Women's Soccer Readies For NCAA Tournament

Nov. 13, 2001

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THIS WEEK - The USC women's soccer team (10-6-2, 5-3-1 for fourth place in the Pac-10) will make its fourth straight NCAA Tournament appearance with a first-round match against Pepperdine (11-4-3) on Friday (Nov. 16) at 11 a.m. on the campus of UCLA. The winner will face the winner of that day's 2 p.m. UCLA (17-2-0)-Cal State Fullerton (13-6-0) match in second-round action on Sunday (Nov. 18) at 1 p.m.

TROJANS IN THE POSTSEASON - USC is making its fourth straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament, all since the program's inception in 1993. The Trojans hold a 2-3 post-season record and have reached the second round in the previous three seasons. In 1998, the Trojans defeated Washington, 2-1 in overtime, before suffering a 1-0 overtime loss at San Diego State. In 1999, the Trojans received a first-round bye, but lost to SMU, 1-0 in overtime, at the Coliseum. Last year, the Trojans defeated San Diego, 2-1, at the Coliseum before suffering a 3-0 loss at UCLA.

LAST WEEK - The Trojans completed the regular season with a 1-1 tie at No. 4 Stanford and a 1-0 double overtime loss at No. 17 California. Megan Abbamonto scored the first goal for the Trojans in the 17th minute against Stanford, but the Cardinal came back to tie the game early in the second half. The Cardinal outshot the Trojans by an 18-10 margin as the tie mathematically eliminated USC from the Pac-10 Conference title race. Senior goalkeeper Shaelyn Fernandes made five saves on the evening, including some key saves late in the game. In Sunday's match at California, the Trojans were a player down after freshman Megan Kakadelas received a red card in the 81st minute. USC was close to a scoreless tie until the Golden Bears scored with a little over two minutes remaining in the second overtime for the 1-0 win. It was the third straight year that both teams played in overtime (with California winning the last two matches).

CENTURY CITY - The Oct. 12 win against Arizona State was the 100th win in USC history since the program's inception in 1993. Since his arrival in 1996, Head Coach Jim Millinder has guided his teams to at least 14 wins in all five seasons.

ALI FENNELL - Junior Ali Fennell (Santa Ana/Mater Dei HS) is one of the top flank players for the Women of Troy after garnering All-Pac-10 second team honors in her first two seasons. Fennell has started every match of her career at USC and has 39 career points (15-9=39).

SHAELYN FERNANDES - Senior goalkeeper Shaelyn Fernandes (San Jose/Presentation HS) has made 17 starts this season in goal for the Women of Troy. She has a 9-6-2 record with a 0.97 goals-against-average. She has allowed 17 goals in 2001, recorded six shutouts and made 80 saves.

SHUTOUTS BY SHAELYN - Shaelyn Fernandes (San Jose/Presentation HS) has recorded six shutouts this season (Sept. 3 vs. Tennessee, Sept. 26 at St. Mary's, Sept. 30 at Loyola Marymount, Oct. 26 at Oregon State, Oct. 28 at Oregon and Nov. 2 vs. Washington State). She now has 12 career shutouts and is second on USC's all-time list. Laura Badagliacco (1994-97) holds the school record with 14 shutouts. Her six shutouts on the season ties a school record, held by Badagliacco (1994) and Karin Puccinelli (1998). Her three straight shutouts from Oct. 26-Nov. 2 also set a school record.

JESSICA EDWARDS - Sophomore Jessica Edwards (Mesa, AZ/Dobson HS) has five points (2-1=5) on the season. Edwards scored the 'golden goal' at 103:51 in a 3-2 overtime victory at home on Sept. 21 against UC Irvine and the first goal on Sept. 23 in a 3-1 win against Oakland. She earned All-Pac-10 Conference second team and Soccer Buzz Freshman All-West Region first team honors last year after leading the team in goals (11), points (29), game-winning goals (4) and shots (a school-record 97).

BRITTANY SAVELKOUL - Senior Brittany Savelkoul (Seal Beach/Los Alamitos HS) is having her best season at USC. Savelkoul has career highs this season with four goals and nine points (4-1=9). She recorded goals on Sept. 21 vs. UC Irvine, Oct. 7 at San Diego State, Oct. 12 vs. Arizona State and Oct. 21 at UCLA. She is tied for the team lead in goals with Shannon Cross and Megan Abbamonto.

CROSS OUT FOR THE SEASON - Freshman forward Shannon Cross (Manhattan Beach/Mira Costa HS) was the team's leading scorer with 10 points (4-2=10) before suffering a torn medial meniscus in her right knee in the Oct. 21 game at UCLA. There is a slight chance that she could return if the Trojans make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament, but more than likely she is lost for the season. Cross, who redshirted last season for the Trojans after injuring her knee in the preseason, scored back-to-back game-winners on penalty kicks on Oct. 7 at San Diego State (2-1) and Oct. 12 vs. Arizona State (3-2). She also scored the game-winning goal on Sept. 3 in a 1-0 win against Tennessee. Cross recorded a goal and an assist in a 3-0 win on Sept. 30 at Loyola Marymount.

