No. 18 USC Goes To Great Lakes For Weekend Action
Sept. 18, 2007
THIS WEEK: The No. 18 Women of Troy (4-1-1) are back on the road this week, continuing nonconference action with a trip to Michigan. There, USC first faces Oakland (2-4) for a 4 p.m. ET match in Rochester on Friday (Sept. 21). The Trojans then travel to Ann Arbor to square off against Michigan (1-3-1) at 12 p.m. ET on Sunday (Sept. 23).
RANKINGS: After an undefeated weekend, USC saw some movement in the national polls for this week. The Trojans moved down a single spot to rank highest at No. 18 according to SoccerBuzz. Meanwhile, USC rose to No. 22 in the NSCAA/adidas poll and moved up to No. 23 in SoccerTimes, while slipping to No. 31 according to TopDrawer. Neither Oakland nor Michigan are ranked.
LAST WEEK: The Women of Troy looked strong over the weekend, utilizing a solid possession game to create numerous attacks and pin up two shutouts in their own USC Tournament. The Trojans faced two SEC teams last week, coming away with a win and a tie, but consistently out-shooting their opponents to keep control of the games. USC first topped Georgia 1-0 with the game-winning goal coming in the second half from freshman Alyssa Davila off an assist from senior Lauren Brown. The score notched Davila's second game-winner of her young USC career. Two days later, USC was up against #15 Tennessee, which had beaten Nebraska 2-0 on Friday. The Trojans put almost constant pressure on the Lady Vol half of the field, generating 19 shots including a handful of very near misses on great saves by the Tennessee keeper. After two tense overtime periods, USC ended the game with nine shots on goal in the game compared to Tennessee's two ¬-- both saved by sophomore goalkeeper Kristin Olsen. Olsen, Davila and junior forward Amy Rodriguez were named to the All-Tournament Team at the close of the action. Olsen and Rodriguez played every minute of the two tight games.
SCOUTING OAKLAND: Oakland enters the week with a 2-4 record after beating Cincinatti 1-0 and falling to Western Michigan 2-1 last week. Kristi Tomczyk leads the Golden Grizzlies with four goals and one assist this season. Head coach Nick O'Shea enters his 14th season at Oakland, which went 8-11-1 overall and 4-2 in Mid-Con play last year. USC is 2-0 all-time against Oakland, winning 3-1 in 2001 and 2-0 in 2005.
SCOUTING MICHIGAN: Michigan is 1-3-1 coming into this week's competition, having lost 1-0 to Oregon State and 3-0 to LMU last week at the LMU Tournament. The Wolverines have scored in only one game this season, scoring three goals against Cincinatti on Sept. 7, when Amanda Bowery led Michigan with a goal and an assist. Head coach Debbie Rademacher is in her 14th season at Michigan, which went 9-7-6 overall and 4-3-3 in Big Ten play last year. USC is 2-0 all-time against Michigan, winning 2-1 in 2000 and 2003.
PEPPERING THE PAC: USC's strong start to 2007 has seen several Trojans leap into the Pac-10 rankings. Standing tall in the Pac-10 stats is freshman Ashli Sandoval with the second-best assists count (3). Fellow freshman Megan Ohai also is third in the conference in total goals (3), ninth in goals per game (0.50), and holds the league's best mark of two game-winning goals along with another USC freshman, Alyssa Davila. On the defensive end of the field, goalie Kristin Olsen has risen in the ranks, holding the top shutouts mark (3; 0.5 pg), the No. 3 count for goals-against average (0.64) and is No. 5 in save percentage (.778).
FRESH START: The USC freshman class has wasted no time making an impact. Coach Ali Khosroshahin gave the starting nod to five freshmen for USC's first two games, and all five had a foot in Trojan goals during those opening wins. Megan Ohai topped them all with three goals in two games, including a historic back-to-back game-winner effort. She became the first USC player since 1998 to score three goals in USC's first two games of the year, and is the first-ever Trojan to notch back-to-back game-winning goals to open the season. Her first career goal was assisted by fellow freshman Karter Haug, and the remaining freshman starters also tallied assists in the wins. Alyssa Davila served up an assist in the 5-1 win over Weber State as well, and Kasey Johnson set up Ohai's third goal of the weekend in the 2-0 win over UC Santa Barbara. Both Trojan goals in the UCSB win were arranged by Ashli Sandoval, who notched assists with her first two corner kicks against the Gauchos. All told, USC freshmen have accumulated a combined 16 points, led by Ohai's six and five for Davila after her second game-winner last week against Georgia.
GETTING DEFENSIVE: The Trojan back line has seen some adjustments this season. Offseason surgery has taken senior Laura McKee off the field for the start of the year, and a recent knee injury (Sept. 14) to junior Meagan Holmes has robbed USC of another experienced member of the stubborn Trojan defense. Even freshman Kasey Johnson was unavailable for Sunday's match against Tennessee due to a concussion sustained in the previous game, but still, USC has powered on. Junior transfer Amy Massey stepped in for her first start and went the distance in Holmes' right back slot. Junior Kelley Finch filled in for Johnson and also was instrumental in USC's impressive shutout of then-No. 15 Tennessee. Freshman Karter Haug and junior Janessa Currier have been the mainstays on defense for USC, playing every minute of USC's six games this season.
ON PACE: Junior forward Amy Rodriguez has made a home in the USC record books for career points (38), goals (14), assists (10) and game-winners (6), and she remains on the rise this season after tallying her first goal of the season against Indiana on Sept. 9. Within reach of joining Rodriguez in the history books is senior forward Lauren Brown, who holds nine career goals, along with eight assists after last week's assist and three game-winners for a career count of 26 points.
SHUTDOWN STREET: Sophomore goalkeeper Kristin Olsen had a hand in two of USC's program-record 14 shutouts last season, but as the starting keeper for all of the Trojans' games this year Olsen has now notched three solo shutouts. Her first career win came after playing the full 90 against Weber State, and her first solo shutout came on Sept. 2 vs. UC Santa Barbara.
2006 RECAP: The Women of Troy posted an 11-5-5 overall record with a repeat trip to the NCAA Second Round. To get there, USC managed a huge upset of perennial power Santa Clara with a 1-0 win over the host Broncos in the First Round. The Second Round saw the Trojans up against fellow Pac-10 team Stanford, and the Cardinal pulled out the win to cap off USC's NCAA run. USC set new program records in 2006, notching 14 shutouts, including a stretch of six straight shutout wins. USC allowed an all-time low mark of 13 goals against. Pac-10 play was marked with a series of ties, however, which left the Trojans with a fifth-place finish after four scoreless draws for a 3-2-4 record. Season honors went to senior midfielder Rosa Anna Tantillo, who earned All-Pac-10 First Team for the third straight year. Meagan Holmes and Stacey Strong were named to the Second Team, and Lauren Brown and Nini Loucks received honorable mention. Regionally, Tantillo and Janessa Currier earned nods to the SoccerBuzz All-West Region Second Team. All honorees except for Tantillo return for 2007.