No. 26-Ranked USC Heads South For Tilt With UC Irvine

Aug. 30, 2005

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THIS WEEK: The Women of Troy hit the road this weekend as they continue their 2005 campaign with a trip to face UC Irvine on Sunday (Sept. 4) at 1 p.m.

RANKINGS: USC (1-1) is ranked No. 26 by SoccerBuzz this week and No. 25 by Soccer Times in its preseason poll. UC Irvine is not ranked.

WEEKEND RECAP: The Trojans fought through a rough home opener in which Florida State rang up a 4-0 decision and found their offensive spark two days later against Indiana. With defense tightened and strikers on the ready, USC kept solid control of the game on the way to a dominating 6-0 win. In the victory, Rosa Anna Tantillo tacked up her eighth career game-winning goal with a score in the 11th minute of play. Lauren Brown led all scorers with two goals, while freshmen Amy Rodriguez and Meagan Holmes joined senior Amy Mann with Trojan goals.

FIRST THINGS FIRST: USC's first win of the season was highlighted by a pile of firsts for the Women of Troy. Three players registered their first collegiate goals in the 6-0 win over Indiana after Rosa Anna Tantillo tacked up her first game-winner of the season in the 11th minute. Freshmen Meagan Holmes and Amy Rodriguez both notched their first goals as Trojans, as did sophomore Lauren Brown. Brown went one better, however, tacking up two goals and an assist.

TANTILLO TERRITORY: Junior forward Rosa Anna Tantillo continues to climb to USC charts. Her game-winning goal in the 11th minute of play against Indiana was her eighth career game-winner, rocketing her into a tie for No. 4 on the USC all-time career charts. Her goal and three assists in that game also notched her five more points to take over the No. 8 spot in the all-time career points leaderboard.

STARTING FRESH: Five freshmen have stepped in with starting roles in their first seasons as Women of Troy. All five -- Meagan Holmes, Nini Loucks, Ashley Nick, Amy Rodriguez and Stacey Strong -- got starting nods in the season opener, and four started against Indiana.

UC IRVINE NOTES: UC Irvine and USC are facing off for the 12th straight season. This year the duel goes back to Irvine, where the Trojans suffered their only loss in their 8-1-2 record with the Anteaters. That lone loss came in the teams' first meeting in 1994, a 3-0 UCI decision. The pair have fought into overtime three times in their history. The Women of Troy beat UC Irvine 2-1 last year in Los Angeles. The Anteaters went 1-1 on the road last week with a 2-1 win at San Jose State and a 3-2 overtime loss at Saint Mary's. UCI returns five starters and 13 letterwinners from last year's team that went 4-14-2 and finished tied for ninth in the Big West. Marine Cano is in his 12th season as head coach at UC Irvine.

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.

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.

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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