No. 21 USC Women's Soccer Team Heads to Tempe and Tucson
THIS WEEK - The No. 21 USC women's soccer team, currently riding a six-game winning streak, hits the road for its second week of Pac-12 play, taking on Arizona State on Thursday and then Arizona on Sunday.
HOW TO FOLLOW - Both games will be televised live on the Pac-12 Network. 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. ASU - USC owns a 17-8 record all-time against the Sun Devils since the teams first played in 1996. ASU won last season's meeting, 1-0 in Tempe. Prior to that, USC had won five straight in the series.
SERIES VS. ARIZONA - USC owns a 21-4-2 lead in the all-time series since the teams first played in 1994. The Trojans have won seven straight against the Wildcats, dating back to 2014.
BACK IN THE RANKINGS - USC moved back into the United Soccer Coaches Top 25 poll this week, coming in at No. 21. The Trojans are also 27th in the RPI ratings.
LAST WEEK - The Trojans opened up Pac-12 play at home last week, beating previously undefeated Oregon State, 2-1. USC fell behind 1-0 early in the contest, but Croix Bethune equalized in the 23rd minute and Penelope Hocking scored the winner in the 85th minute.
STREAKING - After losing its first two games of the year, USC has won six straight and have shut out four of their last five opponents. The Trojans have outscored their opponents 19-3 over that span.
ON THE VERGE OF HISTORY - Penelope Hocking currently sits one goal away from tying the USC all-time scoring record and two from breaking it. Her 47 career goals are currently second on the list, trailing only Isabelle Harvey's 48 goals.
- Currently second on the team in points this season with 5 goals and 2 assists (12 pts)
- Career numbers: 2nd all-time in goals with 47 (leader: 48), 2nd in points with 112 (leader: 135), 2nd in game-winning goals with 15 (leader: 21), 7th in assists with 18 (leader: 39) and 2nd in shots with 236 (leader: 252)
- Last season 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
- 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 (6 goals, 2 assists, 14 points). Bethune has scored in five of USC's eight games and is tied for 4th in the conference with her six goals. The junior midfielder recorded the second multi-goal game of her career at UCSB, scoring twice in the 3-0 win. She was also named the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week after scoring the equalizer and providing the assist on the game-winner against Oregon State.
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 four shutouts. She was named the Pac-12 Goalkeeper of the Week on 9/6 after 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 5th in the Pac-12 with 33 saves and her .825 save percentage is 5th best in the conference. For her career, Smith has a 17-5-1 record and 7 shutouts.
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 seven 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.