No. 22 USC Gets Another Double Dose At LMU Tourney

Sept. 13, 2005

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THIS WEEK: The Trojans' road stretch continues with two more games against out-of-state opponents to be played at the LMU-Four Points Sheraton Culver City Tournament, first against No. 29 Georgia on Friday (Sept. 16) at 1 p.m. and then versus Oakland on Sunday (Sept. 18) at 10 a.m.

RANKINGS: USC (3-2) is ranked No. 22 by SoccerBuzz for the second straight week and received votes from SoccerTimes. Georgia (6-0) is ranked No. 29 by SoccerBuzz for its first appearance in the rankings since 2002, and Oakland (3-1-1) is unranked.

WEEKEND RECAP: The Trojans tuned up against a pair of visitors last weekend at the UCLA Women's Cup. In a late game delayed further by the preceding game's overtime decision, USC squared off against Colorado to ring up a third straight Trojan victory with a 2-0 win. Jocelyn Hein notched her second goal of the season off an assist from Amy Rodriguez late in the first half. In the second half, the USC offense kept clicking, resulting in another score in the 62nd minute. Rosa Anna Tantillo earned her sixth assist of the season with another perfect corner kick that was knocked in on a header by Meagan Holmes -- her second of the season as well. Against Penn State, the Trojans suffered their first breach in their defense in three game on an early Nittany Lion score, but answered back before halftime when Tantillo lofted a corner kick that Kat Stolpa got a head on and Rodriguez finished it off for her third goal of the season. Penn State managed two goals in the second half, however, to claim the UCLA Women's Cup title with the 2-1 decision.

TANTILLO TERRITORY: Junior forward Rosa Anna Tantillo continues to climb the USC charts. With two more assists over the weekend, Tantillo -- USC's 2004 scoring leader -- bumped her season assist total toseven to pull even with current assistant coach Isabelle Harvey's assist mark set her senior season onfield for the Women of Troy. The single-season mark already locks her in the all-time top 10 as the seventh best total. At this pace, Tantillo is on track to launch herself past Harvey's other single-season marks of 12, 11 and 8 set during her career on the field for the Women of Troy. With 12 career assists, Tantillo still has some catching up to do to raech Harvey's historic top mark of 39 career assists.

OFFENSE ON: The Women of Troy rang up their goal total to a whopping 13 goals in the past four games after last weekend's efforts against Colorado and Penn State. In all, seven different Trojans have hit the back of the net.

DEFENSES UP: Before coming up against the potent Penn State offense, the Trojan defense -- with sophomore goalkeeper Veronica Simonton in the cage -- tacked up three straight shutout wins. The last time the Trojans achieved such a string of victories was in 2001 with three straight 1-0 decisions during Pac-10 play.

THREE TO GROW ON: Ever since tacking up their first collegiate goals on Aug. 28, freshman Amy Rodriguez and sophomore Lauren Brown have kept constant pressure on opposing goals.The pair now boast a team-high three goals apiece on the season.

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 have been in the starting lineup for the past two Trojan victories.

GEORGIA NOTES: The No. 29 Bulldogs (6-0) are off to their best start since 1997 after getting their sixth straight win with a 2-0 decision over Pittsburgh, earning their first appearance in the national rankings since 2002. Friday's matchup marks the first-ever meeting between USC and Georgia. The Bulldogs return seven starters and 16 letterwinners from last year's team that went 4-9-5 overall and finished ninth in the Southeastern Conference. Patrick Baker is in his first year as head coach at Georgia. Ali Williams is the team's leading scorer with five goals on the season.

OAKLAND NOTES: The Golden Grizzlies (3-1-1) got stuck with two overtime games last weekend, suffering their first loss and tie of the season with a 3-2 loss to Northwestern and a 1-1 draw with Kent State at the Northwestern Tournament. In the only previous meeting between the Trojans and the Grizzlies, USC posted a 3-1 win in 2001. Oakland returns nine starters and 13 letterwinners from last year's team that went 8-11-1 and finished fourth in the Mid-Continent Conference. Nick O'Shea is in his 12th year as head coach at Oakland. Marianne Samdal is the team's leading scorer with four goals on the season.

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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