USC Remains On Road Run, Visits Pacific and Santa Clara

Sept. 23, 2009

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THIS WEEK: The USC women's soccer team enters the second half of its four-game road run with some in-state competition as the Trojans look to improve on a four-game win streak. USC (5-3-0) makes a trip northward to take on Pacific in a 7 p.m. game on Friday (Sept. 25) in Stockton before moving on to visit No. 9 Santa Clara at 1 p.m. on Sunday (Sept. 27).

RANKINGS: USC has dropped from its preseason top-10 ranking after taking two losses to open the season. All three teams the Trojans have lost to on the year are now ranked, while USC is now ranked only at No. 10 according to TopDrawer, but is unranked or receiving votes in the other national polls. Pacific is unranked, and Santa Clara ranks highest at No. 9.

SCOUTING PACIFIC: The Tigers are 5-2-2 overall after beating Fresno State 3-1 and tying San Francisco 1-1 last week to stay unbeaten in the past five games. Maricella Padilla leads Pacific in scoring with six goals, and goalkeeper Jill Medigovich has gathered 23 saves and allowed eight goals. Keith Coleman enters his 16th season as head coach of the Tigers, who went 10-8-1 last season. USC won the only other meeting against Pacific in a 7-0 decision back in 1993.

SCOUTING SANTA CLARA: The No. 9 Broncos are 7-2-0 overall after beating Wisconsin 2-1 and Colorado 1-0 in overtime last week to extend their win streak to five. Jordan Angeli leads Santa Clara in scoring with three goals, and goalkeeper Bianca Henninger has gathered 13 saves in goal with five goals allowed. Jerry Smith enters his 23rd season as head coach of the Broncos, who went 4-12-4 last season in an uncommon and injury-plagued year. USC is 4-1 all-time against Santa Clara, with the Trojans winning the last four games including a 2-1 win last season at McAlister Field.

FOLLOW ALONG: Live stats will be available for this weekend's games. Click on the Gametracker link on the USC soccer schedule page at

LAST WEEK: USC netted another winning weekend with a successful road trip through Oklahoma. Up against its second ranked opponent of the year in No. 21 Oklahoma State, USC grabbed a 1-0 win on a game-winner in the 41st minute from Samantha Johnson. Two days later at Oklahoma, it was another USC freshman who tallied the winning strike with Courtney Garcia struck early again on a cross from Marihelen Tomer for a 1-0 lead on the Sooners. A red card issued to Chelsea Buenhing took the sophomore defender out of the game in the 35th minute, but the Trojans stayed a step ahead of the Sooners despite playing a man down the rest of the way. Goalkeeper Kristin Olsen earned both shutouts, getting two saves against the Cowgirls and six against the Sooners to run the senior's career shutout count up to 22 with her first solo shutouts of the year. For her efforts, Olsen has been named this week's Pac-10 Player of the Week.

FRESHMAN FIRSTS... AND SECONDS: Freshman forward Sam Johnson had her breakout game with a goal and two assists in USC's win over Cal State Fullerton for a four-point day. That game also saw another freshman first with Courtney Garcia's game-winning goal. Garcia struck on a long-range shot off the post in the early third minute of play. It was not only USC's fastest goal of the year, but also USC's first game-winning goal this season. Last weekend, the freshman tandem each snagged game-winners for the Trojans in a winning run through Oklahoma, giving each two goals on the year, and netting Garcia her second game-winning goal of her first year at Troy. For her winning score over the ranked Cowgirls, Johnson was selected as a Primetime Performer for the week.

ON THE BRINK: As NCAA Champions, Kristin Olsen, Alyssa Dávila, Megan Ohai, Ashli Sandoval and Marihelen Tomer are already in the USC history books. But those players are also locking in on the Trojan top-10 lists in several different categories. USC's winningest goalkeeper with 38 victories now, Olsen has added two more shutouts to her total to currently stand at 22, with the No. 1 career mark set at 25. Before suffering a season-ending ACL tear on Sept. 11, Sandoval had moved up to rank No. 4 in career assists with 21, and with 37 points she's now just two away from tying at the No. 10 spot for career points. Dávila and Ohai, meanwhile, also have nowhere but up to go on the career game-winning goals chart. Tomer now stands at the fourth-best count with 9; Dávila is next with 8; and Ohai has scored 5 so far. Also looming on the horizon for the group is the career goals top-10. Dávila's two-goal game on Sept. 11 cracked the top-10 for the junior, who now has 15 career goals to join a group of 11 Women of Troy who have ever scored 14 or more goals in a career. Ohai (13) and Tomer (11) all have that mark within reach if they even come close to matching last season's production.

