No. 25 USC Women's Soccer Hits the Road for Two-Game Utah Swing
THIS WEEK - The No. 25 USC women's soccer team hits the road for the first time this season, heading to Utah for a pair of games. The Trojans will take on No. 24 BYU on Thursday night and then Utah Valley on Saturday night.
HOW TO FOLLOW - Thursday's match at BYU will be broadcast live on BYUtv and Saturday's game at Utah Valley will be broadcast live on ESPN+. 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.
SERIES VS. BYU - USC leads the all-time series 4-2-3. The teams faced off last season in Los Angeles, with USC picking up a thrilling 4-3 victory in overtime. Jennifer Westendorf scored the game-winner in OT in that contest.
SERIES VS. UTAH VALLEY - Saturday's game will be the first between the Trojans and Wolverines.
LAST TIME OUT - The Trojans came up short at home against Pepperdine in their opening match last week, falling 2-0 to the Waves. USC dominated possession during the game and created the bulk of the chances, especially in the first half, but the Trojans were unable to finish all afternoon. Pepperdine scored late in each half to pick up the win.
HERMANN WATCH - USC's Penelope Hocking and Savannah DeMelo were both named to the preseason watch list for the MAC Hermann Trophy, college soccer's top award. Both players are no stranger to the Hermann Trophy radar, with Hocking being named a semifinalist for the award last season and DeMelo being on the watch list each of the last three seasons.
EARLY SEASON POLLS - USC was selected 14th in the national preseason coaches poll and was picked to finish 2nd in the Pac-12 preseason coaches poll. The Trojans garnered three first place votes in the conference poll. USC dropped to No. 25 after their opening game loss to now-No. 8 Pepperdine.
LAST SEASON - The 2020 season was delayed until the spring of 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Trojans finished 7-3-4 overall and 6-3-2 in Pac-12 play, grabbing 2nd in the conference standings. USC made its 7th straight postseason appearance, continuing a streak that started when Head Coach Keidane McAlpine arrived in 2014. USC was bounced from the postseason in its opening game (2nd round/1st round bye) falling to Ole Miss in PK's.
FULLERTON EXHIBITION - The Trojans got some preseason work in against Cal State Fullerton before the start of the season, beating the Titans 2-1 in an exhibition. The teams played three 30 minute periods and used most of their available rosters. USC got an early goal from Zoe Burns and then a late PK from Madeline Vergura.
PENELOPE HOCKING - Hocking enters her senior season in position to rewrite the USC record books. She sits 2nd all-time in goals with 42 (leader: 48), 3rd in career points with 100 (leader: 135), 2nd in game-winning goals with 13 (leader: 21), tied-10th in assists with 16 (leader: 39) and 6th in career shots with 207 (leader: 252). Last season, Hocking was named to the All-America first team, a semifinalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy and the Pac-12 Forward of the Year, in addition to being an Academic All-American. She is the only USC player to ever have at least 10 goals in each of her first three collegiate seasons, has been named to the All-Pac-12 team each of the last three years, and was also a Freshman All-American and the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year in 2018.
SAVANNAH DeMELO - DeMelo enters the 2021 season as a 5th-year senior, looking to close out a career that has already seen her earn All-Pac-12 honors three times and All-American recognition once. DeMelo is currently tied for 6th on the USC career assists list with 21 (leader: 39) and owns the 6th best single-season assist total in program history with 10 helpers in 2018.
ANNA SMITH - After battling for the starting job with All-American Kaylie Collins for the last three years, Smith enters the season as the Trojans' starting keeper and the only goalie on the USC roster with any collegiate experience. She has made 19 career appearances in goal for the Trojans and has 15 starts and three solo-shutouts under her belt.
2021 SCHEDULE - The Trojans once again play one of the toughest schedules in the country this year. The 18-game slate features seven homes games and 11 road games, with USC facing seven opponents who made the NCAA Tournament last year and nine who are currently ranked or receiving votes in the preseason coaches poll.
ROSTER DEPTH - The Trojans enter the season with a 35-player roster. USC returns 20 letterwinners from last season, heading into the year with four All-Pac-12 honorees, three All-Region players and one First-Team All-American. The Trojans also brought in the No. 4 recruiting class in the nation and added All-Pac-12 transfer Jada Talley.