Women Of Troy Compete At Michigan's Nike Classic

Sept. 1, 2003

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THIS WEEK - The No. 21 USC women's soccer team (1-1) will continue its slate of six road games to open the season at the 2003 Nike Challenge in Ann Arbor, Mich. The Women of Troy will face Marquette (1-1) on Friday (Sept. 5) at 2 p.m. ET and Michigan (0-1-1) on Sunday (Sept. 7) at Noon ET.

RANKINGS - USC is ranked No. 19 in the nation in the NSCAA/adidas preseason poll, No. 20 by Soccer Times and No. 21 by Soccer Buzz and Soccer America. Michigan is No. 19 by Soccer Times. Marquette is not ranked.

2003 SEASON PREVIEW - The 2003 USC women's soccer team returns nine starters and 16 letterwinners from last year's squad that reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Junior goalkeeper Julie Peterson set two school season records last year with eight shutouts, including three consecutive. Peterson spearheads a defense that includes two senior defenders: Amanda Roach and Nikki Goza. Two key starters, senior Megan Abbamonto and junior Ashley Casas, will be the mainstays in the midfield while senior forward Jessica Edwards will look to place in USC's career top scoring 10 lists. The Women of Troy also has their largest freshman class ever with 10 players, including midfielder/forward Rosa Anna Tantillo (San Diego/La Jolla HS).

NOT AN EASY SCHEDULE - The Women of Troy's schedule is among the toughest in the nation with 10 games against opponents that competed in last year's NCAA Tournament, including runner-up Santa Clara. The latest Soccer America rankings as of Aug. 26 show the Trojans playing five of the top 10 teams in the nation and eight in the top 16: No. 2 Stanford, No. 3 UCLA, No. 4 Santa Clara, No. 8 Penn State, No. 9 Virginia, No. 13 Florida State, No. 14 Arizona State and No. 16 California.

Julie Peterson - Junior Julie Peterson (Mission Viejo/Santa Margarita HS) turned in one of the best seasons ever for a USC goalkeeper last year, setting school records for most shutouts (eight) and shutouts in consecutive matches (three). Her streak of three straight shutouts included matches on Sept. 6 vs. No. 5 Penn State and Sept. 8 vs. No. 2 Virginia.

Megan Abbamonto - Senior midfielder Megan Abbamonto (Mission Viejo/Capistrano Valley HS) will be one of the team's leaders in 2003 after earning All-Pac-10 second team honors last season, the second time she has earned the distinction in her career. She missed the final six games of the season after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee on Nov. 1 against Oregon State, but is healthy now.

Jessica Edwards - Senior forward Jessica Edwards (Mesa, AZ/Dobson HS) will look to climb up the school career top 10 scoring lists. She has registered 48 career points (19-10=48). She needs one point to tie Carol Hatcher (1996-98) for fifth place on the career list. Edwards earned All-Pac-10 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 a school-record shots (97).

Rosa Anna Tantillo - Freshman midfielder/forward Rosa Anna Tantillo (San Diego/La Jolla HS) is the top player for the 2003 USC freshman class of 10 players, the largest in the program's history. Tantillo scored twice in a 4-3 loss at Florida on Aug. 31.

MARQUETTE NOTES - Marquette returns four starters and 13 letterwinners from last year's squad that went 13-8-3. Head coach Markus Roeders is 111-38-13 in his eighth season at Marquette. The Golden Eagles are 1-1 on the season after a 1-0 win last weekend against Vanderbilt and a 1-0 loss to Dayton. This is the first meeting ever between USC and Marquette.

MICHIGAN NOTES - Michigan returns five starters and 16 letterwinners from last year's squad that went 16-7-1 and reached the NCAA Quarterfinals. Head coach Debbie Rademacher is 118-67-14 in her 10th season at Michigan. Michigan is 0-1-1 on the season after a 0-0 tie last weekend at BYU and a 4-1 loss at Utah. USC defeated Michigan, 2-1, in the only meeting between the two teams on Sept. 3, 2000, in Tempe, Ariz.

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 18-6-2 (.731) record at McAlister Field.

LAST SEASON - In 2002, the Women of Troy went 11-8-3 overall and placed fourth in Pac-10 play with a 5-4-0 record. The Trojans made their fifth straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament, losing to UCLA (1-0) in double overtime in the second round.

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