USC Battles Pepperdine In NCAA Tournament First-Round Match On Friday

Nov. 11, 2003

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LOS ANGELES - The USC women's soccer team (9-7-4) will face Pepperdine (13-5-1) in the first round of the 2003 NCAA Tournament on Friday (Nov. 14) at 5:30 p.m. at Drake Stadium on the UCLA campus. The winner of Friday's match would face the winner of the UCLA-San Diego match on Sunday (Nov. 16) at 1 p.m. in second-round action.

ON THE INTERNET - Friday's game will be broadcast live on with USC women's soccer sports information director Jason Pommier handling play-by-play duties.

TROJANS IN THE POSTSEASON - USC is 3-5 all-time in postseason play and is making its sixth straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament. This is the third straight year that USC has played in a first-round regional at UCLA. The Women of Troy lost to Pepperdine, 1-0, in the first round of the 2001 tournament and lost to UCLA, 1-0 in double overtime, last year in a second-round match.

LAST WEEK - Needing wins to secure a berth in the NCAA Tournament, the Women of Troy closed out the 2003 regular season with wins at Oregon (3-1) and Oregon State (3-0). In Friday's win at Oregon, Shannon Cross and Tina Sutorius scored in the final 14 minutes to secure the victory. In Sunday's season finale at Oregon State, freshman Jocelyn Hein scored two goals as part of a three-goal first half for the Trojans. Junior goalie Julie Peterson set a school record with her 15th career shutout, making 10 saves on the afternoon.

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 Nov. 10 show the Trojans playing four of the top 10 teams in the nation and eight in the top 25: No. 2 UCLA, No. 3 Santa Clara, No. 5 Penn State, No. 7 Florida, No. 11 Florida State, No .12 Virginia, No. 17 Washington and No. 22 Ohio 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 (seven) and points (16). 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.

SHUTTING OUT THE COMPETITION - Junior goalkeeper Julie Peterson (Mission Viejo/Santa Margarita HS) with a shutout on Nov. 9 at Oregon State set the USC career mark of 15, surpassing the record held by Laura Badagliacco (1994-97). Peterson has a 1.15 goals-against-average this season and has seven 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.

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. She scored her third goal of the season on Nov. 7 in a 3-1 win at Oregon.

PEPPERDINE NOTES - Pepperdine is 13-5-1 on the season and making its third straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Lacey Ubaldi leads the team with nine goals and 25 points (9-7=25) while Jennifer Brewer has eight goals on the season. USC leads the all-time series by a 6-3 margin. Pepperdine won the last meeting between the two teams, 1-0, on Nov. 16, 2001, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at UCLA.

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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