After consecutive road trips the last two weekends, the Women of Troy seemed to be right at home at McAllister Field, knocking off two opponents Friday and Sunday in the Trojan Invitational.
Facing another ranked opponent in No. 25 Auburn (4-2-0), the Women of Troy (3-1-2) held the home crowd in suspense, waiting until overtime to strike. During the first minute of the extra period, freshman midfielder Haley Boysen knocked in her first collegiate goal to give the team the victory.
“I think our team did a great job connecting and bringing what we’ve been working on in practice to this game,” Boysen said. “I think we should have finished our chances, but I think we did a great job overall.”
Though the Women of Troy had countless opportunities to score in regulation, they just couldn’t find the back of the net.
“I’m pleased we created the opportunities, but we need to finish the opportunities we create,” USC coach Ali Khosroshahin said. “But the team is growing, the team is improving and our depth is improving so it’s good to get a result.”
Not to be overshadowed by Boysen’s heroics, the defense held the Tigers scoreless, posting its third consecutive shutout.
“Our backline has been defending like their lives have depended on it,” Khosroshahin said. “They’re gaining confidence, they’re giving the team confidence and they’re giving the goalkeeper confidence. Right now, they’re the backbone of our team and they’re going to stay that way for us.”
In the second game of the tournament, the Women of Troy (4-1-2) proved to be too much for Northern Arizona (1-3-2), coming away with a 3-1 victory.
Not only did they create plenty of opportunities, but this time, they finished the job.
“We were decent, we took care of the ball well at times, but we scored multiple goals for the first time this year, so we’ll take it,” Khosroshahin said.
In the 23rd minute of the first half, sophomore forward Samantha Johnson checked in and immediately made her presence known.
Sophomore forward Courtney Garcia placed a through-ball to freshman midfielder Haley Boysen, who crossed it to the far right goal post and Johnson finished off the play with a header that found the back of the net.
In the second half, junior forward/defender Ashley Freyer scored off a corner kick in the 53rd minute, giving the Women of Troy a two-goal cushion.
But Northern Arizona would strike back in the 63rd minute, as junior forward Jenna Samora scored to cut the lead in half.
In the 82nd minute, freshman Mia Bruno put the game out of reach, placing the ball from outside the box into the back of the net and capping off the scoring for the Women of Troy.
“We did well as a team and we connected well with each other,” Bruno said. “We were patient in front of the net and we finished our opportunities so that was good.”
Though the defense allowed a goal for the first time in four games, freshman goalkeeper Shelby Church believes the team has still played well shutting down its opponents.
“We’ve definitely held our own and defense wins games most of the time,” Church said. But it’s not just the backline, it’s the whole team playing defense.”
After capping off a perfect weekend, Khosroshahin said he is pleased with the team’s effort, but still believes they can get better.
“We’re just barely starting to mesh, but hopefully we can continue to improve,” he said. “I don’t think we’ve seen our best game. We still have a lot of areas that we need to get better at, but the good thing with this group is that they’re committed to it.”