USC swept by Oklahoma State, Texas
Twenty minutes after the USC womenâs soccer teamâs 2-1 loss to Texas on Sunday, USC coach Ali Khosroshahin sat motionless on his teamâs bench, trying to comprehend what he just watched. The Women of Troy had been 10 minutes away from their first home win of the season. Ten minutes away from pitching their first shutout of the season. Things can change quickly.
Twelve minutes into overtime, Texas forward Vanessa Ibewuike knocked a goal into the right corner with such precision that USC sophomore goalie Shelby Church could only watch.
When the ball hit the back of the net, there was eruption from the Longhorn sideline. There was only silence from the USC sideline.
It wasnât indifference. It was shock. For some 80 minutes, the Women of Troy (3-5) dominated Texas (6-2), doubling the Longhornsâ shot total in the first half.
In the 34th minute, a point-blank rocket by sophomore midfielder Autumn Altamirano put the Women of Troy up 1-0.
Freshman midfielder Elizabeth Caparis â streaking down the right sideline â centered the ball to junior forward Samantha Johnson. Johnson put it on net, and the rebound came right to Altamirano, who fired it home.
As the minutes ticked away, Texas poured on the pressure. Playing with three forwards instead of the usual two, they forced corner after corner, and the USC defense could do nothing but clear the ball downfield. Church was forced to make a sensational diving save on a Longhorn free kick. The breakthrough was inevitable, and in the 80th minute, it happened.
In what Khosroshahin referred to as a âdefensive breakdown,â the Women of Troy conceded a free kick to Texas. The result was a mad scramble directly in front of the USC goal, and the ball in the end was headed over Church and into the USC goal.
âWe canât keep letting down in the back,â Khosroshahin said. âOur back-third defense was solid the whole game, but when you play teams like this theyâre gonna capitalize if you give them an opportunity.â
After that, the game changed. Texas threatened countless times in the last 10 minutes of regulation, while USC appeared lifeless. The Women of Troy recorded just one shot the rest of the game to the Longhornâs five. If there was going to be a winner, it was going to be Texas.
âYou canât really put emotions into words after a game like this,â senior midfielder Ashli Sandoval said. âItâs just unexplainable.â
USCâs game on Friday was similarly disappointing, outplaying No. 4 Oklahoma State but falling 1-0.
âI donât even know what to say,â senior midfielder Carly Butcher said. âWeâre keeping the ball. We just didnât put it in. And we canât let down and let them get one, because itâs hard to come back.â
Khosroshahin expressed similar frustration.
âI donât know what to think,â he said. âI know weâre getting better. We just gotta finish our opportunities.â