USC Women's Soccer Hosts Oregon State for Pac-12 Opener
THIS WEEK - The USC women's soccer team takes a five-game winning streak into Pac-12 play this week, hosting Oregon State for its conference opener on Friday afternoon.
HOW TO FOLLOW - Friday's home game will be televised live on the Pac-12 Network. Links for the broadcast 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. OSU - USC owns a 25-5-2 record in the all-time series between the teams, coming in having won eight straight against the Beavers. The teams played at the Coliseum this past spring, with USC picking up a 2-0 win.
PAC-12 OPENERS - Friday's game marks the start of conference play for the Trojans, with USC owning a 14-8-4 record all-time in Pac-12 openers.
LAST WEEK - The Trojans went 2-0 last week, picking up a 3-0 win on the road at UC Santa Barbara and then closing non-conference play with a 4-0 drubbing of CSUN at home. Penelope Hocking had a goal and an assist in each game, and Croix Bethune posted a brace against UCSB. Jada Talley, Hannah White and Julia Gomez also scored against CSUN at home.
STREAKING - After losing its first two games of the year, USC has won five straight and have shut out their last four opponents. The Trojans have outscored their opponents 17-2 over that span and USC has not allowed a goal since Aug. 28 at Utah Valley, a streak of 363 scoreless minutes.
ON THE VERGE OF HISTORY - Penelope Hocking currently sits two goals away from tying the USC all-time scoring record and three from breaking it. Her 46 career goals are currently second on the list, trailing only Isabelle Harvey's 48 goals.
HOCKING NOTES - Despite missing some time early in the year, Hocking sits second on the team in points with four goals and two assists. In her senior year, Hocking is in position to rewrite the USC record books. She sits 2nd all-time in goals with 46 (leader: 48), 2nd in career points with 110 (leader: 135), 2nd in game-winning goals with 14 (leader: 21), 7th in assists with 18 (leader: 39) and 3rd in career shots with 228 (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.
CROIX BETHUNE - Bethune, who was named to the All-Pac-12 first team in her inaugural season this past spring, leads USC in goals and points so far this year (5 goals, 1 assist, 11 points). Bethune has scored in four of USC's seven games and is tied for 5th in the conference with her five goals. The junior midfielder recorded the second multi-goal game of her career at UCSB, scoring twice in the 3-0 win.
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 6th on the USC career assists list with 22 (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. She also has one assist.
ANNA SMITH - After battling for the starting job with All-American Kaylie Collins for the last three years, Smith came into the 2021 season as the Trojans' starting keeper and the only goalie on the USC roster with any collegiate experience. So far this year, Smith has played every minute in goal, posting shutouts in the Trojans' last four contests. She was named the Pac-12 Goalkeeper of the Week on 9/6 after the two clean sheets and a PK save against No. 16 Michigan and Western Michigan on the road. Smith has two PK saves this year, is third in the Pac-12 with 30 saves and her .833 save percentage is fifth best in the conference.
PLAYER QUICK HITS:
- Freshman Aaliyah Farmer has started all but one game (Senior Day) as the Trojans' holding midfielder, helping the team to four shutouts while also sitting third in points. She headed home her first career goal against Utah Valley and then headed home the winner in OT against No. 16 Michigan. Farmer has two goals and two assists (6 points).
- Freshman Brooklyn Courtnall has started and played every minute as a center back for the Trojans so far this year, helping the team to four shutouts. She is the only player other than GK Anna Smith to have played every minute for USC. Courtnall posted her first career assist against CSUN, providing the helper on Hannah White's 71st minute strike.
- Freshman Simone Jackson, the No. 3 recruit in the country this past recruiting cycle, scored her first career goal against Utah Valley earlier this year. She also recorded her first assist at UC Santa Barbara.
- After suffering through injuries her first two seasons, Hannah White has become a real attacking threat off the bench for USC, posting two goals and one assist in six games played.
- Freshman Simi Awujo scored her first career goal against Western Michigan (9/5) and freshman Julia Gomez scored her first goal against CSUN (9/19)
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.
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.