Loyola Marymount game with injuries, though only Courtney Barham missed more time. She was sidelined for three games with a sprained ankle before returning against Washington.
QUICK STATS - The next win will be the 50th in Jim Millinder's six-year coaching career ... The Women of Troy need just six corner kicks to set a school single-season record (they had 120 in 1997) ... USC has a school-record seven shutouts ... USC is 9-0-1 when it scores first ... USC is 1-6 when the opponent scores first ... USC is 9-0 when it leads at halftime ... USC is 0-6 when it trails at halftime ... USC is 1-0-1 when the match is tied at halftime ... When Megan Orach scored in the first minute of the match against Oregon, it was the second straight year that she had done that against the Ducks.
COACH MILLINDER SAYS - "This is an outstanding rivalry and it should be a great soccer game. UCLA has been excellent this year and very consistent. We've got some momentum, but we're still trying to find our consistency. This is a big match that could position ourselves for a berth in the NCAA Tournament, and perhaps even the Pac-10 championship if things work out. All we can do is keep winning and hope things turn out for the best. There's still a lot of soccer to be played."