Croix Bethune's Quick Hat Trick Powers USC Women's Soccer Past GCU, 6-0, in NCAA Tournament 1st Round
LOS ANGELES – Croix Bethune scored a hat trick in the first nine minutes of play and the No. 11 USC women's soccer team matched a program postseason record with six goals in a 6-0 drubbing of Grand Canyon in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday.
Bethune, who picked up Pac-12 Midfielder of the Year honors earlier this week, finished the game with three goals and two assists. Her eight total points are tied for the second most in a game in program history. The commanding victory moves third-seeded USC on to the second round of the tournament in which the Trojans will host Penn State on Friday at McAlister Field.
The Trojans' star midfielder got USC on the board with a fourth minute goal and then added a second just over two minutes later. Her third goal of the game came with 8:45 elapsed on the clock. She would add the first of her assists in the 19th minute, when she fed Simi Awujo for a strike that put the Trojans comfortably ahead, 4-0.
Penelope Hocking, who assisted Bethune's second goal of the game, got the favor returned early in the second half when Bethune found her for a goal in the 47th minute. Aaliyah Farmer added the capper, scoring just over a minute later to make it 6-0.
The USC defense was more than up to the task on the day, holding the Lopes to nine shots and four corners in the shutout. None of the Grand Canyon shots were on frame as Anna Smith picked up her eighth shutout of the season without having to make a save. The Trojans had 21 different players see minutes in Saturday's game.
4' – USC: Croix Bethune (assisted by Savannah DeMelo) – Demelo worked her way towards the endline and sent a cross in from the right, finding Bethune near the far post for the tap in.
7' – USC: Croix Bethune (assisted by Penelope Hocking) – Hocking made a run up the left side and sent a cross into the area, where DeMelo made a dummy run over the ball and Bethune was there to punch it home in front of the net.
9' – USC: Croix Bethune (unassisted) – Bethune made a run right up the middle of the GCU defense, taking on two defenders in the area and dribbling past both before sliding a shot past the keeper.
47' – USC: Penelope Hocking (assisted by Croix Bethune) – Hocking and Bethune played give and go, with Hocking picking off a pass and finding Bethune, then Bethune sending it back to Hocking near the top of the box who fired home a one-touch rocket into the upper left corner.
48' – USC: Aaliyah Farmer (assisted by Simone Jackson, Penelope Hocking) – Hocking carried the ball into the right side of the penalty area and sent a pass back towards to center, where Jackson tapped it to Farmer and Farmer fired home a shot inside the left post.
The third-seeded Trojans will play host to a trio of games next week, with USC taking on Penn State and Hofstra taking on South Carolina on Friday, and then the winner of the two games playing on Sunday at McAlister Field. More information, including game times, ticket sales and broadcast information will follow soon.
— USC Women's Soccer (@USC_WSoccer) November 13, 2021