Women of Troy seek to snap losing skid
USC womenâs soccer coach Ali Khosroshahin sits in his office and talks. He talks about his team, about injuries and bad luck, about life in general. He would talk about his squadâs season, but as he said, âWhere to even start?â
After being swept in the Bay Area last weekend, the Women of Troy (3-11, 0-5) are guaranteed their first losing season since the first year of the program in 1993. For Khosroshahin, it will be his first losing season in his 11 years as a Division-I coach.
âItâs hard,â Khosroshahin said. âItâs disappointing. Weâve dealt with it the best we can. We try to keep our focus on improving every day.â
USC travels to Seattle to take on Washington on Friday night. The Huskies (6-5-3, 2-2-1) got their first Pac-12 wins of the season last weekend by sweeping Colorado and Utah. There are now just two teams in the Pac-12 without a conference victory; USC is one of them.
âI hate this,â Khosroshahin said of his teamâs struggles. âI hate every loss. Whether we lose 1-0 after outplaying No. 4 Oklahoma State or get destroyed by No. 1 Stanford. Theyâre all the same: terrible.â
Much of the squadsâ struggles have come from injuries. Ten players have missed time, many of whom are scholarship athletes.
âI hate making excuses,â Khosroshahin insists. âAnd Iâm not, because the bottom line is you gotta be competitive. But you take away that many players from any team, youâre gonna struggle.â
The teamâs struggles, however,Â have been overshadowed by some noteworthy individual performances.
Senior midfielder Brittany Kerridge has been struggling with a knee injury for most of the season, and Khosroshahin raves about how she has battled through it.
âWrite about Brittany Kerridge,â Khosroshahin said. âThat girl is a warrior. A warrior.â
Kerridge leads USC in assists with five and in goals with three, a statistic revealing in and of itself. The Women of Troy have been outscored 15-26 this year. They rank 10th in the conference in goals per game at 1.07 and 11th in goals allowed at 1.86. They have committed the second-most fouls in the conference, averaging more than 11 per game.
âSet pieces have been a killer for us,â Khosroshahin said. âLast week against Cal we dominated the first half. We told the girls at halftime, âThe only way weâre gonna lose is if we give up set pieces.â Bang. They score both their goals on corner kicks.â
The Women of Troy are used to having games count toward their run at a conference or even national title. Under Khosroshahin, they have made the NCAA tournament the last three years and won the programâs first championship in 2007. Now, theyâre just playing for themselves.
âEvery game is a chance for us to get better,â Khosroshahin said. âSo weâre going to use them.â