Nov. 5, 2013
USC Soccer Release
The USC women's soccer team has some wind in its sails as it journeys across town to take on rival UCLA in the Trojans' regular-season finale. Back-to-back comeback wins in overtime at McAlister Field last week have proved that the Women of Troy have plenty of fight in them. The No. 2 Bruins (16-1-2, 8-0-2 Pac-12)will have to fend off the feisty Trojans (8-9-2, 3-6-1) when the two teams tangle at 5 p.m. on Thursday (Nov. 7) at Drake Stadium in Westwood. The match will be televised by Pac-12 Networks.
THE LAST MEETING
November 2, 2012
USC Upsets No. 2 UCLA In Overtime Season Finale
It was only fitting that the USC women's soccer team played one last overtime game in today's season finale. After plenty of practice playing extended games, the Women of Troy made good in their ninth OT game of the year and capped off the season with a thrilling 3-2 comeback victory over rival UCLA today at McAlister Field. The Bruins came into the game ranked No. 2 in the nation, but the Trojans were all the hungrier for the rivalry game. After UCLA scored in the first half, USC would fire back with two second-half goals, and when the game stretched into OT, USC was well prepared to dig in for the final push. After 122 minutes and 41 seconds of overtime action played in 2012, USC saw Jordan Marada strike the winner just three seconds away from the end of the first OT, and the Trojans grabbed the Los Angeles bragging rights with the 3-2 victory.
Thursday's USC-UCLA match will be televised live by Pac-12 Networks, with play-by-play from Christian Miles and analysis from Krista Blunk. The live streaming broadcast is also available online to Pac-12 Network recipients at pac-12.com/networks/pac-12-national/. Live stats also will be available. Click the Live Stats link on the USC women's soccer schedule page at usctrojans.com for live stats.FOLLOW US ON TWITTER @USCFutbol
USC broke back in the national rankings for the first time since the start of 2011 when the Trojans opened the year ranked No. 25 in the NSCAA preseason poll. The primary national coaches' poll, NSCAA, had USC in the rankings the first three weeks, but the Trojans dropped out on Sept. 17. UCLA is ranked No. 2 in this week's NSCAA poll.
The No. 2 Bruins are 16-1-2 overall and 8-0-2 in Pac-12 play after beating Oregon State 3-0 and Oregon 2-0 last week. UCLA's only loss so far this year was a 1-0 defeat to North Carolina. Darian Jenkins leads UCLA with 10 goals, and goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland has made 52 saves with six goals allowed in her 19 appearances. UCLA went 18-3-2 overall last season, reaching the NCAA Quarterfinals after an 8-2-1 finish in Pac-12 play. USC was one of those losses for the Bruins last year, as the Trojans beat UCLA 3-2 in overtime in their 2012 season finale at McAlister Field for USC's fifth win all-time over the Bruins. USC is 5-20-1 all-time against UCLA. The Bruins' last win was a 5-2 victory in 2011 in Westwood.
Not since the late 1990s had USC managed two wins in three years over its rival UCLA. The Women of Troy have won only five games against UCLA in 30 years of existence, but USC has claimed three of those in the past six years. What's more, this year's Trojan senior class comes into its fourth face-off against the Bruins with the Trojans holding a 2-1 record over UCLA in the past three meetings. Then a freshman, Autumn Altamirano delivered the winner for USC back in 2010 when the Trojans beat the Bruins 1-0 at the Coliseum. Last year, Jordan Marada was the hero in her first season as a Trojan, blasting the OT strike to beat UCLA 3-2 at McAlister Field. Hard to say if it's beginner's luck or something about this 2013 senior class -- of which Altamirano and Marada are key members --- but the Trojans will certainly be looking to tap back into that winning energy this Thursday in Westwood. USC has yet to beat UCLA on the Bruins' home turf, though. USC has three wins over UCLA at the Coliseum (1996, 1998 & 2010), one at McAlister Field (2012) and one in College Station, Texas, when the Trojans snapped an 11-game winless stretch against UCLA with their 2-1 victory over the Bruins in the 2007 NCAA Semifinals en route to USC's 2007 national championship win.