SHUFFLING THE BACK: The USC defense has had a different makeup just about every week of this 2009 season. Senior Meagan Holmes started USC's first game, but a knee injury has kept the All-American off the field since. Junior Ashli Sandoval moved from the midfield to the back to fill in for Holmes, but Sandoval suffered a season-ending ACL injury on Sept. 11 to bring up another version for the defense. Goalkeeper Kristin Olsen missed her first game on Sept. 11 after being issued a red card in the previous game, and outside back Chelsea Buehning will miss her first game on Sept. 25 for the same reason. That leaves sophomore Claire Schloemer and junior Karter Haug as USC's two mainstays in the back, although the Trojans have been successful in their game-to-game defensive adjustments. Freshmen Kelly Morgan and Stephanie Morgan each have picked up their first starts in the back to bring more depth to that USC back line.

TROJAN TRAVELERS: Summer vacation took on an international twist for two Women of Troy who received call-ups to the U.S. Under-23 National Team for overseas competition. Senior goalkeeper Kristin Olsen competed with the U-23 squad in Ireland earlier in the summer, and was joined by junior midfielder Megan Ohai for action in England in July. For both players, the summer training was their first with the Under-23 team, although both have been pool players at the younger U.S. levels.

STILL GOT IT: Three All-Americans have graduated from the USC roster, but two more remain in seniors Meagan Holmes and Kristin Olsen. That pairing represents a part of the powerful USC defensive corps, while offensively the Trojans bring back a big group of USC's widespread scoring attack. Of the nine players who provided at least four goals apiece for USC in 2008, six return to the front lines. Ashli Sandoval was USC's top scorer with 21 points as a 2008 sophomore, including six goals. Sandoval, Alyssa Dávila (7), Megan Ohai (5), Carly Butcher (5), Marihelen Tomer (4) and Ashley Freyer (4) combined for 31 or USC's 51 goals scored in 2008, with returning Pac-10 All-Freshman pick Brittany Kerridge adding one.

EARLY HERMANN NOD: Senior goalkeeper Kristin Olsen has earned her first major honor of the 2009 women's soccer season in being named to the Watch List for the MAC Hermann Trophy. It is Olsen's second time on the Hermann Trophy Watch List, also named in 2008 after she was a finalist for the Honda Award in 2007 when the Trojans won their first-ever NCAA Championship. The Hermann Trophy winners are selected by Division I head coaches who are current members of the NSCAA. The list of 45 is cut down to 15 semifinalists in November, with three finalists announced in early December. Recent graduate Amy Rodriguez is the only other Trojan to earn two selections to the Hermann Trophy Watch List (2006 and 2008).

NEW IN `09: USC welcomes the arrival of seven newcomers to the roster for 2009, as head coach Ali Khosroshahin has a group of fresh Trojans who largely boast a balance in abilities that will bolster the USC's push through the Pac-10 and beyond. Joining the Trojan roster for the 2009 campaign are Courtney Garcia, Samantha Johnson, Kelly Morgan, Stephanie Morgan, Morgan Morrow, Kat Parker and Lainie Ransom. All Californians except for Delaware native Morrow -- who is redshirting the season due to a knee injury -- each one factors in for playing time this year. Garcia and Johnson have been tabbed as dangerous scoring threats up front, and both have already flexed that muscle with two goals apiece after USC's first eight games. Kelly Morgan and Stephanie Morgan have shown the knack for either defensive or midfield duties; and Parker and Ransom largely play a central midfield role in the Trojan gameplan.

FINAL COUNT: Two seasons out from USC's historic 2007 NCAA Championship, nine players still remain from that title-winning squad. Led by fifth-year players Meagan Holmes and Marihelen Tomer and true senior and All-American Kristin Olsen, the Trojans still have a hefty depth charge of experienced athletes. Juniors Ashli Sandoval, Megan Ohai and Kasey Johnson have each earned national and regional honors as Trojans, heaping further acclaim on USC's roster. All told, the Women of Troy have 15 players back from the 2008 squad, including seven starters, and there are seven newcomers to the roster for 2009.

LAST SEASON: In 2008, USC broke through the NCAA Second Round for the second straight season, following up 2007's NCAA championship run with a trip to the 2008 NCAA Third Round. USC came up against Pac-10 and crosstown rival UCLA in that round, falling to the Bruins to finish out the year with a 16-5-2 overall record after a third-place finish in the Pac-10 at 5-3-1.

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