USC Can't Hold Off No. 9 California In 2-1 Road Loss
Oct. 30, 2005
BERKELEY, CALIF. -- As expected, the battle for sole possession of the No. 2 slot in the Pac-10 women's soccer standings was a heated one. USC shook things up in Sunday's clash in Berkeley, but No. 9 California staged a second-half comeback and held on to post a 2-1 win over the Women of Troy. The loss moves USC to 10-5-2 overall and 4-2-1 in Pac-10 action, while the Bears improved to 12-3-2 and 5-1-1 to sit just behind conference leader UCLA.
After four straight games of late scoring, the Women of Troy pushed through with an early goal against California on their very first shot of the game in the 18th minute of play. On the attack, freshman forward Amy Rodriguez (Lake Forest, Calif./Santa Margarita HS) notched her team-leading seventh goal of the season when she zipped in a low score from about 17 yards out off an assist from junior midfielder Rosa Anna Tantillo (San Diego, Calif./La Jolla HS). That assist marked Tantillo's ninth of the season and 13th career assist, moving her into a tie for No. 5 all-time on the USC career assist list.
After that early lift, USC held tight to its edge through several Cal strikes and numerous foul calls directed against the Trojans. Fouls continued to plague USC's gameplan, and the Bears managed to steal back the momentum midway through the second half. USC goalkeeper Veronica Simonton (Chino Hills, Calif./Ayala HS) was a force in the goal once again, interrupting Cal attacks and punching free a dangerous Cal corner kick in the 71st minute of play. But at the 72-minute mark, the Bears maufactured a successful strike when Tracy Hamm found Liz Eisenberg for a shot 15 yards out. Simonton got a hand on the ball, but couldn't redirect it over the cage, and the teams were locked at 1-1. Cal continued to pressure the USC defense from there, and although junior defender Lindsay Parker (Los Altos, Calif./St. Francis HS) came through with a crucial clear from the goal line a minute later, the Bears came back in the 75th minute and went ahead on a header from Nadia Al-Lami off an Alivia Mazura cross.
Foul calls finally leaned slightly in USC's favor late in the game, but the clock -- and the goalpost -- proved stubborn opponents for the Trojans. With two minutes remaining in regulation, Tantillo lined up for a free kick outside the box. Her solid kick roared its way to the goal, but banged off the inside of the right post and out of play.
USC now returns home for its final two Pac-10 matches, facing Arizona State at 2 p.m. on Friday (Nov. 4) and Arizona at 1 p.m. on Sunday (Nov. 6) at McAlister Field.
USC (10-5-2) 1 0 -- 1Cal (12-3-2) 0 2 -- 2
Shots: USC 6, Cal 11Corners: USC 2, Cal 4Fouls: USC 17, Cal 9Saves: Veronica Simonton (USC) 2; Ashley Sulprizio (Cal) 1