The Trojans pinned up two much-needed and highly dramatic comeback wins last week at McAlister Field. USC gave up early goals in both games, but were able to regroup and rally back to come from behind and beat Oregon 2-1 on an OT winner from Kayla Mills before taking down Oregon State 2-1 in double overtime on a PK converted by Jamie Fink. That made it a winning finish at home for the Trojan senior class in their final career games at McAlister Field. The OT adventures were USC's first two overtime wins of the year in seven tries, giving USC a 2-3-2 record in overtime this season. Last year, the Trojans played in a program-record nine overtime games (2-4-3). On Friday against the Ducks, USC responded to a gut check when Oregon knocked a goal in the fifth minute of play, only to see the Women of Troy kick into gear. USC took it down to the wire, but 75 minutes later, Katie Johnson equalized on an Elizabeth Eddy assist to force overtime. It was USC's fifth time venturing into OT, and the Trojans were ready to get it done in this one. In the final minute of the first OT period, Kayla Mills was a the hero, scoring the winner for the Trojans. Two days later, USC were tested again when, 41 seconds into USC's Senior Day matchup against Oregon State, the Beavers got on the board first. One hundred and nine minutes later, however, the Women of Troy were the ones celebrating. USC had slammed 43 shots against the OSU defense, but the only way the Trojans were able to crack Beaver goalkeeper Sammy Jo Prudhomme was from the penalty stripe. USC earned a visit to the mark in the 10th minute of play, equalizing on a penalty shot converted by senior Elizabeth Eddy, who moved up to No. 9 all-time at USC in career goals with that score. The Trojans would continue to pelt the Beavers with shots, but Prudhomme turned them away with a career-high 15 saves. In the final minute of the second overtime frame, an OSU handball was called in the box, sending the Trojans back to the penalty stripe for a shot at the winner. Fink drove it home, giving USC a 2-1 victory in a wild one at McAlister Field. Fink's heroics wrapped up a second straight overtime win for the Trojans this week in their final games at home this season. Freshman Mills had slotted the OT winner on Friday against Oregon, but this Sunday's game was for the seniors. It was the last match at McAlister Field for USC's outstanding group of seniors: Autumn Altamirano, Haley Boysen, Mia Bruno, Elizabeth Eddy, Allie Harrison and Jordan Marada. The Trojans would tap into that senior experience and strength when faced with another gut check after Oregon State's first-minute score. Altamirano was wiped out in the box on an attack, and the referee whistled for the penalty. Eddy answered the call and slotted the equalizer for the Trojans. In the second half, USC's tidal wave of pressure kept coming as the Trojans heaved 19 more shots and forced seven more saves out of Prudhomme. The only shots out of Prudhomme's reach -- one by Johnson and one by Fink -- found the post and crossbar instead. So things were still even up at 1-1 after a scoreless second half put the teams into overtime. Marlee Carrillo was put to work with a string of throw-ins, zig-zagging the pitch to help give her team offensive chances with her booming throws. No dice. The Trojan defense was tested with a couple Beaver breakaways, but Mandy Freeman was there to shut things down. Johnson, again, was denied by Prudhomme as time ticked down and a stalemate looked imminent. In the final minute, however, USC drove in one last shot attempt, which glanced off a Beaver player. The referee's whistle blew for a handball, with the linesman in agreement. This time sophomore Fink stepped up to the penalty mark, and with 14 seconds left on the clock, she calmly iced the win for the Women of Troy.
In spite of a breakout start to the year in which the Trojans scored 12 goals in their first three games, USC came up empty on the scoring front for a stretch of 453 minutes that spanned from a first-minute goal by Megan Borman in a Sept. 22 loss to Cal State Fullerton to Alex Quincey's 78th minute equalizer against Cal on Oct. 11. Quincey's breakthrough was the lift the Trojans needed, forcing the 1-1 draw with No. 8 Cal and helping build USC's confidence for their next game, where Quincey came through again with the game-winning goal to upset No. 5 Stanford on Oct. 13.
USC's leadership core has been shaken up a bit this season, with the injury bug biting different Trojan seniors at different times this season and thus interrupting some of USC's stability on the field. Autumn Altamirano, Mia Bruno, Haley Boysen, Elizabeth Eddy and Jordan Marada have all been banged up and forced to the sidelines during the season to date.
