USC Rolls Into Another Set Of Ranked Teams
Oct. 13, 2009
THIS WEEK: The USC women's soccer team matched its longest win streak since last season in making it nine straight wins on the way to this week's continuation of Pac-10 play. The No. 9 Trojans go up against two more ranked teams in a road trip that carries them to the Bay Area. USC (10-3-0, 2-0 Pac-10) first faces off against the nation's top team, undefeated No. 1 Stanford (13-0-0, 2-0), in a 7 p.m. game on Friday (Oct. 16) in Palo Alto, Calif. Next, the Women of Troy pay a visit to Berkeley to play No. 17 California (8-3-1, 2-0) at 1 p.m. on Sunday (Oct. 18).
RANKINGS: USC has climbed up in the rankings again after several weeks out of the loop. A nine-game win streak that has included several wins over ranked teams has pulled the Trojans up to now rank highest at No. 9 according to Soccer America, as well as No. 15 in NSCAA and No. 10 in Soccer Times. Stanford is ranked No. 1 across the board, and Cal ranks highest at No. 17 according to Soccer America. All three Trojan losses on the year have been to teams that are now nationally ranked by NSCAA: #25 Ohio State, #17 Texas A&M and #22 St. John's. Meanwhile, USC has registered four wins over ranked squads: #21 Oklahoma State, #9 Santa Clara, #25 San Diego and #20 Arizona State.
SCOUTING STANFORD: The No. 1 Cardinal are 13-0-0 overall and 2-0 in Pac-10 play after beating Oregon State 3-0 and Oregon 5-1 last week on the road. Kelley O'Hara leads Stanford in scoring with 15 goals, and Christen Press has 12 goals and 10 assists. Goalkeeper Kira Maker has allowed nine goals in 13 games and made 17 saves. Paul Ratcliffe is in his seventh season as head coach of the Cardinal, who went 22-2-1 overall after a second-place finish in the Pac-10 and on to an appearance in the NCAA Semifinals last season. USC is 3-10-3 all-time against Stanford, falling 3-1 last season in a Pac-10 game played at the Coliseum.
SCOUTING CALIFORNIA: The No. 17 Golden Bears are 8-3-1 overall and 2-0 in Pac-10 play after beating Oregon 2-1 and Oregon State 2-0 on the road. Alex Morgan leads Cal in scoring with 10 goals and four assists. Goalkeepers Rosie Aguilera and Gina Pellegrini have shared time in goal, with Aguilera holding 11 saves and three goals allowed and Pellegrini with 12 saves and 10 goals allowed. Neil McGuire is in his third season as head coach of the Bears, which went 10-9-1 overall last season with a 3-5-1 Pac-10 finish and a trip to the NCAA First Round. USC is 8-5-1 all-time against Cal, having won the past two meetings including last year's 2-0 win at USC.
FOLLOW ALONG: Live stats will be available for this week's games. Click on the Gametracker link on the USC soccer schedule page at usctrojans.com.
LAST WEEK: USC made it another dominating weekend at McAlister Field as the Women of Troy pinned up two more shutouts to run their shutout streak to four and overall win streak to nine in opening Pac-10 play with two wins. First, USC got a 1-0 win over No. 20 Arizona State on a second-half goal from Megan Ohai in another shutout effort by USC goalkeeper Kristin Olsen and her defense. Against Arizona, USC welcomed a season-best crowd of 833 to McAlister Field and had another solid gameplan for a 2-0 push past the Wildcats. Several shining moments came through in the victory, including a new top honor for goalkeeper Olsen. Already USC's leader in career wins, Olsen has now taken over the No. 1 spot as USC's all-time leader in career shutouts with 26. Dealing the winning blow for the Trojans once again was junior Alyssa Dávila, who scored in the 30th minute to net her sixth goal of the year and ninth game-winner of her Trojan career to rank No. 4 overall. Samantha Johnson added to the count with a score just two minutes later, and USC was on its way to its ninth straight win.
