Home Cooking At Last For No. 21 Women Of Troy

Sept. 16, 2003

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THIS WEEK - The No. 21 USC women's soccer team (2-3-1) will play its first home matches this weekend after opening the season with six straight road games. The Women of Troy will host St. Mary's (2-3) on Friday (Sept. 19) at 3 p.m. at McAlister Field and UC Irvine (4-2-1) on Sunday (Sept. 21) at 1 p.m.

LAST WEEK - USC lost both matches at the Virginia Nike Soccer Classic, dropping decisions to No. 7 Penn State (3-2) and No. 8 Virginia (3-0). Amanda Roach tied the match in the 81st minute against Penn State with a free kick from 45 yards out before Penn State's National Player of the Year candidate Joanna Lohman scored her second goal of the match with the game-winner in the 86th minute.

RANKINGS - USC is ranked No. 21 in the nation by Soccer Times. St. Mary's and UC Irvine are not ranked in any polls.

2003 SEASON PREVIEW - The 2003 USC women's soccer team returned 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, are the mainstays in the midfield while senior forward Jessica Edwards looks 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 Times rankings as of Sept. 16 show the Trojans playing five of the top 10 teams in the nation and nine in the top 25: No. 3 Florida, No. 4 UCLA, No. 5 Penn State, No. 7 Virginia, No. 10 Santa Clara, No. 14 California, No. 16 Washington, No. 17 Stanford and No. 23 Arizona State.

Jessica Edwards - Senior forward Jessica Edwards (Mesa, AZ/Dobson HS) looks to climb up the school career top 10 scoring lists. She has registered 53 career points (21-11=53) and currently leads the team in goals (three) and points (seven). She needs five points to tie Ali Fennell (1999-2002) for fourth place on the career list. On Sept. 7, Edwards scored two goals in a 2-1 win at Michigan. 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 and added an assist on Sept. 7 in a 2-1 win at Michigan.

Megan Abbamonto - Senior midfielder Megan Abbamonto (Mission Viejo/Capistrano Valley HS) is 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.

ST. MARY'S NOTES - St. Mary's is 2-3 this season and returned 10 starters and 19 letterwinners from last year's 9-9-2 squad. Head coach Paul Sapsford is in his first season at St. Mary's. Senior forward Lucianne Crenshaw leads the team with five points (1-3=5). Both teams played to a scoreless tie in the only meeting ever on Sept. 26, 2001, in Moraga.

UC IRVINE NOTES - UC Irvine is 4-2-1 this season and returned eight starters and 14 letterwinners from last year's 8-10-1 squad. Head coach Marine Cano is 98-67-20 in his 10th season at UC Irvine. USC is 7-1-1 against UC Irvine, winning seven straight matches.

CENTURY MARK - USC head coach Jim Millinder needs four wins for his 100th in his eight-year career with the Women of Troy.

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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