EDDY ON THE LOOSE
Senior forward Elizabeth Eddy opened the 2013 season with a bang, becoming the first Trojan since 2010 to be named Pac-12 Player of the Week, picked as Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week on Aug. 26. Eddy scored the Trojans' first goal of 2013 as she provided the spark for the Trojans in the 7th minute of play en route to a 4-1 upset win over No. 11 San Diego State. Eddy would score the last goal of the game as well on an 89th minute breakaway to cap the 4-1 victory. With two goals on the day, it was the senior's first multiple-goal game since tallying a hat trick for USC during her freshman season. Two days later, Eddy made it a three-goal weekend as she finished off USC's fourth goal again in a 4-2 win over host San Diego, also earning a place on the USD All-Tournament Team. The last Trojan to be named conference player of the week was Karter Haug in 2010. Eddy currently leads the Women of Troy with six goals scored to date, giving her 16 in her Trojan career to rank tied at No. 9 all-time in goal scoring.
USC has outscored opponents 30-23 this season. USC scored 12 goals in its first three games, setting a program record. And with eight goals scored in its first two games, USC had bettered the seven goals scored in its first two games of 2007 when the Trojans went on to win the NCAA Championship. That year, USC won its first three games of the season -- a stat the 2013 Trojans also matched this year.
The USC attacking abilities are widespread. While senior Elizabeth Eddy leads the team with six goals, six other Women of Troy have gotten to the back of the net. On Sept. 15, sophomore Katie Johnson became the first Trojan to score a hat trick since Eddy did so in 2010. Johnson has now bettered her freshman season output as she holds five goals this year. Sophomore Jamie Fink is next in line with four goals, while freshmen Tanya Samarzich and Kayla Mills have scored three apiece, even with sophomore Marlee Carrillo. Senior Jordan Marada and junior Alex Quincey have punched in two each, and Megan Borman got in on the scoring action on Sept. 22 with her first of the year coming just 37 seconds into the game. Assists have come from a set of 10 Trojans, led by Mills with seven, Marada with four and Autumn Altamirano, Carrillo and Fink each with two.
The USC roster is five seniors strong this year, marking a changing of the guard that has brought some standout leadership to the forefront. A transfer last season, Jordan Marada not only was the Trojans' top scorer in 2012, she has fit into USC's veteran core like a charm, as she wraps up her senior season as a Trojan alongside Autumn Altamirano, Haley Boysen, Mia Bruno and Elizabeth Eddy. There are three juniors on the list this year, but only Jessica Musmanno began her collegiate career at Troy. Alex Quincey and Caroline Stanley played their first seasons as Trojans last year, but, like Marada, they've taken a natural shine to Cardinal and Gold as they continue to be key forces in the USC gameplan. That group of eight upperclassmen have accounted for 40 goals, 31 assists and 152 saves for the Trojans to date.
Ah, the sophomores... Freshman year is but a distant memory for the USC sophomore class, which came into 2012 as a group of 10 new Trojans looking to make their mark. At the close of their first season, they accomplished something that few freshman classes had managed -- a dramatic win over rival UCLA, which was then ranked No. 2 in the nation. That was the confidence boost the young Trojans needed to charge them up for the next stage in their USC careers, and the 2013 class of sophomores are undoubtedly locked in for more success. Six of them entered 2013 already with goals on their career count. Katie Johnson had three in 2012, joined by Marlee Carrillo, Erin Owen, Megan Borman, Jamie Fink and Whitney Pitalo with goal tallies last season. Now, Johnson, Borman, Fink and Carrillo have all tallied goals this year, adding 13 goals to the USC total.
USC has welcomed 12 new Women of Troy to the turf for 2013. It's a crew packed with the talent to make immediate impact on the pitch. U.S Under-20 national teamers Mandy Freeman and Kayla Mills may be the headliners, but the 12-pack of new Trojans is clearly deep and versatile. Natalie Donaldson is the only transfer in the mix this season, as the California native comes back west from Auburn. To date, Freeman is the only newcomer to start every game, but Mills is right there with 18 starts in 19 appearances. Other regulars in the rotation are Natalie Donaldson (18 appearances), Savannah Levin (17) and Tanya Samarzich (14).
