No. 17 USC Wraps Pac-10 Play In Arizona
Women of Troy aim for postseason position with a trip to ASU and Arizona this week.
Nov. 2, 2010
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The No. 17 USC women's soccer team wraps up the regular season on the road this weekend, with the Trojans' final Pac-10 pairings coming in a trip through Arizona. USC (11-4-3, 4-2-1 Pac-10) first has a night game set for its stint in Tempe, as the Trojans face Arizona State (8-6-3, 2-4-1) at 7 p.m. MT on Friday (Nov. 6). USC will then head over to Tucson to take on Arizona (5-11-2, 1-6) at 11 a.m. MT on Sunday (Nov. 7). When the Trojans return, they will learn their postseason fate on Monday (Nov. 8) when the 2010 NCAA bracket is revealed at 1:30 p.m. on ESPNU.
Live stats will be available for both USC's road games this week. Click the Gametracker link on the USC soccer schedule page at usctrojans.com for live stats.
USC opened 2010 as the nation's No. 19 ranked team in the NSCAA preseason poll and No. 20 in the Soccer America preseason poll. With their opening loss, however, the Trojans slipped out of the rankings, but they moved back up in the rankings on Sept. 13. USC now weighs in at No. 17 in the NSCAA and Soccer Times polls, and is No. 25 in Soccer America and listed at No. 16 in the TopDrawer rankings this week. Arizona State and Arizona are unranked.
The Sun Devils are 8-6-3 overall and 2-4-1 in Pac-10 play after falling 1-0 to Oregon State and 2-0 to Oregon on the road last weekend. Karin Volpe leads the Sun Devils in scoring with eight goals, and goalkeeper Alyssa Gillmore has 61 saves and 20 goals against in ASU's 17 games to date. Kevin Boyd is in his fourth season as head coach at ASU, which reached the NCAA First Round last season, finishing 9-7-4 overall after a 2-6-1 Pac-10 finish. USC is 11-3 all-time against the Sun Devils after claiming a 1-0 win at home last season. USC fell 1-0 to ASU in 2008 when the teams last faced in Tempe.
The Wildcats are 5-11-2 overall and 1-6 in Pac-10 play after falling 4-0 to Oregon and 3-0 to Oregon State last weekend on the road. Renae Cuellar leads Arizona in scoring with six goals entering this weekend, and goalkeeper Ashley Jett has 94 saves and 33 goals against in 16 appearances. Head coach Lisa Oyen is in her seventh season at Arizona, having served as interim head coach last season, when the Wildcats went 4-15-1 overall and were 1-8 in Pac-10 play. USC is 12-3-1 all-time against Arizona, holding a three-game winning streak that includes last year's 2-0 win at home and a 2-0 win in USC's last visit to Tucson in 2008.
USC pieced together a winning weekend thanks to some potent offense in the Trojans' final regular-season home games. USC finally turned the tide on the Washington State with a 3-2 comeback win on Friday. Three scoreless ties in the previous four years were interrupted only by a 2-1 loss to WSU in 2007 -- the year the Women of Troy went on to capture the NCAA championship. But after two games of scoring silence, USC broke through with three second-half goals to battle back and ultimately claim a long-awaited victory on senior defender Karter Haug's game-winning blast in the 83rd minute. Brittany Kerridge's first goal of the year equalized the game at 1-1, and Autumn Altamirano put USC ahead 2-1 until WSU answered three minutes later for a 2-2 lockup. That's where Haug's heroics came in, as the senior rocketed the winner for the Trojans. Against Washington, Haug again was a driving force. She helped anchor the back line to a 2-0 shutout while serving up assists on both Trojan goals. The first set up Carly Butcher for what would prove to be the game-winner just before halftime, and the second came on a corner kick to Ashli Sandoval for a header that got USC to 2-0. Haug finished out the weekend with three assists and the first game-winning goal of her career, making it three straight games now that the senior defender has had a role in USC's game-winning goals (assist vs. UCLA, winner vs. WSU, assist vs. Washington). For her efforts, Haug became USC's first player this season to be named the Pac-10 Player of the Week -- also the senior's first such honor.
