Women Of Troy Prepare For UCLA Week

Oct. 28, 2003

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LOS ANGELES - The USC women's soccer team (7-6-4, 3-2-1) travels to No. 3 UCLA (12-1-3, 5-0-1) on Sunday (Nov. 2) at 1 p.m. The match will have post-season implications for the Women of Troy as USC is currently tied for second place in the Pac-10 with Stanford.

LAST WEEK - USC split Pac-10 matches at home with a 1-0 loss to Arizona and 3-1 win against No. 18 Arizona State. In Sunday's win against ASU, junior Shannon Cross scored two goals as the Women of Troy rallied from a 1-0 halftime deficit. Both of Cross' goals came on corner kicks and Kelly Blais added a late, empty-net goal.

RANKINGS - UCLA is ranked No. 3 in the nation in the adidas/NSCAA poll and No. 4 by Soccer Buzz and Soccer America. USC is not ranked.

BATTLE FOR THIRD ANNUAL LEXUS GAUNTLET - The Women of Troy are looking to capture the five women's soccer points awarded towards the Lexus Gauntlet. The Lexus Gauntlet is a season-long competition between USC and UCLA in all sports. This unique program awards points for the winner of each Bruin-Trojan head-to-head contest throughout the year and the Lexus Gauntlet trophy is awarded to the school with the most points at year's end. USC captured the inaugural trophy in 2001-02, but the Bruins took the title last season. So far this season, both schools have five points each.

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 Oct. 21 show the Trojans playing four of the top 10 teams in the nation and eight in the top 25: No. 3 UCLA, No. 5 Virginia, No. 6 Penn State, No. 8 Florida, No. 12 Santa Clara, No. 15 Washington, No. 18 Arizona State and No. 21 Florida State.

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 leads the team in goals (six) and points (14). Tantillo had the game-winning goal in a 1-0 Pac-10 Conference win on Oct. 11 against Washington State. On Sept. 26 at No.13 Santa Clara, she scored two goals and added an assist in the Trojans' 3-0 upset to earn Pac-10 Conference Player of the Week honors. 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.

Shannon Cross - Junior Shannon Cross (Manhattan Beach/Mira Costa HS) has battled numerous knee injuries, but she may be an offensive catalyst for the Women of Troy late in the season after the injury to senior forward Jessica Edwards (out indefinitely with a fractured right leg). Cross scored two goals in a 3-1 win against No. 18 Arizona State on Oct. 26 at McAlister Field. The Women of Troy rallied from a 1-0 halftime deficit after Cross scored two straight goals on corner kicks.

SHUTTING OUT THE COMPETITION - Junior goalkeeper Julie Peterson (Mission Viejo/Santa Margarita HS) with a shutout on Oct. 17 at California tied the USC career mark of 14, held by Laura Badagliacco (1994-97). Peterson has a 1.17 goals-against-average this season and has six shutouts. Last year, she 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 vs. No. 5 Penn State and No. 2 Virginia.

UCLA NOTES - UCLA is 12-1-3 on the season and leads the Pac-10 Conference with a 5-0-1 mark. Head coach Jillian Ellis is 84-17-5 in her fifth season at UCLA. Sophomore Iris Mora has six goals and 22 points (6-10=22) on the season. UCLA leads the all-time series with USC by an 11-2-1 margin. The Bruins have won the last four meetings between the two schools.

CENTURY MARK - USC head coach Jim Millinder earned the 100th win in his eight-year career with the Women of Troy on Oct. 17 in a 1-0 win at No. 21 California.

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 21-7-4 (.719) 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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