Women's Soccer Looks For First Win This Weekend

Sept. 3, 2002

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THIS WEEK - The USC women's soccer team (0-2) will compete at the 2002 UCLA Women's Cup this weekend with matches against No. 5 Penn State (1-0) on Friday (Sept. 8) at noon and No. 2 Virginia (1-0) on Sunday (Sept. 10) at noon. Both matches will be played at Drake Stadium on the UCLA campus.

RANKINGS - Virginia is ranked No. 2 in the nation by Soccer America, No. 4 by Soccer Buzz and Soccer Times (preseason) and No. 5 by NSCAA/adidas. Penn State is ranked No. 5 by Soccer America, No. 6 by Soccer Buzz (preseason), No. 7 by Soccer Times (preseason) and No. 12 by NSCAA/adidas. USC is ranked No. 23 by Soccer Times (preseason).

2002 SEASON PREVIEW - The 2002 season marks the 10th anniversary for women's soccer at USC. This year's squad features just two seniors and three juniors. Junior forward Jessica Edwards will be one of the focal points of the Trojans' offense while junior midfielder Megan Abbamonto will switch to a more offensive-minded role after two seasons as a central midfielder. Senior Ali Fennell moves to the right back position while sophomore defender Kaitlyn Pruett will be a key on defense. Sophomore Julie Peterson starts the season as the team's No. 1 goalkeeper.

NOT AN EASY SCHEDULE - The Women of Troy's schedule is among the toughest in the nation with 11 games against opponents that competed in last year's NCAA Tournament, including national champion Santa Clara and runner-up North Carolina. The latest Soccer America rankings as of Sept. 3 show the Trojans playing eight of the top 12 teams in the nation: No. 1 North Carolina, No. 2 Virginia, No. 3 Stanford, No. 5 Penn State, No. 7 UCLA, No. 10 Santa Clara, No. 11 Washington and No. 12 California.

LAST WEEK - The Trojans went 0-2 at the Nebraska adidas Invitational with losses against Wisconsin (1-0) and No. 1 North Carolina (2-0). AUGUST 30 VS. WISCONSIN - The Badgers scored at 76:35 off a corner kick for the lone goal of the match. Lauren Schmidt recorded the game-winning goal from an assist by Sarah Capel on Wisconsin's only corner kick on the afternoon. USC outshot Wisconsin, 20-6, but could not capitalize on several scoring chances. SEPTEMBER 1 VS. NORTH CAROLINA - The Tar Heels scored two goals in the first six minutes for the victory. Catherine Reddick and Anne Felts tallied goals for North Carolina. USC played even the remainder of the match which was a moral victory after the Trojans lost to North Carolina, 5-0, in a previous game on Sept. 26, 1999.

MEGAN ABBAMONTO - Junior Megan Abbamonto (Mission Viejo/Capistrano Valley HS) represents the heart of the Women of Troy's midfield after earning All-Pac-10 second team honors last season. She started in every game last year, recording three goals (including two game-winners).

ALI FENNELL - Senior Ali Fennell (Santa Ana/Mater Dei HS) will move from the midfield to right back after garnering All-Pac-10 second team honors in her first two seasons. Fennell has started in every match at USC and has 39 points in her career (15-9=39).

JESSICA EDWARDS - Junior forward Jessica Edwards (Mesa, AZ/Dobson HS) looks to rebound after a difficult sophomore season last year, when she recorded only five points (2-1=5). Edwards earned All-Pac-10 Conference second team and Soccer Buzz Freshman All-West Region first team honors in her 2000 freshman season after leading the team in goals (11), points (29), game-winning goals (4) and shots (97). She set a school record with 97 shots during the season.

KAITLYN PRUETT - Freshman defender Kaitlyn Pruett (Encinitas/La Costa Canyon HS) looks to repeat her freshman success after earning All-Pac-10 honorable mention honors last year. She started and played in 18 games as the team's central defender.

PENN STATE NOTES - Penn State returns seven starters and 20 letterwinners from last year's squad that reached the third round of the NCAA Tournament and finished with a 21-4-1 record. Head coach Paula Wilkens is 22-4-1 in her second season at Penn State. The Nittany Lions opened the 2002 season last weekend with a 7-2 win against Pittsburgh. This is the first meeting ever between the two schools.

VIRGINIA NOTES - Virginia returns nine starters and 13 letterwinners from last year's squad that reached the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament and finished with a 17-4-2 record. Head coach Steve Swanson is 29-12-3 in his fourth season at Virginia. The Cavaliers opened the 2002 season last weekend with a 7-0 win against St. Joseph's. Virginia scored six goals in the first half against St. Joseph's with Sarah Lane scoring twice for the Cavaliers. This is the first meeting ever between the two schools.

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 a 13-4 (.765) record at McAlister Field.

LAST SEASON - In 2001, the Women of Troy went 10-7-2 overall and placed fourth in Pac-10 play with a 5-3-1 record. The Trojans made their fourth straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament, losing to Pepperdine (1-0) in the first round.

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