USC Women's Soccer Opens NCAA Tournament Against Ole Miss
THIS WEEK - The USC women's soccer team opens up NCAA Tournament play on Friday, facing Ole Miss in a second round matchup.
NCAA 2nd RD - USC (7-3-3) vs. Ole Miss (10-5-1) - Friday, April 30, 3/6 p.m. PT/ET (Wilmington, N.C.) - NCAA Live Stream
HOW TO FOLLOW - Friday's NCAA Tournament opener for the Trojans will be streamed live. Links for the broadcasts and live stats can be found on the women's soccer schedule page at USCTrojans.com. In-game updates will also be available on Twitter by following @USC_Wsoccer.
SOCIAL MEDIA - Keep up with everything USC women's soccer this year by following the Trojans on all of their social media platforms. You can follow @USCWsoccer on Instagram and @USC_Wsoccer on Twitter, and like USC Women's Soccer on Facebook.
SEASON FINALE - The Trojans finished the regular season on April 16 at home against No. 3 UCLA, playing to a 2-2 draw with the Bruins for the second time this year. Penelope Hocking and Tara McKeown each scored in the game for USC. McKeown scored twice in the first meeting between the teams, which was a non-conference match on March 18.
POSTSEASON DRAW - The Trojans drew the eighth overall season in the 2020-21 postseason, earning a first-round bye in the 48-team tournament. USC's second-round game will be held in Wilmington, N.C. on the campus of UNC Wilmington. The subsequent rounds will all be in Cary, N.C. at WakeMed Soccer Park.
POSTSEASON HISTORY - USC is making its 19th NCAA Postseason appearance this year and seventh straight since Keidane McAlpine took over the program in 2014. USC has won two National Championships in its history, becoming the first Pac-12 program to win a title in 2007 and then the first program from the conference to win a second title in 2016 (McAlpine's third year at the helm). The Trojans have only missed the postseason nine times in the program's 28 year history and have advanced past at least the first round in 13 of its last 18 tournaments. Since 2015, USC has won at least one game in each tournament, most recently making it to the fourth round (quarterfinals) of the 2019 tournament.
ROAD TO THE POSTSEASON - In a season already upended by the Covid-19 pandemic, USC was in an unusual position early in the year after dropping three of its first six games in the shortened 2020-21 campaign. Following their road loss to Colorado on March 15, however, the Trojans finished the year unbeaten, going 4-0-3 down the stretch. Two of USC's three draws came against No. 3 UCLA and the other was on the road at defending national champions Stanford. The Trojans finished second in the always-loaded Pac-12 conference, going 6-3-2 in league play. USC was 3-0-2 against ranked opponents this year and spent the entire season ranked in the Top 25. The Trojans' lone non-conference win came against BYU, who grabbed the 12th overall seed in the bracket.
SERIES VS. OLE MISS - The Trojans and Rebels have faced off once in their history, playing to a 1-1 draw in 2013 at a neutral site game in Minneapolis.
ALL-PAC-12 - Six Trojans earned recognition on the All-Pac-12 awards last week, with Penelope Hocking highlighting the awards as the conference's Forward of the Year. She's the second straight Trojan to win the award, joining teammate Tara McKeown, who won it in 2019. McKeown joined Hocking and Croix Bethune on the All-Pac-12 first team, while Samantha Bruder and Savannah DeMelo were named to the second team, and Kaylie Collins earned third team honors. Bethune was also named to the league's All-Freshman team.
BETHUNE'S HAT TRICK - Croix Bethune scored her first career hat trick against the Golden Bears on the road late in the season. The three goals were actually the first of Bethune's career, as she missed her true freshman season to an ACL injury. The Trojan midfielder also recorded an assist in the game to finish with seven total points. She earned Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week honors for her efforts. It was the second hat trick of the year for a USC player, as Penelope Hocking also recorded one against Washington.
PERRYMAN'S WEEKLY HONOR - Lily Perryman earned Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week honors after the Trojans' two shutouts in the Bay Area the second to last weekend of the year. Perryman played the full 110 minutes in the shutout at Stanford and then a full 90 at Cal as the Trojans' holding midfielder. Perryman also scored her first career goal in the win over Cal and added an assist in the contest as well. She's the first Trojan to pick up defensive weekly honors this season.
HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE - The Trojans were unbeatable at home this year, with a 6-0-1 record and five shutouts in the Coliseum this season. After a 4-3 overtime win over BYU to start the year, the Trojans shut out their next five opponents at home, for a 469 minute scoreless streak in the Coliseum, before finishing the regular season with a 2-2 draw against No. 3 UCLA.
