USC Shoves Off For First Trip To Oklahoma
Sept. 15, 2009
THIS WEEK: The USC women's soccer team has gathered a surge of momentum on the way into its stretch of road games. This week's road trip carries the Trojans out of state for USC's first-ever competition in Oklahoma. USC (3-3-0) will go up against Oklahoma State at 7 p.m. CT in Stillwater, Okla., on Friday (Sept. 18) and then travels to Norman, Okla., to face Oklahoma at 1 p.m. CT on Sunday (Sept. 20).
RANKINGS: USC has dropped from its preseason top-10 ranking after taking two losses to open the season. The Trojans are now ranked only at No. 12 according to TopDrawer, but are unranked or receiving votes in the other national polls.
SCOUTING OKLAHOMA STATE: The Cowgirls are 5-2-0 overall after beating Rice 1-0 and Northwestern State 3-0 last week. Oklahoma State's two losses this season were to ranked Colorado and BYU. Annika Niemeier and Kydall Treadwell lead the Cowgirls in points with three goals and an assist apiece. Adrianna Franch has gathered 13 saves in goal for Oklahoma State. Colin Carmichael enters his 14th season as head coach of the Cowgirls, who went 18-1-4 last season with their season ending in a shootout with Rutgers in the NCAA Second Round. This will be the first-ever meeting between USC and Oklahoma State.
SCOUTING OKLAHOMA: The Sooners are 4-2-1 overall after falling 4-0 at LSU last weekend. Whitney Palmer leads Oklahoma in scoring with six goals and two assists, and goalkeeper Kelsey Devonshire has made 29 saves so far this season. Nicole Nelson is in her second season as head coach at Oklahoma, which went 3-15-1 last season. This will be the first-ever meeting between USC and Oklahoma State.
FOLLOW ALONG: Live stats will be available for this weekend's games. Click on the Gametracker link on the USC soccer schedule page at usctrojans.com.
LAST WEEK: USC pulled out a winning weekend at home with a 2-0 shutout of Gonzaga and a 2-1 comeback win against Michigan at McAlister Field. Junior midfielder Alyssa Dávila notched her second career multiple-goal game by providing both goals for the Women of Troy against Gonzaga. Chelsea Buehning served up her first career assist on Dávila's first strike, which gave Dávila her eighth career game-winning goal. Goalkeeper Brittany Massro earned the shutout -- the senior's second solo shutout -- with Kristin Olsen sidelined by a red card earned the previous weekend. Olsen was back in goal for the Michigan match, where the Wolverines struck first with a first-half goal. USC refocused and leveled things on a free kick from Brittany Kerridge in the 65th minute. And in the 82nd minute, Marihelen Tomer knocked in the game-winner to make it 2-1 USC. The score would stand, and Tomer had her ninth career game-winning goal and the Trojans had picked up their first win streak of the season.
FRESHMAN FIRSTS: Freshman forward Sam Johnson had her breakout game with a goal and two assists in USC's win over Cal State Fullerton for a four-point day. That game also saw another freshman first with Courtney Garcia's game-winning goal. Garcia struck on a long-range shot off the post in the early third minute of play. It was not only USC's fastest goal of the year, but also USC's first game-winning goal this season.
ON THE BRINK: As NCAA Champions, Kristin Olsen, Alyssa Dávila, Megan Ohai, Ashli Sandoval and Marihelen Tomer are already in the USC history books. But those players are also locking in on the Trojan top-10 lists in several different categories. USC's winningest goalkeeper with 36 victories now, Olsen entered the season with 20 solo shutouts in goal, with the No. 1 career mark set at 25. Before suffering a season-ending ACL tear on Sept. 11, Sandoval had moved up to rank No. 4 in career assists with 21, and with 37 points she's now just two away from tying at the No. 10 spot for career points. Dávila and Ohai, meanwhile, also have nowhere but up to go on the career game-winning goals chart. Tomer now stands at the fourth-best count with 9; Dávila is next with 8; and Ohai has scored 5 so far. Also looming on the horizon for the group is the career goals top-10. Davila's two-goal game on Sept. 11 cracked the top-10 for the junior, who now has 15 career goals to join a group of 11 Women of Troy who have ever scored 14 or more goals in a career. Ohai (13) and Tomer (11) all have that mark within reach if they even come close to matching last season's production.