USC has now lost two players for the season due to knee injuries. Junior defender Chelsea Buehning suffered an ACL tear in USC's season opener on Aug. 20 to leave her sidelined for the year. Redshirt freshman Morgan Morrow stepped into that defensive role after being sidelined last season after knee surgery from an injury sustained before coming to USC. Morrow, however, suffered her second ACL tear last week in USC's Oct. 27 game, taking the defender out of the lineup for the remainder of the season as she awaits surgery to repair her knee.
Thanks to everyone who came out to the Coliseum to become a part of history! The crowd of 8,527 fans at the Oct. 22 USC vs. UCLA game broke the NCAA attendance record for a regular-season game, and surpassed the count from the last Trojan-Bruin clash at the Coliseum. The last time USC and UCLA faced in the Coliseum in 2008, a crowd of 7,204 was in attendance, then ranking No. 2 in the NCAA record books for a regular-season women's soccer game behind a 2006 crowd of 8,204 in College Station, Texas, for a Texas A&M-North Carolina match. Friday night's crowd of 8,527 eclipsed that top mark, and put the Trojans and the Bruins on a historic stage for this year's Pac-10 showdown. With the new NCAA regular-season attendance record in hand, the Women of Troy topped it all off in the 86th minute of play with the game-winning goal from Autumn Altamirano for a 1-0 victory. That lifted USC to its first regular-season win over UCLA since 1998, thanks in large part to a stubborn Trojan defense. Senior defender Karter Haug set up the winning goal with a long lofted pass to Altamirano for Haug's third assist of the season.
USC is not making it easy for opponents to key in on a specific scoring threat on the front lines this season. In USC's 11 wins to date, nine different Trojans have provided the game-winning goal, with Ashli Sandoval and Autumn Altamirano holding a pair apiece. A whopping 13 different players have scored so far, and no one had more than three goals total until Elizabeth Eddy busted ahead of the pack with a hat trick against Cal on Oct. 10. Her fellow freshmen Haley Boysen, Autumn Altamirano and Mia Bruno have combined for nine goals to add to USC's scoring load. Eddy's five goals and three assists were all tallied within a span of five games.
SANDOVAL STRIKES BACK
In her first game action in almost a year since suffering a torn ACL last season, redshirt junior midfielder Ashli Sandoval scored in back-to-back games upon returning to the field during USC's road trip through Texas. Sandoval came through with the game-winner at TCU in her 2010 debut, and against Texas, she provided heroics once again in scoring the equalizer in the 87th minute to lock up the Longhorns 1-1. She sustained an ankle injury following the game-tying strike, however, and was sidelined for USC's next two games in Fullerton, Calif. The midfielder returned to game action on Sept. 10 vs. Auburn, and saw limited time since then after reaggravating her ankle, but played again on Sept. 26 at Eastern Washington. With an assist, two game-winners, and two more goals since, Sandoval has made more movement in the USC record books, as she is one point away from cracking the top-10 in career points (Sandoval now holds 48), and also now boasts 22 career assists to sit three away from No. 3 all-time.
Five freshmen started USC's first game of the year, and it's been a similar story ever since. Elizabeth Eddy and goalkeeper Shelby Church are the only Trojans to have started every game to date. All told, six freshmen have appeared in the starting lineup, including redshirt freshman Morgan Morrow's starting debut on Sept. 3 after being sidelined last year with a knee injury. All five freshman field players have tallied either a goal or an assist for the Trojans. Haley Boysen was the first of the group to score with an overtime game-winner vs. Auburn, but Mia Bruno, Autumn Altamirano and Eddy weren't far behind, while Morrow also is in the books with an assist.
