Women's Soccer Travels To Pacific Northwest In Regular Season Finale

Nov. 5, 2002

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THIS WEEK - The No. 15 USC women's soccer team (10-5-3, 5-2) concludes the regular season on the road at Washington State (10-5-2, 4-1-2) on Friday (Nov. 8) at 2 p.m. and Washington (8-7-3, 3-3-1) on Sunday (Nov. 10) at noon. USC is making a bid for its fifth consecutive berth in the NCAA Tournament with the 64-team bracket to be announced on Monday (Nov. 11). The Women of Troy have registered 10 victories or more for the seventh straight season, all under head coach Jim Millinder.

RANKINGS - USC is ranked No. 15 in the nation in the latest Soccer America and NSCAA polls. Washington State is ranked No. 20 by Soccer America. Washington is not ranked.

NOT AN EASY SCHEDULE - The Women of Troy's schedule is among the toughest in the nation with 11 games against opponents that competed in last year's NCAA Tournament, including national champion Santa Clara and runner-up North Carolina. The schedule is rated as the nation's toughest, according to the Oct. 31 report by www.soccerratings.com. The latest Soccer America rankings as of Nov. 4 show the Trojans playing nine of the top 25 teams in the nation: No. 1 Stanford, No. 2 UCLA, No. 3 North Carolina, No. 5 Santa Clara, No. 10 Penn State, No. 18 Virginia, No. 20 Washington State, No. 21 California and No. 23 Arizona State.

MILESTONE WIN - Head coach Jim Millinder registered his 100th career win on Nov. 1 against Oregon State and now has a 101-66-13 career mark. Millinder, in his seventh season at USC (where he is 93-39-4), has guided the Women of Troy to four straight NCAA Tournament appearances. He spent two seasons at Loyola Marymount (1994-95) before taking the USC position.

WORKING OVERTIME - With the Nov. 3 win against Oregon, USC set a school record by playing its seventh overtime game of the season. The Women of Troy are 4-0-3 this season in overtime games with all four wins coming against conference opponents (Arizona State, Arizona, Oregon State and Oregon).

INJURY REPORT - Midfielder Megan Abbamonto is out this weekend after suffering a left knee injury in the Nov. 1 game against Oregon State.

LAST WEEK - The Trojans recorded overtime wins against Oregon State (2-1) and Oregon (1-0) to close out their regular season home schedule. NOVEMBER 1 VS. OREGON STATE - Freshman Jocelyn Leche scored 35 seconds into the first overtime period for the victory with her first career goal. Ashley Casas made a strong run into the box on the right side and fed a wide-open Leche on the left side of the goal. The Women of Troy outshot the Beavers by a 19-7 margin, including a 10-1 edge in the first half. NOVEMBER 3 VS. OREGON - Ali Fennell celebrated Senior Day with the game-winner at 95:12. It was her team-leading ninth goal of the season. A corner kick by Jessica Edwards bounced off several USC and Oregon players before Fennell scored. Freshman goalkeeper Katy Boynton recorded the shutout in her first career start.

ALI FENNELL - Senior Ali Fennell (Santa Ana/Mater Dei HS) played her first three seasons at USC as a midfielder, but this season is playing as a forward and compiling a season worthy of All-America honors. Fennell recorded a goal in three straight games (Sept. 15-27) and leads the team this season in goals (nine), game-winning goals (five) and points (19). She also leads the team with five game-winning goals, including an overtime winner in a 1-0 victory on Nov. 3 vs. Oregon in her final career regular season home game. On Oct. 6, she scored the game-winning goal in a 1-0 win against No. 8 Santa Clara. She has started in every match at USC and has 58 points in her career (24-10=58), good for fifth place on USC's all-time scoring list. Fennell garnered All-Pac-10 second team honors in her first two seasons.

JULIE PETERSON - Sophomore Julie Peterson (Mission Viejo/Santa Margarita HS) has made an impact in her first season as the team's No. 1 goalkeeper. She has a 0.84 goals-against-average in 17 games. She earned Pac-10 Player of the Week honors after registering back-to-back shutouts against No. 5 Penn State and No. 2 Virginia at the UCLA Women's Cup. Peterson tied a school record with her third straight shutout on Sept. 13 vs. Vanderbilt, equalling a record set last year by Shaelyn Fernandes. On Oct. 13 vs. California, Peterson set a school record with her seventh shutout of the season in a 2-0 win, breaking the previous mark of six held by Laura Badagliacco (1994), Karin Puccinelli (1998) and Shaelyn Fernandes (2001).

JESSICA EDWARDS - Junior forward Jessica Edwards (Mesa, AZ/Dobson HS) is second on the team this season in goals (four) and points (nine). On Oct. 18, she scored the game-winner in overtime with 15 seconds left in a 2-1 win at Arizona State and added another goal two days later in a 2-1 overtime win at Arizona. Edwards earned All-Pac-10 Conference second team and Soccer Buzz Freshman All-West Region first team honors in her 2000 freshman season after leading the team in goals (11), points (29), game-winning goals (4) and shots (97). She set a school record with 97 shots during the season.

MEGAN ABBAMONTO - Junior Megan Abbamonto (Mission Viejo/Capistrano Valley HS) represents the heart of the Women of Troy's midfield after earning All-Pac-10 second team honors last season. On Sept. 6, she scored the game-winning goal in a 1-0 win against No. 5 Penn State at the UCLA Women's Cup and scored the game-tying goal in the final two minutes of regulation in a 2-2 tie on Oct. 4 against Loyola Marymount. Abbamonto, however, is out this weekend after suffering a left knee injury in the Nov. 1 game against Oregon State. She started in every game last year, recording three goals (including two game-winners).

BEST DEFENSE - USC has scored only 19 goals this season, but the team's strength has been its defense, which has allowed only 15 goals in 18 games. The starting backfield of Kaitlyn Pruett, Nikki Goza, Amanda Roach, Hillary Schwarzbach and reserve Jenna Killion has allowed only 12 goals in the last 16 games. The fewest goals allowed in a season by USC is 20, set by the 2001 squad.

WASHINGTON STATE NOTES - Washington State returns eight starters and 17 letterwinners from last year's 7-9-1 squad. Head coach Dan Tobias is 43-43-6 in his fifth season at Washington State. Junior forward Nicole Wilcox leads the team with 19 points (6-7=19). USC leads the all-time series with Washington State by a 6-1 margin and has won the last three meetings.

WASHINGTON NOTES - Washington returns 10 starters and 15 letterwinners from last year's 13-5-2 squad that reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Head coach Lesle Gallimore is 101-66-10 in her ninth season at Washington. Junior forward Melissa Bennett leads the team with 17 assists and 27 points (5-17=27). The all-time series between USC and Washington is tied at 4-4 with the Huskies winning the last two meetings.

McALISTER FIELD - After sharing the practice field with the football team, the USC women's soccer team moved to its own facility prior to the 1998 season. McAlister Field, located on the corner of 30th and Hoover just north of the USC campus, is the permanent home for the team. USC boasts a 18-6-2 (.731) record at McAlister Field.

LAST SEASON - In 2001, the Women of Troy went 10-7-2 overall and placed fourth in Pac-10 play with a 5-3-1 record. The Trojans made their fourth straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament, losing to Pepperdine (1-0) in the first round.

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