USC Women's Soccer Hosts Penn State for NCAA Tournament Second Round Matchup
THIS WEEK - The No. 11 USC women's soccer team hosts Penn State for a second round NCAA Tournament matchup on Friday at 1:30 pm. USC will also play host to the second round game between Hofstra and South Carolina on Friday at 11 a.m., with the winners of the two games facing off on Sunday at noon at McAlister Field.
HOW TO FOLLOW - Friday and Sunday's games will be streamed live on Pac-12+, via USCTrojans.com. 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.
FIRST ROUND VICTORY - The Trojans put on a show in their opening round win over Grand Canyon, beating the Lopes 6-0. Croix Bethune recorded the fastest hat trick in program history in the game, scoring three goals in the first 8:45 of play. Bethune finshed with three goals and two assists, posting the second most points in a postseason game in USC history. The shutout was the 20th postseason clean sheet in program history. Penelope Hocking and Simi Awujo also scored in the game.
POSTSEASON SEED - USC drew a 3-seed in the NCAA Tournament this year after finishing the season 13-3-2. It is the 7th straight year that the Trojans have been a national seed in the tournament and the 8th straight season USC has made the postseason.
REGULAR SEASON RECAP - The Trojans finished the regular season second in the Pac-12 standings with an 8-1-2 conference mark, earning an at-large bid to this year's tournament. USC dropped its first two games of the season before rattling off a program-record 11-match winning streak and 15-match unbeaten streak. The Trojans reached as high as No. 5 in the national rankings and were ranked No. 11 in the latest poll. USC's three losses all came to national seeds in this year's tournament field (4-seed Pepperdine, 4-seed BYU, 2-seed UCLA). The Trojans can claim wins over two teams in this year's postseason (2-seed Michigan, Stanford) and a draw with Washington State.
POSTSEASON HISTORY - USC is making its 20th NCAA Postseason appearance this year and eighth straight since Keidane McAlpine took over the program in 2014. USC has won two National Championships in its history, becoming the first Pac-12 program to win a title in 2007 and then the first program from the conference to win a second title in 2016 (McAlpine's third year at the helm). The Trojans have only missed the postseason nine times in the program's 29 year history and have advanced past at least the first round 13 times. USC has been a national seed in the NCAA field each of the last seven years.
OPPONENT INFO - Penn State is making its 27th consecutive NCAA postseason appearance this season, entering the tournament with an at-large bid after going 11-7 during the regular season. The Nittany Lions finished 6th in the Big 10 standings and fell in the quarterfinals of the Big 10 tournament to eventual champions Michigan. Penn State beat Monmouth 3-1 in its opening round game. The Trojans and Nittany Lions have faced off three times in their history, with Penn State owning a 2-1 lead in the series. The teams have never faced each other in the postseason.
TROJANS DOMINATE PAC-12 AWARDS The Trojans earned three of the six individual honors and garnered 10 all-conference/all-freshman team honors.
- Forward of the Year: Penelope Hocking
- Midfielder of the Year: Croix Bethune
- Coach of the Year: Keidane McAlpine
- All-Pac-12 1st team: Bethune, Hocking
- All-Pac-12 2nd team: Zoe Burns, Savannah DeMelo, Simone Jackson
- All-Pac-12 3rd team: Brooklyn Courtnall
- All-Freshman team: Simi Awujo, Courtnall, Aaliyah Farmer, Jackson
OPENING ROUND OFFENSE - USC has put on impressive offensive displays in its last three opening round games at home, beating Grand Canyon 6-0 last weekend, Cal State Fullerton 5-1 in 2019 and Long Beach State 6-0 in 2018. USC did not host an opening round game in 2020 with the entire tournament played in North Carolina.
RECORD WIN STREAK - After losing its first two games of the year, USC regrouped and won 11 straight, including its first 6 games of Pac-12 play. The Trojans outscored their opponents 39-7 over that span. USC's win at Oregon broke the program record for consecutive wins, which was set in 2016 (10 straight). The Trojans gave up more than one goal only once during the streak, a 4-2 victory on Aug. 28 at Utah Valley to kick off the 11-game winning streak. USC's draw at WSU broke the win streak, but a subsequent draw at Washington and wins over Cal and Stanford gave USC a program-record 15 match unbeaten streak.
USC: Coaches Poll - No. 11
Top Drawer Soccer - No. 11
RPI - No. 15
PSU: Coaches Poll - RV
Top Drawer Soccer - N/A
RPI - No. 20
CROIX BETHUNE NOTES:
- Named the Pac-12 Midfielder of the Year and to the All-Pac-12 first team.
- 4th in the nation with 16 goals, 3rd in the country with 41 total points and is 35th in assists with 9.
- Posted a hat trick in the first 8:45 of play against GCU in the opening round, finishing with 3 goals and 2 assists for the 2nd most total points (8) in a postseason game by a Trojan.
- Had a hand in all three goals in the comeback win over Stanford, assisting on the Trojans' first score and then scoring the last two, including the winner in overtime.
- Named Pac-12 Player of the Week twice and National Player of the Week once.
- Has at least a point in 14 of USC's 19 games, scoring in 11 different contests with four multi-goal games on the year.
- Has 8 goals and 3 assists in her last 5 games.
- Was also named to the All-Pac-12 first team in her inaugural season last year.
