No. 21 USC Shoves Off For Showdown At SMU

Sept. 20, 2005

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THIS WEEK: The Trojans take their farthest regular-season road trip of 2005 for a Friday (Sept. 23) match against SMU.

RANKINGS: USC (4-2-1) moves up a spot to No. 21 in this week's SoccerBuzz national poll and appears in the SoccerTimes poll for the first time since the preseason, now ranked No. 25. SMU (5-3-1) is not ranked.

WEEKEND RECAP: The Trojans posted a tie and a win at the LMU-Four Points Sheraton Culver City Tournament last weekend. USC's Tracy Lansing scored in the first minute of play against No. 29 Georgia, but the Trojans allowed a late goal in regulation and were unable to score in overtime to get stuck with their first tie of 2005. After a scoreless first half against Oakland, USC got its scoring touch back with three goals, first with a bending corner kick from Jocelyn Leche for her first goal of the season. Three minutes later, Lansing broke through with her second goal of the tournament off a pass from Hillary Schwarzbach. USC got on the board one last time with Stacey Strong's first collegiate goal, set up by Leah Gallegos, to secure the 3-0 win.

TOURNEY'S BEST: For her two-goal performance in the LMU Tournament, junior Tracy Lansing earned Co-Offensive MVP honors with LMU's Lori Sims. Lansing was joined by fellow Trojans Meagan Holmes and Amy Rodriguez on the All-Tournament Team. It was freshmen Holmes and Rodriguez's second all-tournament award of the year.

GONE IN 16 SECONDS: Tracy Lansing's goal against Georgia on Sept. 16 marked a new school record for the fastest goal scored in a game. Just 16 seconds into play, Lansing finished off a pass from Amy Rodriguez, who received an early feed from Stacey Strong, eclipsing the previous fastest mark of 36 seconds set in 2003. In USC history, the Trojans have scored in the opening minute of play four times (2005, 2003, 1998, 1997).

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.

FIRST THINGS FIRST: A new set of firsts came to light at the LMU Tournament last weekend. In addition to making USC history with her 16-second goal against Georgia, Tracy Lansing notched her first goal of 2005. Jocelyn Leche did the same against Oakland, and then freshman Stacey Strong tallied her first collegiate goal. On that goal, senior transfer Leah Gallegos was credited with the assist -- her first point of the year after starting out her first season at USC on the sidelines recuperating from an ACL tear suffered while playing for Florida State last season. Gallegos made her Trojan debut against Georgia on Sept. 16.

LECHE LIGHTS IT UP: Jocelyn Leche took another step up in the USC history books with Sunday's game-winning goal on her perfect corner kick scoree against Oakland. The goal marked her third career game-winning score -- good enough to lift her to the ninth-best total on the USC career leaderboard.

OFFENSE ON: The Women of Troy have now scored in six straight games, ringing their total offensive production to 17 goals on the season after last weekend's efforts against Georgia and Oakland. In all, 10 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 had 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: Six freshmen have stepped in with starting roles in their first seasons as Women of Troy. 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.

SMU NOTES: The Mustangs (5-3-1) are coming off a 1-1 tie with then-No. 11 Pepperdine. This Friday's matchup between USC and SMU is just the second all-time for the pair, having faced off once in 1999, when the Mustangs pulled out a 1-0 overtime win. The Mustangs return eight starters and 15 letterwinners from last year's team that went 15-4-3 overall, finished first in the Western Athletic Conference and reached the NCAA first round. John Cossaboon is in his third year as head coach at SMU. Kimber Bailey is the team's leading scorer with eight 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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