MILESTONE VICTORY - USC Head Coach Keidane McAlpine picked up his 100th win as the Trojans' manager earlier this season against Washington. He is the second USC coach to reach 100 wins with USC and is the fastest to do so. McAlpine has an overall coaching record of 167-86-33 in 14 seasons. He is in his seventh season in charge at USC and has led the Trojans to at least 12 wins and a postseason appearance each year, including a national title in 2016. Jim Millinder tops USC's all-time wins list with 132 victories in 11 seasons at Troy, reaching the 100 win plateau in his 8th year with USC.
HOCKING NOTES - Penelope Hocking's steady climb up the USC career lists continues as she became just the second Trojan to reach the 40 goal plateau earlier this season with her hat trick against Washington. Hocking sits second on USC's all-time scoring list with her 42 goals, trailing only Isabelle Harvey (48 goals). Her 100 total points are third on USC's career list, and her 13 game-winning goals are second, also trailing Harvey (21 game-winners). Hocking's hat trick was the third of her career and sixth multi-goal game she has recorded for the Trojans. The junior forward was named the Pac-12's Offensive Player of the Week for her three-goal effort. She finished the regular season leading the conference with 10 goals and was named the Pac-12 Forward of the Year and to the all-conference first team.
McKEOWN NOTES - Tara McKeown currently sits second on the team and sixth in the conference with seven goals this year. She recently passed Amy Rodriguez for fifth on USC's all-time scoring list, posting her 32nd career goal against UCLA. The senior forward earned Pac-12 Player of the Week honors after scoring two goals in the Trojans' season-opening win over then-No. 10 BYU at home. She also posted a brace against UCLA in the teams' non-conference draw. McKeown was drafted eighth overall by the Washington Spirit in the 2021 NWSL Draft earlier this year and was named to the All-Pac-12 first team for the second straight year.
COLLINS NOTES - Senior goalkeeper Kaylie Collins has started in goal each of the last five shutouts for USC, earning herself four solo-shutouts this season. She was named Pac-12 Goalkeeper of the Week earlier in the year after shutouts of Washington and Washington State at home. Collins' four solo-shutouts this season give her 27 for her career to put her second all-time in program history (Kristen Olsen - 29). She has made 37 saves on the year, earning All-Pac-12 third team honors. She was drafted in the fourth round of the 2021 NWSL Draft earlier this year by the Orlando Pride.
COLLEGIATE FIRSTS - Several Trojans recorded collegiate firsts over the last several weeks. Freshmen Angles Escobar and Katie Roditis each tallied their first collegiate goals against the Washington schools, and Escobar also picked up her first assists with two helpers against Washington. Alexa Gonzalez and Mary Shin also recorded their first collegiate caps in the Trojans' win over Washington. Croix Bethune and Lily Perryman scored their first collegiate goals against Cal as well.
LAST YEAR - The Trojans made another NCAA Tournament run last year, coming up just short of the College Cup. USC finished the 2019 season 17-5-1 overall, ending their campaign in the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament against national runners-up North Carolina. USC reached as high as No. 2 in the national rankings in 2019 and made their sixth straight postseason appearance.
MAC HERMANN WATCH - Three Trojans were named to the MAC Hermann Trophy watch list this year, with Tara McKeown, Penelope Hocking and Savannah DeMelo all on the 54 player list. McKeown was a semifinalist for college soccer's top award last year and DeMelo has been on the watch list each of the last three seasons. USC has had at least a semifinalist for the award three of the last four years.
NWSL DRAFT - Two NWSL Drafts have passed since the Trojans last played a game and four USC players have been selected. Following the 2019 campaign, Natalie Jacobs was selected by the Washington Spirit with the 13th overall selection, and Julia Bingham was taken by the Chicago Red Stars 15th overall. Both went on to play for their respective teams the following season. This year's NWSL draft was unique in that selected players are still eligible to compete in both the spring and fall of 2021, if they choose. Tara McKeown was taken eight overall by the Spirit and Kaylie Collins was selected in the fourth round by the Orlando Pride. Both McKeown and Collins will play with the Trojans this spring.
TROJANS IN THE NWSL - With a new NWSL season kicking off recently, eight different USC alums are currently playing in the league.
Katie Johnson - Chicago Red Stars
Ally Prisock - Houston Dash
Ashley Nick - Kansas City
Amy Rodriguez - Kansas City
Mandy Freeman - NY/NJ Gotham FC
Elizabeth Eddy - NY/NJ Gotham FC
Leah Pruitt - OL Reign
Natalie Jacobs - Washington Spirit