Women's Soccer Plays First Home Game This Weekend

Sept. 16, 2002

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THIS WEEK - The No. 20 USC women's soccer team (2-3-1) will play its first home game of the season when it hosts BYU (2-3) on Saturday (Sept. 21) at McAlister Field at 1 p.m. The Women of Troy will play six of their next seven games at home.

RANKINGS - USC is ranked No. 20 in the nation in the latest Soccer America poll and No. 21 by Soccer Times. BYU is not ranked.

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. 16 show the Trojans playing nine of the top 25 teams in the nation: No. 1 North Carolina, No. 2 Stanford, No. 4 UCLA, No. 6 California, No. 7 Santa Clara, No. 10 Penn State, No. 15 Wake Forest, No. 16 Virginia and No. 21 Washington. According to Albyn Jones of Soccer Information Systems, USC has the toughest schedule in the nation as of Sept. 13.

LAST WEEK - The Trojans went 1-1 at the Wake Forest adidas Invitational with a win over Vanderbilt (2-0) and loss to No. 25 Wake Forest (2-1). SEPTEMBER 13 VS. VANDERBILT - Ali Fennell and Jessica Edwards recorded their first goals of the season in the win against the Commodores. Fennell scored at 50:25 on a free kick while Edwards scored an unassisted goal at 69:43. Sophomore goalkeeper Julie Peterson tied a school record with her third straight shutout. SEPTEMBER 15 VS. WAKE FOREST - Alena Thom's goal at 44:07 gave the Demon Deacons the win over the Women of Troy. Fennell scored her second goal in as many games at 37:14 for USC.

ALI FENNELL - Senior Ali Fennell (Santa Ana/Mater Dei HS) played her first three seasons at USC as a midfielder, but this season is playing as a defender/forward. She earned All-Pac-10 second team honors in her first two seasons. Fennell has started in every match at USC and has 43 points in her career (17-9=43). She is six points away from tying Carol Hatcher (1996-98) for fifth place on USC's all-time scoring list with 49.

JULIE PETERSON - Sophomore Julie Peterson (Mission Viejo/Santa Margarita HS) is off to a good start as the No. 1 goalkeeper. She has a 0.80 goals-against-average in six games. She earned Pac-10 Player of the Week honors after registering back-to-back shutouts against No. 5 Penn State and No. 2 Virginia at the UCLA Women's Cup. Peterson tied a school record with her third straight shutout on Sept. 13 vs. Vanderbilt, tying a record set last year by Shaelyn Fernandes.

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. On Sept. 6, she scored the game-winning goal in a 1-0 win against No. 5 Penn State at the UCLA Women's Cup. She started in every game last year, recording three goals (including two game-winners).

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). She scored her first goal of the season on Sept. 13 in a 2-0 win against Vanderbilt. 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 in 2001 as the team's central defender.

BYU NOTES - BYU returns five starters and 11 letterwinners from last year's squad that went 14-7-1 and reached the third round of the NCAA Tournament. Head coach Jennifer Rockwood is 128-36-3 in her eighth season at BYU. Senior midfielder/forward Jeni Viernes leads the team in goals (3) and points (7). USC is 2-1-1 all-time against BYU. The Cougars defeated the Trojans, 2-0, last year in the season opener on Aug. 31 in Provo.

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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