USC Women's Soccer Heads to No. 24 Michigan, Western Michigan
THIS WEEK - The USC women's soccer team stays on the road this week for a pair of non-conference matches in the Midwest. The Trojans face No. 24 Michigan on Friday and then head to Western Michigan on Sunday.
HOW TO FOLLOW - Friday's match at Michigan will be broadcast live on BTN+ and Sunday's game at Western Michigan 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. MICHIGAN - USC owns a 4-0 record all-time against the Wolverines, with the teams last playing in 2009 (a 2-1 victory in Los Angeles for USC). The Trojans have traveled to Ann Arbor twice, picking up road wins in 2003 (2-1) and 2007 (2-0).
SERIES VS. WMU - Sunday's game will be the first between the Trojans and Western Michigan Broncos.
LAST TIME OUT - The Trojans went 1-1 on the road in Utah last week, falling to now-No. 14 BYU, 2-1, and beating Utah Valley 4-2. USC scored on a late PK at BYU for their lone goal and also missed out on another PK chance on a controversial no-call on a takedown in the area. Four different Trojans scored at Utah Valley, with Savannah DeMelo opening the goal parade, followed by Simone Jackson, Aaliyah Farmer and Croix Bethune. Katie Roditis had two assists in the game.
USC CONNECTION - Michigan Head Coach Jennifer Klein was formerly an assistant on the USC coaching staff. Klein spent four seasons at USC, joining the Trojans in 2014 when Head Coach Keidane McAlpine was hired.
CAREER FIRSTS - a pair of USC freshmen notched their first career goals at Utah Valley last week, with Simone Jackson and Aaliyah Farmer finding the back of the net. Farmer also provided an assist on the final goal of the game.
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.
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.
CROIX BETHUNE - Bethune, who was named to the All-Pac-12 first team in her inaugural season this past fall, leads USC in goals and points so far this year. Bethune scored against both BYU and Utah Valley on the road, converting a PK against the Cougars and then putting the exclamation point on USC's four-goal day at Utah Valley with an 86th minute strike. The Trojan midfielder also assisted on the first goal of the game at Utah Valley to give her five total points so far this season.
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. She scored USC's first goal in the run of play this season, posting an 11th-minute strike against Utah Valley.
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 coming into the season. She is the only USC keeper to have played a c
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.