No. 21 USC Finishes Off Pac-10 Play With 1-0 Win Over No. 23 Arizona
Nov. 6, 2005
LOS ANGELES -- The No. 21-ranked USC women's soccer team finished off Pac-10 play with an important 1-0 home victory over No. 23 Arizona on Sunday (Nov. 6) at McAlister Field. For the second straight game, freshman forward Amy Rodriguez finished things off for the Women of Troy with a game-winning goal, this one coming with just 1:35 left to play in the game. She previously scored the golden goal for the Trojans on Friday (Nov. 4) in overtime against Arizona State. Sunday's 1-0 victory over the Wildcats -- coupled with wins this weekend by UCLA and California -- secures USC in third place in the final Pac-10 standings with a 6-2-1 conference record and improves the Women of Troy to 12-5-2 overall. Arizona finishes up the regular season at 9-7-3 and 4-4-1. NCAA Tournament selections are set to be announced Monday (Nov. 7) at 2 p.m. PST on ESPNews.
Both teams battled it out throughout the game, trading solid shots on goal and harassing one another with tough defensive takeaways. It wasn't until late in the game that the Women of Troy were able to grab a lasting momentum shift, sparked shortly after clearing an Arizona corner kick attack. After that point, USC kept almost constant pressure on the Wildcat defense and got off several hard shot attempts. One dangerous strike came off the foot of junior midfielder Rosa Anna Tantillo (San Diego, Calif./La Jolla HS), who drilled a shot that Arizona goalkeeper McCall Smith went up high for and knocked over the bar. Tantillo struck again later, but that shot went high. All told in the second half, USC outshot the Wildcats 9-3.
WIth time draining and another overtime game threatening the Trojans, USC manufactured one more attack. With freshman forward Nini Loucks (Canyon Country, Calif./Canyon HS) and Tantillo working together on the right sideline, Tantillo pushed the ball ahead to Rodriguez (Lake Forest, Calif./Santa Margarita HS) in the box. With 1:35 left on the clock, Rodriguez tacked up her fourth game-winning goal of the season on a shot crosscage to the left side of the net. Now deep in the 88th minute of play, the Women of Troy were able to rely on their stubborn defense and possession game to ride out the final seconds and lock down the 1-0 win.
The victory marks USC's seventh consecutive home victory. The impressive winning goal was USC's latest goal scored in regulation and eighth time scoring in the final 10 minutes of play. Rodriguez has scored or assisted in the Trojans' past six games and now has nine goals this season. With her assist on the game-winner, Tantillo extends her team-leading assist mark to 10 this year. On the defensive side of the game, sophomore goalkeeper Veronica Simonton (Chino Hills, Calif./Ayala HS) and her stingy defensive back line now have 11 shutouts this year.
ARIZ (9-7-3, 4-4-1) 0 0 -- 0USC (12-5-2, 6-2-1) 0 1 -- 1
Shots: USC 11, ARIZ 6Corners: USC 1, ARIZ 4Fouls: USC 12, ARIZ 13Saves: Veronica Simonton (USC) 2; McCall Smith (ARIZ) 4