Sixth-Ranked UW Nips No. 12 USC Friday in Women's Soccer

Oct. 20, 2000

SEATTLE - Sophomore defender Vanessa Pierce scored the lone goal early in the second half Friday and helped shut out 12th-ranked USC, leading the No. 6 Husky women's soccer team to a 1-0 victory before 920 spectators at Husky Soccer Field.

'We love shutouts, it's what defenders live for,' exclaimed Pierce. 'To also get the winning goal, I guess you could say that was an ideal game for me.'

The goal was an eight-yard header at 56:12 off a Caroline Putz corner kick from the left side. Pierce charged onto the arching cross from the top of the box and got a head to the ball in the midst of several USC defenders, UW teammates and goalkeeper Lauren Arase. Teammate Tami Bennett, who was closest to the post, was knocked down before she was able to strike the ball.

It was the third goal of the season for the Woodinville High School product, but her first game-winning tally.

'The corner kick went closer to the near post than I expected, but I knew I had to get it,' said Pierce. 'I did everything to get my head on it and landed on Tami. That was a big goal for me and the team.'

Washington (14-1, 5-0) won its school record 14th game of the season, eclipsing the previous record of 13 established in 1994. The Huskies remained alone atop the Pacific-10 Conference standings and extended their school-record winning streak to eight games. The Trojans (10-3-2, 2-1-1) dropped from second place with their first conference setback.

'You can't say enough about our team's defending,' remarked Washington coach Lesle Gallimore. 'Good defense wins games. How our defenders keep doing it is beyond me, but they are going to have to come up and do it again Sunday against a very fast attacking team in UCLA.'

The first-place Huskies play their final regular-season home game against second-place UCLA on Sunday at noon. The seventh-ranked Bruins (12-1-1, 3-0-1) won 1-0 at Washington State on Friday. A victory Sunday would give Washington a 1 1/2-game lead in the conference standings with three games left to play. The Huskies have never won a Pac-10 championship.

'I think our team sees the light at the end of the tunnel,' Gallimore added. 'We know we're in for a tough game Sunday, but we're at home and UCLA has to come across the mountains and play us after battling WSU.'

The victory was Washington's seventh this season over a nationally ranked opponent. The only UW loss came against top-ranked Notre Dame.

Despite being outshot 9-5 in the first half, Washington had the more dangerous scoring opportunities. The closest was an 18-yard flick by Putz that traveled past Arase, but bounced off the left post with 1:11 remaining until halftime. Putz was able to take consolation in getting an assist on the winning goal, her eighth of the season that tied her with teammate Theresa Wagner for the Husky record.

Sophomore goalkeeper Hope Solo collected six saves, all of them in the first half. None were particularly challenging as she was well positioned to every Trojan shot on goal. Arase recorded three saves for the Trojans.

NCAA Women's Soccer
(#6) Washington 1, (#12) USC 0
Husky Soccer Field, Seattle, Wash.

Scoring--1, Washington, Vanessa Pierce (Caroline Putz), 56:12.

Shots - USC 15, Washington 15.
Saves -- USC 3 (Lauren Arase), Washington 6 (Hope Solo).
Corner Kicks -- USC 4, Washington 5.
Fouls -- USC 11, Washington 10.
Attendance -920.

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