FIRST GOAL - Freshman midfielder Lindsey Green (Redondo Beach/Redondo Union HS) scored her first goal as a Trojan, the game-winning goal, on Sept. 23 in a 3-1 win against Oakland at McAlister Field. Freshman midfielder/forward Ashley Casas (Mission Viejo/Capistrano Valley HS) tallied her first career goal on Oct. 12 in a 3-2 win against Arizona State while freshman midfielder Kelly Blais (Redondo Beach/Mira Costa HS) scored off a corner kick on Oct. 14 in a 2-0 decision over Arizona.

MIRACLE ON THE FIELD - The fact that freshman Kelly Blais is even in the Trojans' lineup is a story in itself. In May, Blais was hospitalized with a bout of bacterial meningitis, an infection of the membranes enclosing the brain and spinal cord. In fact, doctors stated Kelly would have died that morning if her mother, Judy, had not woken her up. She spent a week in intensive care and was temporaily paralyzed, but in miraculous fashion, she recovered and was participating in USC practices just two months later. She has played in every match this season with 10 starts, including the team's last eight matches.

LIMPING TO THE FINISH - The 2001 season has taken its toll on the Trojans heading into the postseason. USC lost two co-captains as midfielder Kim Abbamonto (back) did not play at all this season and defender Nikki Goza (ankle) played only one match. Goza is expected to redshirt and will have three years of eligibility. The Trojans also lost defender Amanda Roach (ankle) and Shannon Cross (knee) late in the season although there is a remote chance that either player could return if USC makes a deep run in the tournament. USC will also be without the services of freshman Megan Kakadelas in the first-round match against Pepperdine after she received a red card in Sunday's game at California.

PEPPERDINE NOTES - Pepperdine finished the season with an 11-4-3 record and a 3-4 record in West Coast Conference play. Despite the 3-4 conference record, the Waves have registered wins against Santa Clara (1-0) and Arizona State (3-0) this season. Junior Kristi Bissonnette leads the Waves with 26 points (11 goals, four assists) while goalkeeper Lindsey Brouillette has a 0.88 GAA. USC and Pepperdine played to a 1-1 tie in a preseason scrimmage in August in Malibu. USC leads the all-time series with Pepperdine by a 6-2 margin. USC won the last meeting between the two schools, 3-0, on Sept. 6, 1998, at McAlister Field.

UCLA NOTES - UCLA finished the season with a 17-2-0 record and won the Pac-10 Conference championship with an 8-1 record. The Bruins have won six of their last seven games and have allowed only 11 goals all season. Seniors Stephanie Rigamat (12 goals, four assists) and Mary-Frances Monroe (11 goals, three assists) lead the way for the Bruins, while goalkeeper CiCi Peterson is 13-1 with a 0.54 GAA. UCLA leads the all-time series against USC by a 9-2-1 margin. This season, UCLA defeated USC, 2-1, on Oct. 21 at Drake Stadium. USC is 0-7 all-time when playing in Westwood.

CAL STATE FULLERTON NOTES - Cal State Fullerton finished the season with a 13-6 record and won the Big West Conference championship with an 8-1 record. The Titans are making their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance. After opening the season with a 1-4 record, the Titans went 12-2 in their last 14 games. Juniors Jenny Mescher (11 goals, three assists) and Michele Bannister (10 goals, five assists) lead the Titans with 25 points each. USC is 4-1-3 all-time against Cal State Fullerton. The Trojans defeated the Titans, 3-1, in the last meeting between the two schools on October 1, 1998, in Fullerton.

McALISTER FIELD - After sharing the practice field with the football team, the USC women's soccer team moved to its own facility prior to the 1998 season. McAlister Field, located on the corner of 30th and Hoover just north of the USC campus, is the permanent home for the team. USC boasts an 13-4 (.765) record at McAlister Field.

THE COLISEUM - The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is one of the greatest and largest stadiums in America, serving as the site for the 1932 and 1984 Olympics. The USC women's soccer team has utilized the Coliseum for selected home games, including postseason matches. In five seasons of play at the Coliseum, the Trojans have a 26-5-3 record (.809).

LAST SEASON - In 2000, the Women of Troy went 14-6-2 overall and placed fifth in Pac-10 play with a 5-3-1 record. The Trojans made their third straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament, losing 3-0 at UCLA in the second round. It was the fifth straight season that USC won at least 14 games.

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