Second-Half Surge Lifts No. 4 USC To 3-1 Win Over Arizona
Nov. 2, 2007
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. - It took a good 60 minutes and a one-goal deficit, but the No. 4 USC women's soccer team found a second-half spark in Friday's Pac-10 clash with Arizona, firing in three straight goals to stage a winning comeback against the Wildcats. The 3-1 victory keeps the Women of Troy unbeaten at McAlister Field this season as they turn to host their final home game on Sunday at 1 p.m. against Arizona State. Friday's win was secured by a game-winner from freshman Alyssa Dávila, who struck in the 66th minute to notch her fourth game-winning goal of the year. USC improves its overall mark to 12-2-2 and is now 4-1-1 in Pac-10 play. Arizona moves to 6-11-1, 1-5-1.
The Trojans got bogged down in a lackluster first half, unable to generate their usual strong attacks and finishing the half even with the Wildcats with just four shots apiece - three of which were Arizona shots on goal that USC goalkeeper Kristin Olsen made the saves on. The Trojans shook themselves out of that first-half lull, however. Six minutes into the half, USC lined up for a free kick against a two-person wall by the Wildcats. Ashli Sandoval laced a curving shot on goal that drilled the crossbar. Janessa Currier got a head on the rebound but it was saved by Arizona keeper Halley Brown.
Strangely, it was a similarly dangerous USC strike that would lead to Arizona's goal. Again Sandoval lined up for the free kick, and Kasey Johnson got a good head on the ball to direct it on goal. Arizona's Brianna Caceras was able to deflect the shot, however, and the Wildcats recovered the ball and surged back downfield. The Wildcats had the numbers on the counterattack fed by Jasmine Namdar, and though Olsen came out to try to stop the attack, Analisa Marquez slotted her shot past Olsen to get the Wildcats on top 1-0 in the 59th minute of play.
USC was anything but deflated by the deficit. Just over a minute later, another Wildcat foul set midfielder Ashley Nick up for a free kick about 25 yards out. She served up a booming strike that cut under the bar to the left corner, pulling USC even 1-1 in the 61st minute of action. Now equalized, the Women of Troy upped their pressure on the Wildcats even further. Megan Ohai and Alyssa Dávila caused big trouble for the Arizona defense soon after. Karter Haug sent a ball upfield for Marihelen Tomer, but she was whistled offsides. Then, in the 66th minute, Currier moved deep in Arizona territory and centered the ball into the box. Sandoval got a touch on it, redirecting the ball to Dávila on the left side, and Dávila nailed the close-range shot to lift USC into the lead. Her fifth career goal would also tand as the game-winner, giving Dávila a team-high four game-winning goals on the year.
An aggressive Olsen in goal and an effective Trojan back line of Johnson, Currier, Haug and Stacey Strong helped squelch further Arizona attempts to pull even, holding the Wildcats to just three shots in the second half while Olsen tied her career high mark of five saves in the game. After a USC wall blocked an Arizona free kick, USC was able to manufacture some padding for its lead. In the 75th minute, Strong pushed the ball up the sideline where Lauren Brown made a run, but Sandoval collected the pass. The freshman midfielder knocked in a centering ball for Amy Rodriguez, who drilled her sixth goal of the season with a powerful header to the left of the goal to boost the Women of Troy ahead 3-1. With two assists on the day, Sandoval ups her season total to seven, holding her well on top as the team's assist leader.
USC now puts its unbeaten run at McAlister Field up against one last Pac-10 visitor, as Arizona State comes to town for a 1 p.m. match on Sunday (Nov. 4). The final home game of the year also marks Senior Day, where the Women of Troy will honor its two seniors, Lauren Brown and Laura McKee.
#4 USC 3, Arizona 1
ARIZ 0 - 1 -- 1
USC 0 - 3 -- 3
SAVES: Kristin Olsen (USC) 5, Halley Brown (ARIZ) 4.
SHOTS: USC 16, Arizona 7
CORNER KICKS: USC 0, ARIZ 5