The USC women’s soccer team opened the 2013 season in outstanding form this weekend, defeating No. 11 San Diego State and host San Diego in the USD Tournament. The Women of Troy finished the season opening tourney as its only unbeaten team, and never trailed in their two matches.
The squad’s dominating weekend began Friday, with a decisive 4-1 victory over an Aztec team that advanced to the NCAA tournament in 2012.
The Women of Troy struck early and often. Just six minutes into the game, senior forward Elizabeth Eddy fired a shot that deflected off of the San Diego State goalkeeper Melanie Vaughn and found its way into the net.
Not satisfied with a one-goal lead, USC continued to dominate possession to open the second half.
After her teammates nearly converted multiple corner kick opportunities in the opening minutes, freshman forward Kayla Mills took control of the game. In her first collegiate match, the rookie showed great skill and experience beyond her years, weaving through the SDSU defense for a beautiful goal in the 56th minute.
Minutes later, Mills was at it again with an excellent cross that set up sophomore midfielder Jamie Fink, who put the Trojans up 3-0.
In the 70th minute, the Aztecs avoided a shutout with a long-distance goal from Hannah Keane. It was the only blemish on a stellar day for the USC back line.
Sophomore Marlee Carrillo, redshirt junior Mia Bruno, freshman Mandy Freeman and senior Autumn Altamirano held down the back line for USC’s defense, only allowing four Aztec shots on goal. The Women of Troy finished the match with a 16-9 shot advantage.
“It’s totally different than last year. I think our chemistry is really helping us out,” Fink said about her team’s offensive and defensive balance. “It is very enjoyable. We’re playing proper soccer now.”
Eddy netted her second goal in the 89th minute, putting the icing on the cake for an outstanding victory to begin the 2013 season.
“Team effort, team win, lot of great teammates supporting me,” Eddy said. “It was awesome. All team.”
Sunday’s matchup pitted the Women of Troy against host San Diego, and the team again looked ready to assert themselves as one of the top teams in the region. The USC attack took a backseat to an excellent defensive performance in the opening minutes of the match, as the back line halted several early scoring threats.
The Women of Troy got on the board in the 23rd minute, when a corner kick from Eddy once again found its way to Fink, who deposited the ball in the back of the net.
Freshman forward Tanya Samarzich then took the game by storm. In the 29th minute, Samarzich launched a rocket from long range that cleared USD goalkeeper Michelle Craft’s reach for her first collegiate goal. Two minutes later, she received a nice pass from Altamirano in the box and converted for a second goal.
The Women of Troy refused to let up in the second half. Freshman forward Rachel Smith assisted Eddy for the USC’s eighth and final goal of the weekend in the 70th minute. The Toreros scored a pair of goals in the game’s waning minutes, but it was too little, too late.
“We were just focusing on our gameplan and what we needed to do,” Fink said. “We played as a unit, we played as a team. We did what each other needed, and it really paid off.”
Fink attributed her strong offensive showing to the hard work of her teammates.
“I couldn’t have done it without Kayla Mills’ cross or Elizabeth’s cross,” she said. “They’ve been giving me perfect silver platters to put away.”
After scoring in both contests, Fink and Eddy were named to the All-Tournament Team.
The Women of Troy will play their home opener on Friday at 3 p.m. vs. Cal State Northridge at McAlister Field.
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