USC coach Ali Khosroshahin says he considers San Diego coach Ada Greenwood to be one of his closest friends — but that doesn’t mean the Women of Troy will be taking it easy on the Toreros in their road match Friday. Especially since the USC women’s soccer team (2-3-1) has lost all four of its matches against the Toreros (3-5) dating back to 2010.
“If you’ve ever competed against your friends, you know that it eats at you when you don’t do well against them,” Khosroshahin said. “There’s definitely a little revenge factor for us here this weekend.”
San Diego acheived its latest victory against USC on Sept. 2 at McAlister Field, where it pulled off a 2-1 comeback win. But since, the Toreros have lost 4-1 to No. 2 Duke and 5-0 to No. 10 North Carolina.
Meanwhile, the Women of Troy are confident they’ve improved in the past couple of weeks, and on Friday, USC will be looking for payback on the Toreros’ home turf.
“We got out of our own heads last time we played San Diego,” freshman midfielder Megan Borman said. “Basically, we looked like we’d never played with each other on the field. These last couple weeks we’ve worked on camaraderie and coming together as a team.”
Last Sunday against Cal State Northridge, the Women of Troy dominated possession and scored a goal late to clinch a tie, ending a streak of three straight comeback losses. Some are pointing to the morale-booster as a turning point for the young Women of Troy, who have welcomed twenty new players to the roster this season.
“We all came out on that field and played hard for each other,” junior midfielder Autumn Altamirano said. “The intensity was amazing. Our tackles and aggressiveness were awesome. The bench really contributed because they were screaming, chanting, throwing off the people on the other team.”
San Diego forward Emily Dillon is the Toreros’ leading scorer with two goals and three assists, and goalkeeper McKenna Tollack has allowed 16 goals while racking up 30 saves in eight games.
The Women of Troy return home Sunday for a match against Portland, in the squad’s last tune-up before Pac-12 play starts next week.
“We want to be prepared for conference [play], having as many new players as we do,” Khosroshahin said. “We’re still developing a better understanding of each other. You can’t bring in as many players as we did this off-season without going through some growing pains.”
USC is 2-2 all-time against the Pilots (4-1-1), but has lost the last two clashes, including a 2-1 decision up north last year. The last time the Women of Troy defeated Portland was in 2007, USC’s national championship season.
Until last year, when San Diego and Pepperdine shared the West Coast Conference crown, Portland had won four conference championships in a row.
The Pilots’ soccer program also boasts some impressive alumni, including current United States women’s national soccer team member Megan Rapinoe, former standout Tiffeny Milbrett, and current Canadian International star Christine Sinclair.
“They’re traditionally a very strong program, and they’ve gotten off to a very good start this year,” Khosroshahin said. “But we like the way we match up against them. I think the kids are fired up.”
Forward Amanda Frisbie leads the Pilots with four goals, while midfielder Ellen Parker has contributed four assists. The Pilots have switched between Erin Dees and Nichole Downing in goal to head a stout defense that’s allowed just two goals in six games.
The Women of Troy kick off in San Diego on Friday at 5 p.m. before returning home for a 1 p.m. start time against Portland at McAlister Field on Sunday.