Women's Soccer Opens Pac-10 Play This Weekend

Oct. 8, 2002

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THIS WEEK - The No. 15 USC women's soccer team (5-3-3) will begin Pac-10 Conference play this weekend by hosting No. 2 Stanford (9-1) on Friday (Oct. 11) at 3 p.m. and No. 7 California (7-2-1) on Sunday (Oct. 13) at 1 p.m. The Trojans have a five-game unbeaten streak (3-0-2) after opening the season with a 2-3-1 record.

RANKINGS - USC is ranked No. 15 in the nation in the latest Soccer America poll. Stanford is ranked No. 2 by Soccer America and the NSCAA. California is ranked No. 5 by the NSCAA and No. 7 by Soccer America.

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 Oct. 7 show the Trojans playing eight of the top 25 teams in the nation: No. 1 North Carolina, No. 2 Stanford, No. 5 UCLA, No. 7 California, No. 8 Santa Clara, No. 10 Wake Forest, No. 14 Penn State and No. 20 Washington.

LAST WEEK - The Trojans went 1-0-1 at home with a 2-2 tie against Loyola Marymount and 1-0 win against No. 8 Santa Clara. OCTOBER 4 VS. LOYOLA MARYMOUNT - Megan Abbamonto scored at 88:12 off a corner kick to secure the tie against LMU. The Women of Troy rallied after Kellie Schroeder scored her second goal at 85:51, also on a corner kick. Ali Fennell scored her fourth goal of the season for USC on a penalty kick in the second half. OCTOBER 6 VS. SANTA CLARA - Ali Fennell scored the lone goal at 84:58 off a feed from Ashley Casas. Julie Peterson made six saves to register her sixth shutout of the season.

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 forward. Fennell recorded a goal in three straight games (Sept. 15-27) and leads the team this season in goals (five) and points (10). On Oct. 6, she scored the game-winning goal in a 1-0 win against No. 8 Santa Clara. She has started in every match at USC and has 49 points in her career (20-9=49), tying her with Carol Hatcher (1996-98) for fifth place on USC's all-time scoring list. Fennell garnered All-Pac-10 second team honors in her first two seasons.

JULIE PETERSON - Sophomore Julie Peterson (Mission Viejo/Santa Margarita HS) has made an impact in her first season as the team's No. 1 goalkeeper. She has a 0.69 goals-against-average in 11 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. She tied the school record of six shutouts in a season, held by Laura Badagliacco (1994), Karin Puccinelli (1998) and Shaelyn Fernandes (2001), on Oct. 6 in a 1-0 win against No. 8 Santa Clara.

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 and scored the game-tying goal in the final two minutes of regulation in a 2-2 tie on Oct. 4 against Loyola Marymount. 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.

BEST DEFENSE - USC has scored only 10 goals this season, but the team's strength has been its defense which has allowed only eight goals. The starting backfield of Kaitlyn Pruett, Nikki Goza, Amanda Roach, Hillary Schwarzbach and reserve Jenna Killion has allowed only five goals in the last nine games. The fewest goals allowed in a season is 20, set by the 2001 squad.

STANFORD NOTES - Stanford returns nine starters and 19 letterwinners from last year's squad that finished 15-4-2 and reached the third round of the NCAA Tournament. Stephanie Erickson and Paul Sapsford are serving as co-coaches this season for Stanford. Junior forward Marcie Ward leads the team in goals (six) and points (16). Stanford leads the all-time series with USC by a 5-2-1 margin.

CALIFORNIA NOTES - California returns eight starters and 18 letterwinners from last year's squad that finished 12-7-2 and reached the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Head coach Kevin Boyd is 73-34-6 in his sixth season at California. Freshman midfielder Tracy Hamm leads the team in goals (seven) and points (14). California leads the all-time series with USC by a 4-3 margin. The last three meetings between the two teams have gone to overtime.

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 15-4-2 (.762) 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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