The USC women’s soccer team endured another frustrating weekend at McAlister Field, losing 2-1 to Oregon on Sunday and 1-0 in overtime to No. 19 Oregon State on Friday. Its most recent loss to the Ducks marked the team’s six straight defeat — all coming by one-goal margins.
“There’s not a lot to say right now,” USC coach Ali Khosroshahin said after Sunday’s defeat. “It’s a difficult moment to be in. Life is going to throw a lot of challenges at you, and this is one of them.”
The Women of Troy (3-9, 0-3) had their chances against the Ducks on Sunday, outshooting Oregon 14 to 9 and getting off eight corner kicks to Oregon’s two. Trailing 1-0, USC got its lone goal courtesy of junior defender Kristina Noriega, who capitalized on one of the corner kicks with a header that knotted the game up in the 57th minute.
“It’s really frustrating,” Noriega said. “We just come out here and beat ourselves. We gave up some stupid goals on mistakes. I really feel like we should have won.”
The tie was short-lived, as Oregon struck back quickly with a goal of its own in the 62nd minute. Midfielder Shanelle Simien found fellow freshman, forward Bri Pugh, on the left side of USC’s goal, and Pugh put it just past sophomore goalkeeper Shelby Church from six yards out for what proved to be the game-winning score.
“We have to learn how to stop making mistakes in the most crucial moments,” Khosroshahin said. “I thought we took care of the ball pretty well and got some good looks at the goal. We just didn’t do well with the looks we got, and they did. I can’t take anything away from Oregon.”
The last 28 minutes of the match were played at a frantic pace, as USC put several shots on goal that never found the back of the net. Shortly after Oregon seized the lead, the Women of Troy nearly turned another corner kick into a goal, but sophomore forward/midfielder Elizabeth Eddy’s header sailed just over the top post.
“It’s tough because we’ve pretty much gone through every type of scenario in practice and in games,” Eddy said. “It’s a bummer, but if we keep working at it we should be alright.”
Eddy insisted that despite all of the tough losses, the team remains upbeat.
“Coach told us to keep our heads up and I think we’re doing that,” she said. “It takes a lot of maturity to go through what we’re going through, but I think we’ll be fine. It’s definitely a learning experience.”
Though the Oregon defeat stung, Friday’s loss was perhaps the most difficult defeat of the 2011 season. The Women of Troy played Oregon State to a 0-0 tie through 94 minutes of play before sophomore forward Jenna Richardson scored the game-winner for the Beavers.
USC will travel north and continue Pac-12 play next weekend against Stanford and California.
“We have to fight on,” Khosroshahin said. “That’s what we’re all about. We’re going to keep kicking it and hopefully we’ll get some better luck.”