No. 21 USC Returns Home For A Pair

Sept. 26, 2005

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THIS WEEK: The Trojans return home this week after being on the road for six straight games. The Women of Troy face Long Beach State on Tuesday (Sept. 27) and LMU on Friday (Sept. 30). Both games are at 3 p.m. at McAlister Field.

RANKINGS: USC (4-3-1) moved up a spot to No. 21 in last week's SoccerBuzz national poll and appeared in the SoccerTimes poll for the first time since the preseason, now ranked No. 25. Long Beach State (7-1-1) and LMU (3-4-3) are not ranked. This week's rankings will be released on Tuesday (Sept. 27).

WEEKEND RECAP: The Trojans traveled to a steamy Dallas, Texas, last week for a Friday game at SMU. The Women of Troy got off to a slow start, giving up a pair of goals by Kimber Bailey before picking it up and constructing a scoring attack in the 69th minute of play. Amy Rodriguez passed the ball to Stacey Strong, who tacked up her second goal of the season to pull USC within one at 2-1 SMU. Unable to get to the back of the net again, USC was left with the 2-1 loss.

TOP HEAVIES: USC's junior/freshman tandem of Rosa Anna Tantillo and Amy Rodriguez has combined for a load of points for the Women of Troy. The pair leads the team with nine points apiece. Tantillo's seven assists was the best mark in the Pac-10, and Rodriguez is tied for the team lead in goals with three.

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 to seven 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 reach Harvey's historic top mark of 39 career assists.

GALLEGOS GETS GOING: After being sidelined for the start of the 2005 season, senior transfer Leah Gallegos has jumped right back into her position as an impact player in the front lines. Gallegos set numerous records at Flordia State before tearing her ACL and then choosing to come back home to Los Angeles for her senior season. Now having appeared in three games, Gallegos continues to shine and has an assist to her name.

LECHE LIGHTS IT UP: Jocelyn Leche took another step up in the USC history books with a Sept. 18 game-winning goal on her perfect corner kick score 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 seven straight games, ringing their total offensive production to 18 goals on the season after last week's effort against SMU. In all, 10 different Trojans have hit the back of the net.

DEFENSES UP: Before coming up against the potent Penn State offense on Sept. 11, 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.

LONG BEACH STATE NOTES: The 49ers (7-1-1) are coming off three straight overtime games, having pulled out a pair of 1-0 wins in the last two, first against Fresno State and then against San Diego State. This will be the first-ever meeting between USC and Long Beach State. The 49ers return six starters and 14 letterwinners from last year's team that went 6-9-3 overall and finished eighth in the Big West Conference. Mauricio Ingrassia is in his second year as head coach at LBSU. Kim Silos is the team's leading scorer with five goals on the season.

LMU NOTES: The Lions (3-4-3) were on a three-game winning streak until falling to No. 25 Cal State Fullerton 2-0 last week. USC is 5-3-3 all-time against LMU. The teams have been stuck in ties in their past two meetings, last playing to a 0-0 draw in 2003. The Lions return 10 starters and 18 letterwinners from last year's team that went 10-7-3 overall and finished sixth in the West Coast Conference. Gregg Murphy is in his 10th year as head coach at LMU. Lori Sims 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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