KICKIN' IT FOR KENYA
Long since serving up the game-winning goal in USC's 2007 NCAA Championship victory, Trojan grad and current Director of Operations Marihelen Tomer has remained hungry to succeed. Now, the USC women's soccer standout is focusing her efforts on an international stage. As founder and CEO of the nonprofit organization Luv Way Ministries, Tomer is working to save the lives of children in Kenya. The mission of Luv Way is to build and run a children's home, where Tomer hopes to save the lives of Kenyan children. Luv Way is holding fund-raising events that range from the soccer-inspired Kickin' It For Kenya tournaments, to Komedy for Kenya shows and an upcoming concert. For more information, visit luvway.org
BAY AREA BREAKTHROUGH
Alex Quincey came up big for USC in a tough road trip through the Bay Area, scoring the equalizer in a 1-1 draw with No. 8 California before slamming home the winner against No. 5 Stanford for a long-awaited shutout win for the Trojans. The well-rounded victory marked USC's first win over Stanford since 2005 and snapped a skid of five winless games by the Trojans. Quincey's heroic weekend began on Friday, though, when her 78th-minute blast locked USC even with No. 8 Cal. Until that goal slammed home, USC had been stuck in a stretch of four straight losses and had come up empty on the scoring front for 454 minutes of play. Needless to say, Quincey's goal provided a lift for a talented Trojan team that had seemed snakebit. The Trojans were authoritative in their road outing in Berkeley, despite the referee's whistle blowing them to a stop 21 times in the match. USC countered by out-shooting the Golden Bears 20-8, including that searing equalizer from Quincey. The Trojans turned the pressure on right out of the gates, with Elizabeth Eddy, Jordan Marada, Tanya Samarzich and Kayla Mills causing headaches for the Cal back line, which was forced to make two team saves on the goal line in addition to the five saves made by goalkeeper Emily Kruger. Against the run of play, however, Cal would manage the first goal of the game, taking a 1-0 lead in the 27th minute. Despite being down 1-0 at the half, the Trojans came out for the second with all-out domination of possession. The Trojans' hard work and determination would finally pay off in the 78th minute. Whitney Pitalo -- who spent a solid day on the back line for the Trojan defense -- sailed the ball up into the box. Samarzich got a foot on it, but a defender was there for the clearance. That knock saw the ball roll out to the feet of Quincey, who jumped on her chance and ripped in a rocket to the left, getting all inside net and putting the Trojans on the board. USC's Mills and Fink would force saves out of Kruger during overtime, while Caroline Stanley and her stubborn back line of Carrillo, Pitalo, Mandy Freeman and Natalie Donaldson took care of business on the defensive end to wrap the match as a 1-1 draw. Two days later in Palo Alto, the Trojans were all business once again, controlling much of the possession game while Stanford seemed to opt for some longer balls into the area in an effort to create chances. True, Stanford would out-shoot the Trojans down the stretch 15-8 and did have some dangerous opportunities, but the USC defense was up to any and all challenges. Goalkeeper Stanley secured eight saves -- many of them impressive feats to stymie the Cardinal -- while the Trojan back line of Autumn Altamirano, Carrillo, Freeman and Pitalo were all saving graces for the Women of Troy. But the hero of the day again was decidedly Quincey, who not only commanded the midfield along with Marada and Jamie Fink, she hammered home a long-awaited header off a corner kick sent in by Mills to take the Trojans to a 1-0 lead on the nation's No. 5 squad. Stanford dug in and worked to create some chances for an equalizer in the remaining time, but the stubborn USC defense and cast of determined Trojan teammates were up to the task of making that Quincey goal stand up as the winner, handing Stanford its third straight loss and pinning up the Trojans' second shutout win of the year.
125 YEARS OF GREATNESS
Since fielding a football team in 1888, USC has had an unparalleled athletic tradition, including 120 national team championships, an unprecedented 419 Olympians and 52 NCAA Postgraduate Scholars as the Trojan family celebrates its 125th anniversary this 2013-14 academic year. Including the USC women's soccer team's historic 2007 NCAA Championship victory, USC boasts a grand total of 120 national team championships, including a national-best 82 men's NCAA crowns. Trojan men have won more individual NCAA titles (309) than those from any other school, while the Women of Troy have added another 69 individual NCAA titles. Four Trojans have won the prestigious Sullivan Award as the nation's top amateur athlete. Two Women of Troy athletes have won the Honda Cup as the top collegiate female athlete of the year and there have been 15 Honda Award winners as the top female athlete in their sport. USC not only has more Olympians than any school, but more Olympic medalists (287) and gold medalists (135). USC soccer great Amy Rodriguez is a big part of that Olympic tradition as a two-time Olympic gold medalist with Team USA. Thanks in part to A-Rod, a Trojan has won a gold medal in every summer Olympics since 1912. Go to usctrojans.com/125to revisit the athletic highlights for Trojans the past 125 years.