RECORD BREAKER - Penelope Hocking became the Trojans' all-time leading scorer when she posted her 49th career goal against Colorado on Oct. 7. Hocking struck in the 21st minute against the Buffs, passing Isabelle Harvey on the career list. Harvey's record of 48 goals had stood for 21 years before Hocking broke it. Hocking recently moved into a tie for 12th on the Pac-12 career scoring list, passing Stanford star Julie Foudy after her 53rd career goal in USC's win over GCU. She and Catarina Macario (Stanford/USWNT) are the only two players to crack the top 15 of the Pac-12's career scoring list in the last 10 years.
PAC-12 CAREER SCORING LIST:
1. Kim Lynass, WSU (1990-93) – 83
2. Christen Press, STAN (2007-10) – 71
Lauren Cheney, UCLA (2006-09) – 71
Traci Arkenberg, UCLA (1994-97) – 71
5. Catarina Macario, STAN (2017-19) – 63
6. Danesha Adams, UCLA (2004-07) – 60
7. Sarah Rafanelli, STAN (1990-93) – 59
8. Kelley O'Hara, STAN (2006-09) – 57
Sydney Leroux, UCLA (2008-11) – 57
10. Laura Schott, CAL (1999-02) – 56
11. Joy Biefeld, CAL (1986-89) – 55
12. Lindsay Taylor, STAN (2008-11) – 53
Penelope Hocking, USC (2018-21) – 53
14. Julie Foudy, STAN (1989-92) – 52
15. Stacey Tullock, ASU (1998-01) – 50
- Named Pac-12 Forward of the Year for the second consecutive season and to the All-Pac-12 1st team.
- Scored once and had 2 assists against GCU.
- Missed 3 of the Trojans' last 4 regular season games with injury and also missed 2 games early in the year.
- 11 goals (5th in Pac-12), 6 assists (9th in Pac-12), 28 total points (4th in Pac-12)
- Career numbers: 1st all-time in goals with 53, 2nd in points with 128 (leader: 135), 2nd in game-winning goals with 15 (leader: 21), 6th in assists with 22 (leader: 39) and 1st in shots with 265.
- Named Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week (10/11) after 2 goals and 1 assist against Colorado and Utah
- Last season was named to the All-America first team and a semifinalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy, in addition to being an Academic All-American.
- Has been named to the All-Pac-12 team each of her 4 collegiate seasons, and was also a Freshman All-American and the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year in 2018.
- Named to the Hermann Trophy Watch List this season. Was a semifinalist for the award last year.
- Named a finalist for the 2021 Senior CLASS Award.
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. Smith has played every minute in goal, posting 8 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 2 PK saves this year. Her .778 save percentage is 4th in the conference. For her career, Smith has a 23-6-3 record and 10 shutouts. Twice this year she has posted a career high 11 saves, against Michigan and Washington State.
SAVANNAH DeMELO - Senior Savannah DeMelo has been doing it all as of late, controlling the game both offensively and defensively from the midfield. DeMelo had two assists against Stanford, including stealing the ball and then sending it ahead to Bethune for the winner in OT. DeMelo is tied for 3rd on team with 15 pts (4G, 7A). She is a 4-time All-Pac-12 honoree, 1-time All-American and has been on the MAC Hermann watch list each of the last 3 years. She was named to the All-Pac-12 2nd team this season.
PLAYER QUICK HITS:
- Freshman Aaliyah Farmer has made 14 starts as a holding midfielder, helping the team to 8 shutouts while also recording 3 goals and 2 assists. She scored once against GCU.
- Freshman Brooklyn Courtnall has started every game at center back far this year, helping the team to 8 shutouts. She trails only GK Anna Smith in minutes played with 1,697, having been subbed off only twice this season. Courtnall posted her first career assist against CSUN.
- Freshman Simone Jackson, the No. 3 recruit in the country this past recruiting cycle, is tied for 3rd on the team with 15 pts (4G, 7A). She had a goal and an assist against Stanford and one assist vs GCU.
- After suffering through injuries her first 2 seasons, Hannah White has become an attacking threat off the bench, posting 4 goals and 3 assists in 16 games played.
- Freshman Simi Awujo scored her first career goal at Western Michigan (9/5), and has added two assists as well. After coming off the bench early in the year, she started every game in Pac-12 play. She scored her second goal against GCU.
- Freshman Julia Gomez scored her first goal against CSUN (9/19), freshman Helena Sampaio scored her first goal against Utah (10/10) and freshman Izzy Kimberly also scored her first goal against the Utes (10/10).
- Striker Jada Talley transferred to USC after an All-Pac-12 career at Arizona and is currently 6th on the team with 7 points (3G, 2A). Talley scored the game-winner on the road in Tucson against her former club on 10/3.
- The Trojans are 6th in the country and 1st in the Pac-12 with 2.84 goals/game
- USC is 11th in the NCAA, 1st in the Pac-12 with 2.68 assists/game
- USC's 8.37 pts/game are 7th in the NCAA and 1st in the Pac-12
- 13 different Trojans have scored this year and 8 players have recorded multiple goals. 18 different USC players have recorded at least a point in a game this season.
- USC has outscored opponents 32-5 in the 2nd half and OT this year, as opposed to 22-13 in the 1st half.