Women's Soccer Goes for Pac-10 Crown This Weekend
November 3, 1998
LOS ANGELES Nov. 3, 1998 The No. 25 USC women's soccer team (11-6-1 overall, 5-2 in the Pacific-10 Conference), led by coach Jim Millinder, has won its last five matches, including an extraordinary 5-4 win over then-No. 11 UCLA, and is in search of its first-ever Pac-10 crown this weekend. The Women of Troy close out the regular season at Arizona State (8-9, 4-3) on Friday (Nov. 6) at 7 p.m. and Arizona (3-10-2, 0-6-1) on Sunday (Nov. 8) at 1 p.m. USC will have to do it without leading scorer Kim Clark, who broke a leg against UCLA.
PAC-10 RACE Washington leads the Pac-10 with a 6-2 record, while USC, UCLA and California are at 5-2. In the event of a tie, head-to-head competition will determine the winner. In the event that more than two teams tie, head-to-head competition is the first determinant, followed by goal differential in conference matches, then a flip of the coin.
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS The 48-team NCAA Tournanent field will be announced on Sunday (Nov. 8) at 6:30 p.m. (PST). Sixteen teams will receive first-round byes, while the remaining 32 will begin play next Wednesday (Nov. 11).
NEWS & NOTES USC moves back into the national rankings this week after being absent since the second week of the season, moving in at No. 25 in both Soccer Times and Soccer News ... Courtney Barham was named this week's Pac-10 Player of the Week ... USC has beaten five ranked teams this season (Baylor, BYU, UC Irvine, Stanford and UCLA) ... Isabelle Harvey leads the Pac-10 with nine 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.
OPPONENTS Arizona State (8-9, 4-3) is coming off a 1-0 loss to Oregon. Freshman midfielder Stacey Tullock leads the Pac-10 with 32 points and 13 goals. USC, which is 1-1 all-time against ASU, will be trying to avenge a 3-2 loss at the Coliseum last season ... Arizona (3-10-2, 0-6-1 plays UCLA on Friday) is winless in its last seven matches. Senior forward Nikki Jones leads the squad with 14 points (four goals and six assists). USC is 3-1 against Arizona and has won the last two.
LAST WEEK In a match that had coaches and fans saying it was the greatest college soccer game they had ever seen, USC knocked off then-No. 11 UCLA, 5-4, on Sunday (Nov. 1) in the Coliseum in front of a USC-record crowd of 1,057. Courtney Barham, playing in her final regular-season home game, broke a 4-4 tie and scored the game-winner in the 89th minute when she headed in a cross from senior midfielder Carol Hatcher. The Women of Troy took a 2-0 halftime lead on a pair of goals by Kim Clark and the lead was extended to 3-0 when Barham scored in the 53rd minute. But the Bruins fought back from deficits of 3-0 and 4-2 by scoring four second-half goals and eventually tied the game for the first time, 4-4, in the 87th minute.
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) will miss the remainder of the season after suffering a broken right leg against UCLA. A quick and creative player, she ends the 1998 season with 26 points (first on USC and tied for second in the Pac-10) on 10 goals (first on USC and third in the Pac-10) and six assists (second on USC and tied for fourth in the Pac-10). She had two goals and an assist against UCLA, 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 (85 and 27, 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 23 points (second on USC and fifth in the Pac-10) on seven goals (second on USC and tied for ninth in the Pac-10) and nine 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, Oregon State and UCLA. 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 (35) leader, is an excellent scorer who has five goals and four assists (tied for 10th in the Pac-10), good for 14 points in 1998. She had two goals against UCLA (including the game-winner in the 89th minute, leading to Pac-10 Player of the Week honors), 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.
DEFENSIVE NOTES USC is giving up an average of 1.28 goals a game, a bit more 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 defender off the bench.
GOALKEEPERS - Senior Karin Puccinelli (Cupertino/St. Francis HS) is the starter and she has had an excellent 1998 campaign. She was a co-starter the last two years and she has a career record of 25-9-1. Puccinelli is 9-5-1 in 1998 with a 1.213 goals-against average (fifth in the Pac-10) and 68 saves (seventh in the Pac-10). Talented freshman Shaelyn Fernandes (San Jose/Presentation HS) has seen some time in goal as well, playing in four matches and earning 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 42-14-2 (.741) with USC and a five-year overall mark of 50-41-6 (.546). 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. The win over UCLA was the 50th in his five-year NCAA Division I coaching career.
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. Kim Clark broke her right leg against UCLA and will miss the Arizona State and Arizona games.
QUICK STATS - The Women of Troy need just three corner kicks to set a school single-season record (they had 120 in 1997) ... USC has a school-record seven shutouts ... USC is 4-1 in one-goal games ... USC is 10-0-1 when it scores first ... USC is 1-6 when the opponent scores first ... USC is 10-0 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 ... The crowd of 1,057 that saw the USC-UCLA match was USC's largest home crowd ever (nearly doubling the previous record crowd of 570, set earlier this year against Nebraska).
COACH MILLINDER SAYS - "I think the UCLA game was the greatest match I have ever been a part of at any level. It was a huge result going into the last weekend of the season. These two matches against the Arizona schools won't be easy, and it will be even tougher without Kim Clark. We're really going to miss her. The rest of our players need to rally together and have two excellent efforts. Then, we'll find out where we are with the Pac-10 race and the NCAA Tournament."