USC Raises Bar Again, Beats Florida 1-0 In NCAA Third Round
Nov. 24, 2007
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. - The USC women's soccer team set the bar a couple notches higher on Saturday night. In the Trojans' first-ever appearance in the NCAA Third Round, USC went one better, securing a spot in the NCAA Quarterfinals against West Virginia while also setting a new program record with its 17th win of the year as the No. 2 seeded Women of Troy topped third-seeded Florida 1-0 in the Los Angeles Coliseum. Knocking in that record-setting goal was USC freshman defender Kasey Johnson, who notched her first career goal with a header off a free kick from Ashley Nick in the 48th minute of action. USC now holds a 17-3-2 overall record, while the Gators end the 2007 season at 17-5-3.
Further expanding the historic night was the venue in which the Women of Troy hosted the NCAA Third Round match. Under the lights of the Los Angeles Coliseum, the Trojans returned to a field they last played on in 2001. USC got right back to its winning ways on their old stomping grounds, boosting its overall record in soccer action at the Coliseum to 27-5-3 with the 1-0 win over Florida. It was the third straight shutout victory for the Trojans in this 2007 NCAA Tournament, as they now hold 13 shutouts on the year - one shy of the program record set in 2006.
USC utilized a strong possession game and manufactured several solid looks on the Gatord goal throughout the match. USC's best early chance came when Lauren Brown broke loose and took on Florida goalkeeper Meghan Berlingo in the sixth minute. Brown got off a powerful shot, but it nailed the crossbar. The first half was not without excitement on either end, as the Gator defenders managed a number of blocks against USC shots, and the Trojan back line turned away several Florida strikes as well. The half still passed without a score, bringing up an intense second half.
USC seemed to gather some momentum for the start of the next stretch, and it paid off early. After a Florida foul, USC's Ashley Nick lined up for the free kick in the 48th minute. She sailed a ball toward the goal box, where defender Kasey Johnson was pulled up high. Often a target for set plays, Johnson got a good shot on the ball, flipping a header back and over Florida goalkeeper Katie Fraine to tally the freshman's first career goal, making her the 11th Trojan to score this season. The assist was junior captain Nick's second of the year.
The USC defense continued to come up with big plays in the back, as Stacey Strong, Karter Haug, Janessa Currier and Johnson all squelched Gator strikes in the second half. Goalkeeper Kristin Olsen was aggressive in coming out to further stymie Florida's offense, and the USC midfield and front line was effective in countering back. The Trojans came close to padding their lead during the second half thanks to solid pressure from Ashli Sandoval and Amy Rodriguez. IN the final 10 minutes, Florida got deep and Ameera Abdullah fired a shot on goal, but Olsen made the diving save to notch her fourth of the game on the way to the sophomore's 10 solo shutout of the year.
USC is lined up to face No. 4 seed West Virginia in the NCAA Quarterfinals next week. The time and location of the game is still to be determined.
USC 1, Florida 0
USC 0 - 1 -- 1
UF 0 - 0 -- 0
SAVES: Kristin Olsen (USC) 4, Meghan Berlingo (UF) 2, Katie Fraine (UF) 1.
SHOTS: USC 16, Florida 6
CORNER KICKS: USC 5, Florida 3
USC head coach Ali Khosroshahin
'I would like to congratulate the University of Florida on putting up a tremendous match. It was a very entertaining game. I hope everyone got their money's worth.'
On playing in the Coliseum:
'I love playing in the Coliseum. There is so much history here. There have been two Olympics and multiple national championships. When you think of all the great athletes that have touched this field, it gives you chills. It is great to be a part of this.'
'I came here to win a national championship. To have the opportunity to coach here at USC, which is such a great name in college athletics is special. I knew I would have a chance here to win.'
Freshman defender Kasey Johnson
On her first career goal:
'It was shocking. I was messing around with Megan Ohai saying I was going to score a goal, but when it really happened it was shocking.'
On playing in the Coliseum:
'There is lots of history here. It was a pretty big deal when we first got in here, but then we settled down and got used to it.'
On the play of Florida:
'They played very physical in the midfield and especially when we were in tight spaces. Every round that we advance the play gets more and more physical.'
On the defensive line:
'It was tough after all of the injuries getting a consistent lineup. Once things got more consistent, we got to know each other a lot better.'