No. 18-Ranked USC Soccer Kicks Off 2005 Season At Home

Aug. 22, 2005

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THIS WEEK: The Women of Troy begin their 2005 campaign this week with the USC Tournament, which brings Florida State and Indiana to the Trojans' home McAlister Field. USC squares off with FSU on Friday (Aug. 26) at 3 p.m. for the season opener. The Trojans next face Indiana on Sunday (Aug. 28) at 1 p.m.

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RANKINGS: USC is ranked No. 18 in SoccerBuzz's preseason poll. Florida State and Indiana are not ranked.

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WEEKEND RECAP: The Trojans' first intercollegiate competition came with last Saturday's scrimmage against Cal State Northridge. The Trojans and Matadors played four 30-minute periods at McAlister Field, with USC tallying a 4-2 win. The Trojans went ahead early on a score from Tracy Lansing assisted by Amy Rodriguez. USC stayed ahead throughout, thanks to a stingy defense that kept CSUN scoreless until the fourth period. Lauren Brown, Rodriguez and Nini Loucks also scored for the Trojans on the way to the 4-2 decision.

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2005 SEASON PREVIEW: The 2005 Women of Troy are a dynamic blend of veteran players and new talent. The Trojans' 12 newcomers were heralded as the top recruiting class in the nation, joining a core of veteran talent including junior leading scorer Rosa Anna Tantillo, senior defenders Hillary Schwarzbach and Jocelyn Leche and sophomore goalkeeper Veronica Simonton. New to the USC coaching staff is four-time All-American Isabelle Harvey, who completed her Trojan playing career in 2000. Headlining the group of incoming talent are a pair of freshmen with U.S. national team experience -- forward Amy Rodriguez and defender Meagan Holmes -- and Florida State transfer Leah Gallegos. The returning talent and fresh faces have already commanded the respect of the powers that be, as the Women of Troy have racked up a No. 18 national ranking and the No. 2 pick in the Pacific-10 Conference coaches poll.

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HOME AGAIN: This Friday's showdown with Florida State marks the first season since 1999 that the Women of Troy have played their season opener on home turf. That year, USC played three straight home games, first a 4-0 win over UC Irvine at the Coliseum, followed by a pair of games at McAlister -- a 3-0 win over Maryland and a 3-1 loss to Florida. This Friday's home opener is the first-ever Los Angeles clash between USC and Florida State.

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FLORIDA STATE NOTES: Florida State has hosted the only two matchups with USC, leaving the pair locked at 1-1 in their series history. USC won 2-1 in 2003's season opener, and FSU won last season's battle 2-1. Florida State returns four starters and 12 letterwinners from last year's team that went 12-5-3 and reached the NCAA first round. FSU is coached by first-year head coach Mark Krikorian.

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INDIANA NOTES: This Sunday's face-off with Indiana marks the first-ever match between the Trojans and the Hoosiers. Indiana returns nine starters and 22 letterwinners from last year's squad that went 9-7-3. The Hoosiers are coached by Mick Lyon, who is in his fourth season with IU.

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McALISTER FIELD: Beginning with the 1998 season, the USC women's soccer team no longer had to share a practice field with the football team, as the Women of Troy received a field all their own. USC played part-time on McAlister and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum until 2002, when the team began playing all its home games at the new facility. USC boasts an 25-10-5 (.688) record at McAlister Field.

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LAST SEASON: In 2004, the Women of Troy missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time in seven years after finishing tied for 8th in the Pac-10 with a 3-6-0 record. USC won five straight games in September and October, but lost its last four conference games to finish at a 9-9-1 overall mark.

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