No. 23 USC Travels To No. 13 Santa Clara, Loyola Marymount This Weekend

Sept. 23, 2003

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THIS WEEK - The No. 23 USC women's soccer team (3-3-2) travels this weekend to No. 13 Santa Clara (3-2-3) on Friday (Sept. 26) at 7 p.m. and Loyola Marymount (4-2-2) on Sunday (Sept. 28) at 1 p.m.

LAST WEEK - USC played its first home matches of the season, registering a 3-2 win against St. Mary's on Sept. 19 and a 0-0 tie on Sept. 21 against UC Irvine. After St. Mary's scored a goal in the 10th minute of Friday's match, Rosa Anna Tantillo and Kelly Blais both scored in a 15-second period in the first half. Sophomore Tina Sutorius scored her first career goal in the second half to put the game away for the Women of Troy. In Sunday's match, both teams had four shots each in the first half before USC shut down UCI's attack. The Trojans outshot the Anteaters by an 11-0 margin for the remainder of the game and are now 7-0-2 in the last nine meetings between the two schools.

RANKINGS - USC is ranked No. 23 in the latest Soccer Times poll. Santa Clara is ranked No. 11 in the nation by Soccer America, No. 13 by Soccer Times, No. 18 by adidas/NSCAA and No. 20 by Soccer Buzz. Loyola Marymount is not ranked.

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. 23 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. 6 Virginia, No. 7 Penn State, No. 10 Washington, No. 13 Santa Clara, No. 14 California, No. 17 Arizona State and No. 19 Stanford.

Jessica Edwards - Senior forward Jessica Edwards (Mesa, AZ/Dobson HS) looks to climb up the school career top 10 scoring lists. She has registered 54 career points (21-12=54) and currently leads the team with eight points (3-2=8). She needs four 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. She is tied with Jessica Edwards for most goals this season (three). 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.

SANTA CLARA NOTES - Santa Clara is 3-2-3 this season and returned nine starters and 15 letterwinners from last year's 20-5-1 squad that lost to Portland in the NCAA championship match. Head coach Jerry Smith is 265-67-19 in his 17th year at Santa Clara. Freshman forward Marian Dalmy has four goals and 10 points on the season for the Broncos. The all-time series between the two schools is tied at 1-1. USC defeated Santa Clara, 1-0, last year at McAlister Field while the Broncos defeated the Women of Troy, 2-1, on Sept. 18, 2000, in Santa Clara.

LOYOLA MARYMOUNT NOTES - Loyola Marymount is 4-2-2 this season and returned 10 starters and 18 letterwinners from last year's 10-7-3 squad. Gregg Murphy is 74-52-11 in his seventh season at Loyola Marymount. Shari Niskikawa and Kellie Schroeder have two goals each for the Lions. USC is 5-3-2 all-time against Loyola Marymount. The teams played to a 2-2 tie last year on Oct. 4 at McAlister Field.

CENTURY MARK - USC head coach Jim Millinder needs three 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 19-6-3 (.732) 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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