No. 14 USC Women's Soccer Opens Postseason at Home Against UCI
LOS ANGELES - The No. 14 USC women's soccer team opens the postseason at home against UC Irvine on Saturday at 1 p.m. The Trojans host their opening round game after drawing a No. 4 seed in the bracket.
HOW TO FOLLOW - Saturday's game will be broadcast live on ESPN+. 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 UCI - The Trojans are 12-1-3 all-time against the Anteaters since the teams first played back in 1994. The teams played earlier this season at McAlister Field, with USC picking up a 3-2 victory. The Trojans scored all three goals in the first half in that game, and UCI attempted a comeback with two goals in the second half. USC's only loss in the series came in the first meeting in 1994.
BEATING THE BRUINS - The Trojans closed the regular season with a big rivalry win over No. 1 UCLA last week, taking down the Bruins 2-0 to prevent UCLA from winning a Pac-12 title. Kaylin Martin and Zoe Burns each scored and Anna Smith picked up her sixth solo-shutout in goal. It was USC's first win over the Bruins since 2015 and it was just the second time this season top-ranked UCLA was shut out.
ROAD TO THE POSTSEASON - The Trojans finished the regular season third in the Pac-12 standings with an 8-1-2 conference mark, earning an at-large bid and No. 4 seed in this year's tournament. The Trojans' two losses came while the team was short-handed due to players having national team duties and all three draws came on the road. USC beat all four ranked opponents it faced this season, including No. 1 UCLA on the final game of the regular season and eventual Pac-12 Champions No. 7 Stanford.
POSTSEASON HISTORY - USC is making its 21st NCAA Postseason appearance this year and ninth straight dating back to 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. The Trojans have only missed the postseason nine times in the program's 30 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 eight years.
SUSTAINED SUCCESS - USC's 12 victories on the season mark the 8th consecutive full season (excluding the shortened 2020 campaign) that the program has recorded double-digit wins. Over the last seven full seasons, USC has averaged 15.5 wins per year and owns a .760 winning percentage.
ALL-PAC-12 AWARDS - The Pac-12 postseason awards were announced on Tuesday and USC's Croix Bethune picked up her second consecutive Conference Midfielder of the Year award, while also being one of six Trojans to earn All-Pac-12 honors. Bethune was named to the All-Pac-12 first team along with Simi Awujo and Simone Jackson, while Zoe Burns earned second team honors and Brooklyn Courtnall and Nicole Payne were named to the third team.
PAC-12 WEEKLY AWARDS -
9/12 - Simone Jackson (offensive)
9/26 - Nicole Payne (offensive)
10/3 - Croix Bethune (offensive)
10/17 - Kayla Colbert (offensive)
11/7 - Kaylin Martin (defensive)
11/7 - Anna Smith (goalkeeper)
A NEW ERA - The Trojans hired Jane Alukonis to be the fifth head coach in program history in January of this year. Alukonis comes to USC after four years as an assistant at UCLA, where she helped the Bruins to two Pac-12 Championships and an NCAA College Cup appearance. She played her college soccer at Duke where she was a four-year starter from 2006 to 2009.
In her first season at USC, Alukonis has led USC to 12 total wins, a ranking as high as No. 8 in the polls, their 21st overall postseason appearance, a 4-0 record against ranked opponents and wins over No. 1 UCLA and No. 7 Stanford.
IN THE RANKINGS - After starting the season at No. 15 in the rankings, the Trojans fell out following an opening-day loss at Purdue. USC jumped back into the rankings mid-season and have been as high as No. 8 in the coaches poll. USC sits at No. 14 currently.
BALANCED ATTACK - USC has had 11 different goal scorers so far this season, with seven different players posting multiple goals. 14 different USC players have recorded at least a point this season and 12 Trojans have posted at least one assist.
RECENT NATIONAL TEAM EXPERIENCE:
Olufolasade Adamolekun- Jamaica (Full)
Simi Awujo - Canada (Full/U-20)
Zoe Burns - Canada (Full/U-20)
Nicole Payne - Nigeria (Full)
Croix Bethune - U.S. (U-23)
Brooklyn Courtnall - Canada (U-20)
Simone Jackson - U.S. (U-20)
STAT RANKINGS -
Assists - Bethune (9) - 1st Pac-12/16th NCAA
Assists - Sampaio (8) - 3rd Pac-12/25th NCAA
Assists/G - Bethune (0.64) - 1st Pac-12/6th NCAA
Assists/G - Sampaio (0.47) - 3rd Pac-12/25th NCAA
Goals - Bethune (8) - 10th Pac-12
Goals/G - Bethune (0.57) - 4th P12
Goals/G - Jackson (0.40) - 12th P12
Points - Bethune (25) - 4th Pac-12
Points/G - Bethune (1.79) - 2nd Pac-12/13th NCAA
Points/G - Jackson (1.00) - 13th P12
GAA - Smith (0.734) - 3rd Pac-12
Save% - Smith (0.829) - 2nd Pac-12