USC Settles In At Home For Showdown With San Diego

Sept. 29, 2009

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THIS WEEK: The USC women's soccer team carries a six-game win streak back to McAlister Field this week after a four-game road stretch. The Trojans (7-3-0) has just one nonconference game left before Pac-10 play begins, as No. 19 USC hosts No. 25 San Diego (6-3-1) in a 3 p.m. match on Friday (Oct. 2) at McAlister Field.

RANKINGS: USC is back up in the rankings this week after several weeks out of the loop. Recent wins over ranked teams has pulled the Trojans up to rank No. 19 according to Soccer America, and USC is receiving votes in NSCAA and Soccer Times. San Diego stands at No. 25 in the NSCAA poll. All three Trojan losses on the year have been to teams that are now nationally ranked by NSCAA: #15 Ohio State, #16 Texas A&M and #17 St. John's.

SCOUTING SAN DIEGO: The No. 25 Toreros are 6-3-1 overall after falling 5-0 at No. 22 Kansas and beating Missouri State 1-0 last week. Erica Peeples leads USD in scoring with three goals, and goalkeeper Courtney Parsons has gathered 37 saves and allowed 12 goals in 10 appearances. Ada Greenwood is in his seventh season as head coach of the Toreros, who went 15-3-3 overall last season, falling to UCLA in the 2008 NCAA Second Round. USC is 6-2-1 all-time against the Toreros, winning in the past four meetings including last year's 1-0 win in overtime in San Diego.

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

LAST WEEK: USC expanded its win streak out to six in a row with another winning road trip for the Trojans. Although Pacific managed to crack the short shutout run USC had set on its previous trip, the Women of Troy had an answer for the Tigers' two goals. USC drove in three goals in a 10-minute span to take the lead and tally the road win on scores from Brittany Kerridge, Marihelen Tomer and Courtney Garcia. Two days later, USC was in hostile territory once again, playing at No. 9 Santa Clara's home field. The Broncos had won six straight entering the match with the Trojans, but Chelsea Buehning's goal in the 50th minute put Santa Clara on the ropes. Kristin Olsen hauled in a career-high eight saves to hold the Broncos scoreless, while Alyssa Dávila scored a counterattack goal with just a minute left to secure a 2-0 upset win for USC over the ninth-ranked SCU. It was the third shutout in four games for Olsen. For Buehning, the game-winning goal was the first score of her career, while Garcia's game-winner against Pacific netted the freshman her third game-winning goal this season.

STRONG FOR WEEKS: Goalkeeper Kristin Olsen earned two shutouts on USC's winning road trip through Oklahoma. She had two saves against the Cowgirls and six against the No. 21 Sooners for her first solo shutouts of the year. For her efforts, Olsen was named Pac-10 Player of the Week for the third time in her Trojan career. Last weekend, Olsen's latest highlight came in an eight-save shutout of No. 9 Santa Clara, in which she matched her career high and worked herself onto another honors list as a Primetime Performer for the week and was selected Pac-10 Player of the Week for the second straight week. The back-to-back Pac-10 selection makes Olsen just the third player all-time to win consecutive weekly honors from the conference. The pick is the fourth of her career, lifting Olsen to a tie in the Pac-10 for the most career player of the week selections.

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. In a winning run through Oklahoma, the freshman tandem each snagged game-winners for the Trojans, 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.

... AND THIRDS: USC freshman Courtney Garcia is 3-for-3 so far in game-winning goals. She's scored three times in her young career as a Trojans, and all three goals have stood strong as the game-winner. Three GWGs is the 10th most scored by a Trojan in USC history.

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 three more shutouts to her total to currently stand at 23, 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 16 career goals to join a group of 11 Women of Troy who have ever scored 14 or more goals in a career. And with a pair of goals already this season, Ohai (13) and Tomer (12) all have that same distinction within reach.

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 missed her first game on Sept. 25 for the same reason. Yellow-card trouble will hold Karter Haug out of the junior's first game in her career, as she is sidelined for the Oct. 2 match with San Diego, leaving sophomore Claire Schloemer as the only Trojan defender to play in every game this season. Despite the fluctuating personnel on the back line, 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 defensive corps, and Holmes is expected to return to action shortly.

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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