The USC women’s soccer team fell victim to a late penalty kick goal Sunday, losing 1-0 to Ohio State in San Diego and spoiling a weekend that saw the Women of Troy capture their first victory of the season.
The match was scoreless deep into the second half until Ohio State forward freshman Lauren Granberg found herself on a breakaway against USC goalkeeper Kristin Olsen. The USC senior dove for the ball, but Granberg touched it wide of Olsen and then fell down in the box. The referee pointed to the penalty spot and sent Olsen off with a red card.
“I ended up missing her and the ball,” Olsen said. “The ref thought I had tripped her. I was kind of surprised because I didn’t even touch her.”
Redshirt senior Brittany Massro came on to play goalie, but she was unable to stop Buckeye defender junior Cassie Dickerson’s penalty kick goal. The Women of Troy (1-0), forced to play with only 10 players for the rest of the match, couldn’t find the equalizer.
Ohio State led USC in shots on goal, 11 to eight , but the Women of Troy did have some good opportunities to score. USC freshman forward Samantha Johnson was a constant threat to the Buckeye defense, putting one shot high and another wide of the goal, while redshirt senior Marihelen Tomer and sophomore midfielder Alyssa Dávila forced the Ohio State goalkeeper to make two saves in quick succession in the second half.
“We definitely had some chances to win the game,” USC coach Ali Khosroshahin said. “Sam Johnson had a look, Marihelen had a look. We just need to keep our composure in front of the goal.”
The loss against Ohio State came in USC’s second game of the USD Nike Classic, a mini-tournament hosted by the University of San Diego.
On Friday, four USC players scored en route to a 4-0 victory over Cal State Fullerton. Johnson was the star of the show, registering a goal and two assists on the evening.
Freshman midfielder Courtney Garcia gave the Women of Troy the lead less than three minutes into the game when she took a pass from Johnson and fired it off the far post and in for her first collegiate goal.
Junior midfielder Megan Ohai doubled the lead in the 12th minute when she got on to the end of a long pass from junior midfielder-turned-defender Ashli Sandoval and put it past the goalkeeper.
Johnson added her first goal for USC in the 19th minute, taking the ball at the top of the box, maneuvering around defenders and shooting it into the far low corner.
Dávila completed the scoring in the 28th, taking Johnson’s deflected cross and turning it into goal.
“We kinda knew that we had to win and we were tired of losing,” Johnson said. “We played with a lot more confidence and composure on the field.”
The weekend of mixed results left Khosroshahin pointing to his team’s improvement but also noting that USC will have to improve its ball possession and finishing in the coming weeks.
“I definitely see improvement every time they step on the field,” Khosroshahin added. “But improvement just isn’t good enough sometimes. You just have to get the job done and we’re hoping that part will come sooner than later.”