Four players remain from the Trojans' 2007 NCAA Championship team, providing an anchor of talent and experience around which Khosroshahin has built a powerhouse of potential for the season to come. In breaking down the 2010 Trojan roster, there is a clear balance of power. Seniors Alyssa Dávila, Megan Ohai and Karter Haug offer up winning experience from front to back, with star midfielder Ashli Sandoval returning as a redshirt junior after being sidelined last year by knee injury. Together, the foursome boasts a national championship as well as a wealth of experience to anchor this year's lineup. Dávila and Ohai headline the front lines, with Sandoval shining in the middle and Haug in command of the defense. Already, the group has produced for the Women of Troy. Dávila has notched her 12th career game-winning goal to stand at No. 2 all-time at USC; Sandoval scored in her first two games back on the turf and ranks No. 4 all-time with 22 career assists; Ohai has a hold on No. 8 all-time in career goals (16) and is No. 6 in career game-winning goals (7) after her winner vs. Purdue; and Haug has served up six assists and scored two goals so far.
After getting her first career shutout under her belt with a 1-0 win at TCU on August 27, USC's freshman goalkeeper Shelby Church delivered another powerful statement in the very next game. Faced with a penalty kick that threatened to put USC down two goals in the first half at Texas, Church made a clutch save against the PK to keep the Trojans within reach, and USC would equalize late in the game. Church also helped secure a run of three straight shutouts for the Trojan defense, and she currently holds six shutouts, 62 saves and 17 goals against to kick off her career as a Trojan.
USC held a six-game win streak and was undefeated in nine straight games after a winning weekend trip through Washington. Forced to come from behind in both road matches, the Trojans were up to the task. USC trailed host Gonzaga 1-0 at halftime before equalizing in the 69th minute with a goal from Elizabeth Eddy. In overtime, Eddy set up the winner for Autumn Altamirano, who headed in her goal in the 96th minute to get USC the 2-1 OT victory. In Eastern Washington for the first time, USC saw the Eagles score after just a minute and a half of play, but the Trojans turned around and scored twice within 10 minutes to set off on a path toward an eventual 5-1 win. Courtney Garcia had the equalizer, and would go on to make it a two-goal game in scoring USC's fifth goal during the 88th minute. It's the first two-goal game for the sophomore. Also scoring in the big win were Samantha Johnson -- who got the game-winner in the 12th minute -- along with Haley Boysen and Karter Haug.
USC head coach Ali Khosroshahin is in his 10th season of collegiate head coaching. It's a milestone that he admits came faster than he expected, but there's no doubt that he has squeezed a lot of shining moments into his first decade. In his three seasons at the helm of the Women of Troy, he's 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 Pac-10 school to ever win a women's soccer national championship. The 2007 National Coach of the Year, Khosroshahin totes a 48-14-7 (.746) overall record at USC and 124-54-13 (.683) career record into this final season of his first decade of collegiate coaching.
BACK ON THE ATTACK
Over half of USC's goals last season came from the feet of returning strikers Alyssa Dávila, Sam Johnson and Megan Ohai. Seniors Dávila and Ohai are already locked into the USC record books for career scoring totals, and the pair are poised to climb even higher this year. Now a sophomore, Johnson's firepower is no secret, but the strong forward is in even better position to pack a punch at the top for USC this year along with Dávila and Ohai. Including those two senior strikers and sophomore Johnson, the Trojans return all but one goal scorer from last year. Dávila led them all with nine goals, heading up a group of 10 players to get to the back of the net. Nine of those remain, hauling back a good 87 percent of the Trojan scoring load to the pitch for 2010.
In 2009, USC made its fifth consecutive NCAA appearance in reaching the first round, falling in penalty kicks to Oklahoma State. The Trojans had pieced together a nine-game winning streak during the season, and finished Pac-10 play in fourth place with a 4-3-2 mark. Overall, the Women of Troy posted 12-6-3 record on the year and finished up ranked No. 24 in the final NSCAA national poll. Senior goalkeeper Kristin Olsen was a back-to-back Pac-10 Player of the Week last season, going on to be named a Hermann Trophy semifinalist and a NSCAA First Team All-American. Olsen also led a group of four USC All-Pac-10 honorees. Olsen was selected to the All-Pac-10 First Team, junior midfielder Alyssa Dávila picked up her first Pac-10 award with a spot on the Second Team; senior Meagan Holmes earned her third All-Pac-10 honor with an Honorable Mention pick and freshman Samantha Johnson was named to the Pac-10 All-Freshman Team to open her Trojan playing career.