The No. 14 USC women’s soccer team celebrated Senior Day in style Sunday, grabbing a 1-0 win over Oregon at McAlister Field.
After an upset loss to Oregon State on Friday, USC coach Ali Khosroshahin vowed to change up his lineup. He inserted leading scorer Alyssa Dávila, who usually comes off the bench, into the starting 11 to give the team an extra punch in the attacking third.
The move paid off almost immediately when Dávila gave the Women of Troy (12-5, 4-2) the lead in the 8th minute.
The junior midfielder took the ball at the top of the box, juked right and fired into the left corner of the net for her ninth goal of the season.
“It’s an easy decision when you need a little bit more work from your team to put in your leading goal scorer as a starter,” Khosroshahin said. “It’s a no-brainer.”
The Ducks (8-7-1, 0-5) created several good chances in the first half to equalize but they were unable to convert.
Their best opportunity came in the 14th minute when junior forward Jen Stoltenberg ran \ through the middle of the USC defense and hit a long shot toward goal. USC senior goalkeeper Kristin Olsen got one hand on the shot and tipped it safely over the crossbar.
Both teams threatened to score in the second half but neither side put the ball into the back of the net.
In the 66th minute, Oregon senior midfielder Teresa Bowns crossed the ball into a dangerous area of the box but junior midfielder Kirstie Kuhns was unable to get her head onto the ball.
USC almost doubled its advantage in the 83rd minute when freshman forward Samantha Johnson put a well-placed cross into the box. Dávila received the ball and shot low but senior goalkeeper Jessie Proulx came up with a big save.
“I’m really happy for the seniors,” Dávila said referring to the five seniors honored. “I’m glad we were able to get the win for them.”
On Friday, the Women of Troy took a 1-0 lead into the halftime break but were overwhelmed by Oregon State (10-5-1, 2-3) in the second half, conceding two goals and losing the match 2-1.
USC looked to be in control of the game early on and grabbed the lead in the 13th minute.
Junior defender Karter Haug sent a long ball forward from the back that sophomore midfielder Carly Butcher flicked ahead to redshirt senior Marihelen Tomer. Tomer split two Beaver defenders and shot the ball low and left, past the diving goalkeeper Ashley Wood.
The Women of Troy continued to attack, forcing Wood to make four saves in the first half, but were unable to double their advantage.
The Beavers came out of the halftime break reenergized and outworked USC for most of the second half.
“[In the] first half we were decent,” Khosroshahin said. “Second half, we were non-existent.”
Oregon State leveled the score in the 54th minute, when they capitalized on a defensive error by the Women of Troy.
Beavers’ senior midfielder Red Nixon crossed in a ball from the right that USC sophomore defender Claire Schloemer chested straight down in the box. Before Schloemer was able to clear the ball, Oregon State senior midfielder Melissa Peck slid in and kicked the ball through Olsen’s fingers for the game-tying score.
“They were pressuring us like crazy in the back,” Olsen said. “We gave away the ball away too many times in the middle and that hurt us.”
Oregon State continued to apply pressure and knocked in the game-winner in the 76th minute. Redshirt freshman forward Chelsea Buckland chested down a long free kick at the top of the box that Nixon slammed into the lower right corner of the goal past a diving Olsen.
“We just got outworked,” Khosroshahin said. “They wanted it more than us today.”
After the weekend split, USC sits in fourth place in the Pac-10. The Women of Troy are in action again Friday, when they take on their cross-town rival No. 4 UCLA at 7 p.m. in Westwood.