STRONG FOR WEEKS: Goalkeeper Kristin Olsen has strung together a nice run of historic honors in the past few weeks. Her first two shutouts of the year came on USC's winning road trip through Oklahoma with two saves against the Cowgirls and six against the No. 21 Sooners on the way to her third career honor as Pac-10 Player of the Week. The very next weekend, Olsen matched her career high of eight saves in an shutout upset of No. 9 Santa Clara, bringing up another set of Pac-10 Player of the Week honors. The back-to-back Pac-10 selection makes Olsen just the third player all-time to win consecutive weekly honors from the conference. The pick was the fourth of her career, lifting Olsen to a tie in the Pac-10 for the most career player of the week selections. This past weekend against the Arizona schools, Olsen solidified another place in the Trojan history books with her 25th and 26th career shutouts to take over as the all-time leader at USC.
SHUFFLING THE BACK: The USC defense has had a different makeup just about every week of this 2009 season, but that hasn't stopped the Trojans from staying united as a tight and stingy unit in the back -- now boasting four straight shutout wins and seven total on the year. Senior Meagan Holmes started USC's first game, but a knee injury kept the All-American off the field for the next nine games. Junior Ashli Sandoval moved from the midfield to the back to fill in for Holmes, but Sandoval suffered a season-ending ACL injury on Sept. 11 to bring up another version for the defense. Goalkeeper Kristin Olsen missed her first game on Sept. 11 after being issued a red card in the previous game, and outside back Chelsea Buehning missed her first game on Sept. 25 for the same reason. Yellow-card trouble kept Karter Haug out of the junior's first game in her career, as she was sidelined for the Oct. 2 match with San Diego, leaving sophomore Claire Schloemer as the only Trojan defender to play in every game this season. Despite the fluctuating personnel on the back line, the Trojans have been successful in their game-to-game defensive adjustments. Freshmen Kelly Morgan and Stephanie Morgan each have picked up their first starts in the back to bring more depth to that USC defensive corps, and Holmes returned to action on Oct. 2.
FRESHMAN FIRSTS... AND SECONDS: In USC's first win of the year, freshman forward Sam Johnson had her breakout game with a goal and two assists for a four-point day in a victory over Cal State Fullerton. 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. In a winning run through Oklahoma, the freshman tandem each snagged game-winners for the Trojans, giving each two goals on the year, and netting Garcia her second game-winning goal of her first year at Troy. For her winning score over the ranked Cowgirls, Johnson was selected as a CollegeSoccer360.com Primetime Performer for the week.
... AND THIRDS: USC freshman Courtney Garcia is 3-for-3 so far in game-winning goals. She's scored three times in her young career as a Trojan, and all three goals have stood strong as the game-winner. Three GWGs is the 10th most scored by a Trojan in USC history. Samantha Johnson hit her freshman trio last weekend with her third goal of the season in a 2-0 win over Arizona.
POINT TAKEN: Junior Alyssa Dávila had a career day in USC's 4-0 win over No. 25 San Diego with a role in all four USC goals. Three assists in the game matched her previous total in her freshman and sophomore seasons, and her score on USC's fourth goal of the day gave her a 5-point outing. That effort pushed Dávila to crack the top-10 all-time at USC in career points and helped earn her honors as a CollegeSoccer360.com Primetime Performer for the week. She has since continued her climb as USC's top scorer, now leading with six goals and four assists for 16 points on the year.
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 also have locked in on the Trojan top-10 lists in several different categories. USC's winningest goalkeeper with 41 victories now, Olsen has added six more shutouts to her total to take over as the all-time career shutouts leader with 26 -- a feat secured on Oct. 11. 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 ranks No. 12 in career points. Dávila and Ohai, meanwhile, also have nowhere but up to go on the career game-winning goals chart. Tomer and Dávila now stand even at the fourth-best count with 9; and Ohai has scored 6 so far. Also looming on the horizon for the group is the career goals top-10. Dávila's two-goal game on Sept. 11 cracked the top-10 for the junior, who now has 18 career goals. Now that Ohai has hit the top-10 as well with her 14th goal coming against ASU, Dávila and Ohai now sit in an elite group of 12 Women of Troy who have ever scored 14 or more goals in a career. And with a pair of goals already this season, Tomer (12) also has that same distinction within reach.
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 is redshirting the season due to a knee injury -- each one factors in for playing time this year. Garcia and Johnson have been tabbed as dangerous scoring threats up front, and both have already flexed that muscle with two goals apiece after USC's first eight games. Kelly Morgan and Stephanie Morgan have shown the knack for either defensive or midfield duties; and Parker and Ransom largely play a central midfield role in the Trojan gameplan.
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.
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.