No. 15 Women Of Troy Complete Six-Game Road Trip In Virginia

Sept. 9, 2003

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THIS WEEK - The No. 15 USC women's soccer team (2-1-1) will conclude its slate of six road games to open the season at the 2003 Virginia Nike Soccer Classic in Charlottesville, Va. The Women of Troy will face No. 7 Penn State (3-1) on Friday (Sept. 12) at 4:30 p.m. ET and No. 8 Virginia (2-1-1) on Sunday (Sept. 14) at 1:30 p.m. ET. Live stats will be available for Sunday's game against Virginia at www.virginiasports.com.

RANKINGS - USC is ranked No. 15 by Soccer Times, No. 18 by Soccer Buzz and No. 23 by Soccer America and adidas/NSCAA. Penn State is ranked No. 7 by adidas/NSCAA and Soccer Times, No. 9 by Soccer Buzz and No. 10 by Soccer America. Virginia is No. 8 by Soccer Times, No. 15 by Soccer Buzz, No. 17 by Soccer America and No. 18 by adidas/NSCAA.

2003 SEASON PREVIEW - The 2003 USC women's soccer team returned nine starters and 16 letterwinners from last year's squad that reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Junior goalkeeper Julie Peterson set two school season records last year with eight shutouts, including three consecutive. Peterson spearheads a defense that includes two senior defenders: Amanda Roach and Nikki Goza. Two key starters, senior Megan Abbamonto and junior Ashley Casas, are the mainstays in the midfield while senior forward Jessica Edwards looks to place in USC's career top scoring 10 lists. The Women of Troy also has their largest freshman class ever with 10 players, including midfielder/forward Rosa Anna Tantillo (San Diego/La Jolla HS).

NOT AN EASY SCHEDULE - The Women of Troy's schedule is among the toughest in the nation with 10 games against opponents that competed in last year's NCAA Tournament, including runner-up Santa Clara. The latest Soccer America rankings as of Sept. 8 show the Trojans playing four of the top 10 teams in the nation and 10 in the top 25: No. 3 Santa Clara, No. 4 UCLA, No. 6 Florida, No. 10 Penn State, No. 11 Arizona State, No. 12 BYU, No. 14 California, No. 16 Stanford, No. 17 Virginia and No. 25 Washington.

Jessica Edwards - Senior forward Jessica Edwards (Mesa, AZ/Dobson HS) looks to climb up the school career top 10 scoring lists. She has registered 52 career points (21-10=52) and currently leads the team in goals (three) and points (six). She needs six points to tie Ali Fennell (1999-2002) for fourth place on the career list. On Sept. 7, Edwards scored two goals in a 2-1 win at Michigan. Edwards earned All-Pac-10 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 a school-record shots (97).

Rosa Anna Tantillo - Freshman midfielder/forward Rosa Anna Tantillo (San Diego/La Jolla HS) is the top player for the 2003 USC freshman class of 10 players, the largest in the program's history. Tantillo scored twice in a 4-3 loss at Florida on Aug. 31 and added an assist on Sept. 7 in a 2-1 win at Michigan.

Julie Peterson - Junior Julie Peterson (Mission Viejo/Santa Margarita HS) turned in one of the best seasons ever for a USC goalkeeper last year, setting school records for most shutouts (eight) and shutouts in consecutive matches (three). Her streak of three straight shutouts included matches against No. 5 Penn State and No. 2 Virginia. This season, Peterson has a 1.42 goals-against-average and has allowed six goals, but three of the goals were on penalty kicks.

Megan Abbamonto - Senior midfielder Megan Abbamonto (Mission Viejo/Capistrano Valley HS) is one of the team's leaders in 2003 after earning All-Pac-10 second team honors last season, the second time she has earned the distinction in her career. She missed the final six games of the season after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee on Nov. 1 against Oregon State, but is healthy now.

PENN STATE NOTES - Penn State returns nine starters and 18 letterwinners from last year's 19-4-1 team that reached the NCAA semifinals. Head coach Paula Wilkens is 43-9-2 in her third season at Penn State. Joanna Lohman leads the team with three goals. The Nittany Lions have a three-game winning streak, defeating Harvard (2-1) and Maryland (3-0) last weekend. USC is 1-0 all-time against Penn State. The Women of Troy defeated the Nittany Lions, 1-0, last year on Sept. 6 at the UCLA/adidas Classic.

VIRGINIA NOTES - Virginia returns nine starters and 17 letterwinners from last year's 13-7-2 team that reached the third round of the NCAA Tournament. Head coach Steve Swanson is 43-20-6 in his fourth season at Virginia. Goalie Anne Abernethy has allowed just three goals in four matches. The Women of Troy and Cavaliers tied (0-0) in the only meeting between the two teams last year on Sept. 8 at the UCLA/adidas Classic.

CENTURY MARK - USC head coach Jim Millinder needs four wins for his 100th in his eight-year career with the Women of Troy.

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 an 18-6-2 (.731) record at McAlister Field.

LAST SEASON - In 2002, the Women of Troy went 11-8-3 overall and placed fourth in Pac-10 play with a 5-4-0 record. The Trojans made their fifth straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament, losing to UCLA (1-0) in double overtime in the second round.

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