FINAL COUNT: Two seasons out from USC's historic 2007 NCAA Championship, nine players still remain from that title-winning squad. Led by fifth-year players Meagan Holmes and Marihelen Tomer and true senior and All-American Kristin Olsen, the Trojans still have a hefty depth charge of experienced athletes. Juniors Ashli Sandoval, Megan Ohai and Kasey Johnson have each earned national and regional honors as Trojans, heaping further acclaim on USC's roster. All told, the Women of Troy have 15 players back from the 2008 squad, including seven starters, and there are seven newcomers to the roster for 2009.
TROJAN TRAVELERS: Summer vacation took on an international twist for two Women of Troy who received call-ups to the U.S. Under-23 National Team for overseas competition. Senior goalkeeper Kristin Olsen competed with the U-23 squad in Ireland earlier in the summer, and was joined by junior midfielder Megan Ohai for action in England in July. For both players, the summer training was their first with the Under-23 team, although both have been pool players at the younger U.S. levels.
STILL GOT IT: Three All-Americans have graduated from the USC roster, but two more remain in seniors Meagan Holmes and Kristin Olsen. That pairing represents a part of the powerful USC defensive corps, while offensively the Trojans bring back a big group of USC's widespread scoring attack. Of the nine players who provided at least four goals apiece for USC in 2008, six return to the front lines. Ashli Sandoval was USC's top scorer with 21 points as a 2008 sophomore, including six goals. Sandoval, Alyssa Dávila (7), Megan Ohai (5), Carly Butcher (5), Marihelen Tomer (4) and Ashley Freyer (4) combined for 31 or USC's 51 goals scored in 2008, with returning Pac-10 All-Freshman pick Brittany Kerridge adding one.
EARLY HERMANN NOD: Senior goalkeeper Kristin Olsen has earned her first major honor of the 2009 women's soccer season in being named to the Watch List for the MAC Hermann Trophy. It is Olsen's second time on the Hermann Trophy Watch List, also named in 2008 after she was a finalist for the Honda Award in 2007 when the Trojans won their first-ever NCAA Championship. The Hermann Trophy winners are selected by Division I head coaches who are current members of the NSCAA. The list of 45 is cut down to 15 semifinalists in November, with three finalists announced in early December. Recent graduate Amy Rodriguez is the only other Trojan to earn two selections to the Hermann Trophy Watch List (2006 and 2008).
NEW IN `09: USC welcomes the arrival of seven newcomers to the roster for 2009, as head coach Ali Khosroshahin has a group of fresh Trojans who largely boast a balance in abilities that will bolster the USC's push through the Pac-10 and beyond. Joining the Trojan roster for the 2009 campaign are Courtney Garcia, Samantha Johnson, Kelly Morgan, Stephanie Morgan, Morgan Morrow, Kat Parker and Lainie Ransom. All Californians except for Delaware native Morrow -- who will redshirt the season due to a knee injury -- each one can factor in for playing time this year. Garcia and Johnson have been tabbed as dangerous scoring threats up front. Kelly Morgan and Stephanie Morgan have the knack for either defensive of midfield duties; and Parker and Ransom will largely play a central midfield role in the Trojan gameplan.
LAST SEASON: In 2008, USC broke through the NCAA Second Round for the second straight season, following up 2007's NCAA championship run with a trip to the 2008 NCAA Third Round. USC came up against Pac-10 and crosstown rival UCLA in that round, falling to the Bruins to finish out the year with a 16-5-2 overall record after a third-place finish in the Pac-10 at 5-3-1.