No. 11 USC Women's Soccer Hosts Colorado, Utah
THIS WEEK - The No. 11 USC women's soccer team returns home riding an eight-game winning streak and holding the top spot in the conference standings, hosting Colorado on Thursday and then Utah on Sunday for a pair of Pac-12 matches.
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. COLORADO - USC owns an 8-4 record all-time against the Buffaloes since the teams first played in 2000. Colorado won the matchup in Boulder, 3-2 in overtime, last season. USC had won five straight prior to that.
SERIES VS. UTAH - USC owns an 8-3-3 lead in the all-time series since the teams first played in 1995. The Utes won last season's meeting, 2-0, in Salt Lake City. The teams have battled to a draw in three of their last six matchups and have gone to overtime four times over that span. The Trojans are 6-0 all-time against Utah.
LATINX HERITAGE MONTH/MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS - Thursday's game will be a celebration of Latinx Heritage Month at McAlister Field and Sunday's game will be the Trojans' mental health awareness match.
BACK IN THE RANKINGS - USC moved back into the United Soccer Coaches Top 25 poll last week, coming in at No. 21 and after two wins in Arizona, USC moved up to No. 11 this week. The Trojans started the season ranked No. 14 in the preseason poll, but fell out of the rankings after two early losses. USC is No. 23 in the RPI rankings.
LAST WEEK - The Trojans went 2-0 on the road in Arizona last week. USC erased early 1-0 deficits in both games, beating ASU 2-1 and Arizona 4-1. Savannah DeMelo scored the winner against ASU and Jada Talley scored the winner in her return to Tucson.
STREAKING - After losing its first two games of the year, USC has won eight straight, including all three of their Pac-12 games so far. The Trojans have outscored their opponents 25-5 over that span.
ON THE VERGE OF HISTORY - Penelope Hocking currently sits one goal away from breaking the USC all-time scoring record. Her 48 career goals are tied for the program record with Isabelle Harvey (1996-00) after she scored the equalizing goal against Arizona last week.
- Currently second on the team in points this season with 6 goals and 2 assists (14 pts).
- Career numbers: T-1st all-time in goals with 48, 2nd in points with 114 (leader: 135), 2nd in game-winning goals with 15 (leader: 21), 7th in assists with 18 (leader: 39) and 2nd in shots with 244 (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 (7 goals, 3 assists, 17 points). Bethune has scored in six of USC's 10 games and is tied for 3rd in the conference with her seven 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 year, posting an 11th-minute strike at Utah Valley and scored the winner against ASU. She 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 and her .800 save percentage is 5th best in the conference. For her career, Smith has a 19-5-1 record and 7 shutouts.
PLAYER QUICK HITS:
- Freshman Aaliyah Farmer has started all but two games 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 and scored the equalizing goal against Arizona State.
- 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 two assists in eight 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)
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.