A trip to the Pacific Northwest proved to be a challenging task for the USC women’s soccer team, but it managed to continue its recent string of strong play, coming away with two hard-fought victories in Washington.
In the first game of their road trip, the Women of Troy came away with a 2-1 victory over the Gonzaga Bulldogs in sudden death overtime, but the victory was no walk in the park.
“We just came out really flat in the first half and Gonzaga took it to us,” USC coach Ali Khosroshahin said. “We fell behind and we had to make some changes to the lineup, but the ladies responded well. We came back, created some good opportunities and we were able to put them away.”
In the first half, USC faced an early deficit after the Bulldogs broke through for a goal in the 33rd minute.
The second half would be a lot different, however, as the Women of Troy created plenty of scoring opportunities, finally breaking through in the 68th minute when freshman midfielder Elizabeth Eddy scored on a breakaway, tying the game at one goal apiece.
That same score would stand until the end of regulation, forcing the game into overtime and giving USC one more chance to salvage a victory.
Five minutes into the extra period, freshman midfielder Autumn Altamirano completed the comeback, heading in a ball off a pass from Eddy, giving the Women of Troy the overtime win. Despite giving up an early goal, the defense recuperated and shut down the Bulldogs’ offense for the rest of the game, giving USC a chance to win it at the end.
“The defense was amazing,” Altamirano said. “They kept us in the game, they cleared the ball and defended really, really well like they do every other game.”
In the second game of their road trip, the Women of Troy found themselves in an early hole yet again but managed to match their highest offensive output of the season in a 5-1 victory over the Eastern Washington Eagles.
The Eagles struck first with a goal in the second minute of play when forward Whitney Brannan knocked in her seventh goal of the year to give her team an early 1-0 lead.
It wasn’t too long before the Women of Troy responded – in the sixth minute, sophomore midfielder Courtney Garcia scored her first goal of the year to even the game at one goal apiece, and in the 11th minute, it was sophomore forward Samantha Johnson who knocked a ball through the posts to give USC a 2-1 lead they would never relinquish.
“We responded well and we didn’t put our heads down,” Garcia said. “We knew we could beat them, so we just went right after them and attacked.”
Freshman midfielder Haley Boysen scored her third goal of the season in the 44th minute, giving the Women of Troy a two-goal lead before halftime.
In the second half, senior defender Karter Haug scored in the 84th minute and Garcia added her second goal of the game to complete the scoring for USC.
Though it was far from easy, the team came away with a sweep of their weekend road trip in the Pacific Northwest.
“I think the ladies are starting to figure out that everybody is fired up to play USC,”
Khosroshahin said. “This weekend, we came up here and took the opposition a little bit lightly and both teams were able to score on us first. Hopefully, we’ve learned from this that everybody is going to put their best foot forward against us.”