No. 19 USC Tangles Up No. 10 California For 0-0 Tie
Oct. 8, 2006
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. -- The No. 19-ranked USC women's soccer team had all the right moves against No. 10 California on Sunday afternoon at McAlister Field, but once again a game-breaking score stayed just out of reach of the Women of Troy as they came away with their second straight scoreless affair. The 0-0 draw puts USC at 7-2-3 overall and holds them at 0-0-1 in Pac-10 play, while California also moves to 7-2-3 overall and is 0-1-1 in the Pac-10.
The Trojan defense caught the Bears offsides several times in the game, although the shot count stayed close in the first half. USC multiplied those chances in the second half, coming on strong early. A nice move from Amy Rodriguez on the right side opened the forward up for a strong crosscage shot that got past Cal goalie Gina Pellegrini but was saved on the goalline by the foot of Alivia Mazura. The rebound was met by USC midfielder Stacey Strong at close range, but her effort to push the ball back into the net was also thwarted by a Bear, this time by Nadia Al-Lami. Senior forward Tracy Lansing caught up with that ricochet, but her shot went wide. All told, USC tallied nine shots in the second half -- five of which were on goal.
The intensity of the match cranked up so significantly as time waned that it was hard to believe that USC was in fact playing a player short for the final 30 minutes of action. Sophomore forward Nini Loucks was red-carded in the 79th minute of play after colliding with Cal goalie Gina Pellegrini. But even with the speedy striker off the field, the Trojans kept coming. The Women of Troy kept possession of the ball largely through the final 10 minutes of regulation. It wasn't until the 88th minute that Cal would earn its first corner kick of the game, but the ball never made its way inbounds on the attempt. Rosa Anna Tantillo had the ball at her feet near the end of regulation, pulling a sharp spin move on her defender to open up an offensive chance for the Trojans, but time expired before the Women of Troy could make a good strike, bringing up sudden-victory overtime.
USC earned a pair of corner kicks in the first overtime period, only to have the Cal defense knock away the threats. Cal's Lisa Kevorkian got loose on a counterattack, but USC defenders Janessa Currier and Meagan Holmes tracked her down to stop the strike and help bring up the final overtime period. Still a player down, USC managed a pair of solid attacks on goal. The first came on a Tantillo free kick that Pellegrini was able to punch away just before Holmes had a chance at getting a head on the ball. Soon after, Currier sailed the ball in for Lansing, who got a head on it enough to give Strong an opportunity, but again the Cal defense sidestepped the problem with a clear. Pellegrini picked up her fifth save of the game on a shot by Strong that closed things down on the Pac-10 battle. The scoreless match marks USC's ninth team shutout of the season and goalie Veronica Simonton's seventh solo shutout of the year, putting her at 21 career shutouts.
The Women of Troy next face crosstown rival UCLA in a Pac-10 showdown at 1 p.m. on Sunday (Oct. 15) at McAlister Field.
USC 0, CAL 0
USC 0 - 0 -- 0 - 0 --- 0
CAL 0 - 0 -- 0 - 0 --- 0
Veronica Simonton (USC) 3; Gina Pellegrini (CAL) 5, Team (CAL) 2.