NCAA women's soccer tournament first round: USC prevails on penalties over Cal State Fullerton

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John McGillen

Day one of the NCAA women's soccer tournament was a success for the Pac-12, with three of four teams earning victories to advance to the second round. USC, Arizona and Stanford all claimed wins while Washington fell at Texas A&M.

USC

Erasing two deficits, fourth-seeded USC defeated Cal State Fullerton 3-3 (4-3) in penalty kicks behind Morgan Andrews’ hat trick.

While the Trojans had allowed just one goal in the last six games, they gave up two in the first half with Christina Burkenroad and Rebecca Wilson each finding the back of the net in the 19th and 34th minutes, respectively. USC had numerous opportunities to score in the opening half, including three shots that hit the woodwork, but came up empty. The Trojans' momentum continued into the second half as just four minutes in Andrews blasted a shot from distance into the upper right corner to cut Fullerton’s lead in half, 2-1.

Andrews then found the equalizer in the 59th minute, this time using her head on a cross from Kayla Mills. However, the visiting Titans grabbed the lead again just one minute later when Jessica Simonian's shot trickled into the Trojan goal. But Keidane McAlpine's crew continued to fight, tying the score again in the 67th minute on another Andrews shot from outside the box.  Andrews struck a low ball across the goal for her 10th goal of the season.  After two scoreless overtime periods, Sammy Jo Prudhomme came up with two clutch saves in penalty kicks to secure the victory for the Trojans. USC will play the winner of the Boston College versus Princeton game in the second round next weekend.

Arizona

In its first-ever NCAA Tournament home game, Arizona dominated Northern Colorado and won 2-0 in Tucson. The Wildcats outshot the Bears 27-7, including 12-3 in shots on goal. Arizona first got on the board in the 39th minute off a free kick when Cali Crisler rocketed a shot toward the Bears' goal, which was saved by Northern Colorado keeper Kaitlin Ruff. Ruff came up with another save on the follow-up by Laura Pimienta, but Jessica Nelson tapped in the rebound to give Arizona the early 1-0 lead. The score was Nelson’s second this season.

The Wildcats put the nail in the Bears’ coffin in the 74th minute after Kaitlyn Lopez was taken down in the penalty area. Sheaffer Skadsen converted the penalty kick for her third goal of the year, beating Ruff to the upper-right corner. Arizona will play the winner of the Santa Clara versus Long Beach State game, which takes place Saturday.

[Related highlights: Wildcats shut out Bears]

Stanford

No. 1-seeded Stanford’s freshmen continued to shine as first-years accounted for both goals in the Cardinal's 2-0 victory over San Jose State. Underclassmen have now accounted for 27 of Stanford’s 37 goals this year.

Redshirt freshman Kyra Carusa tallied her sixth goal of the season in the 17th minute on pretty passing from the Cardinal. Getting end line, Mariah Lee crossed across the mouth of the goal to Michelle Xiao. Xiao one-touched the ball to Carusa at the six yard box, who scored to put Stanford up 1-0.

Just before halftime in the 44th minute, Ryan Walker-Hartshorn received a pass on the right end line and tapped the ball back to freshman Averie Collins, who found the back of the net to give the Pac-12 Champions the 2-0 lead. The score was Collins’ third of the year. The Cardinal outshot the Spartans 16-3 in route to its 26th straight home victory in NCAA play and improved to 5-0-0 against San Jose State.

Stanford will continue its pursuit for its seventh trip to the College Cup in the past eight years, taking on the winner of the BYU versus Utah Valley game in the second round.

[Related highlights: Top-seeded Stanford rolls over Spartans]

Washington

Washington pushed Texas A&M but ultimately lost, 2-1, in College Station, Texas. Haley Pounds led the Aggies, tallying a goal and an assist in the victory. The Huskies are winless in five match-ups against Texas A&M.

Texas A&M first got on the board in the 24th minute when Kate Hajdu played a give-and-go with Pounds. Hajdu slipped a low-driven ball into the corner of the goal to give her team a 1-0 advantage. Pounds increased the Aggies’ lead to 2-0 when she snuck behind the Washington defense. Ashlynn Harryman sent a ball over the top to Pounds, who chested the ball down and sent a volley past Megan Kufeld.

Fighting to play another day, the Huskies sliced the lead in half in the 67th minute. Getting behind the Aggie defense, Kelcie Hedge received the ball, took a touch and served a square ball to Pascale Dumesnil. On a wide-open goal, Dumesnil easily put the ball in the back of the net to bring the score to 2-1. The goal was Dumesnil’s second of the season.

Unable to find the equalizer, Washington ends its season at 11-7-2 and 4-5-1 in Pac-12 play.

[Related highlights: Huskies can't complete comeback against Texas A&M]

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