The No. 17 USC women’s soccer team traveled to Minneapolis, Minn. for the Minnesota Gold Classic hoping to remain unbeaten after a 3-0 start to its season. But after playing to a 1-1 draw on Friday against Ole Miss, the Women of Troy fell to LSU 1-0 on Sunday for their first loss of the season.
USC (3-1-1) came into the weekend with three consecutive four-goal games, all resulting in wins, and the team’s best start since 2007. They hoped to carry that momentum into Minnesota, where they’d face two SEC opponents for the first time in the program’s history.
The team started out strong against Ole Miss (4-0-1), keeping the Rebels from getting a shot off in the first half while recording five attempts of their own. Unfortunately for USC, Ole Miss goalie Kelly McCormick was able to hold off the offense, keeping the USC attackers from getting into the rhythm they had from their previous games.
USC’s aggressive game plan paid off in the second half, as freshman forward Kayla Mills broke the scoreless tie in the 62nd minute from the far side of the box on a pass from sophomore midfielder Jamie Fink for her third goal of the season. Ole Miss matched the Women of Troy’s intensity, and responded three minutes later with a goal from senior forward Rafaelle Souza. Ole Miss outshot USC 5-3 in the second half, pushing the game into overtime.
Overtime played out in similar fashion to the first half, with Ole Miss unable to get a shot off, while USC failed to get a shot past McCormick. The Women of Troy tallied six shots in 20 minutes of overtime (three in each period), but were unable to put another one in the back of the net. McCormick finished the game with six saves against seven shots on goal, while USC junior goalkeeper Caroline Stanley had three saves against four shots on goal, all in the second half.
“I thought we put forth a pretty solid effort defensively,” USC head coach Ali Khosroshahin said. “I thought we did a pretty good job of taking care of the ball today, created some really good opportunities. I have to give Ole Miss some credit, too, for what they came out and did. We were good in the first half, they made some adjustments, but we should have put our chances away.”
Given the disparity in each team’s shot totals, it’s safe to say that USC should have been able to break through for more than just one goal.
“We just missed some chances. We hit the post, we hit the crossbar, we hit some right at the keeper,” Khosroshahin said. “It was our first real travel day, but we just didn’t finish our chances.”
The Women of Troy looked to get back on track against the Tigers (3-2-1), but were again thwarted by excellent goalkeeping. USC kept up its aggressive attack to the tune of eight shots in the first half, including three from sophomore defender Marlee Carrillo. LSU goalkeeper Megan Kinneman, however, kept USC off the scoreboard, picking up five saves. Senior midfielder Jordan Marada picked up a red card after a heavily disputed call in the 27th minute, the first of the season for the Women of Troy.
Like the Ole Miss game, the second half against LSU was a more even affair, with both teams taking five shots. The game would remain scoreless until a penalty kick from Kinneman in the 64th minute gave LSU the lead. The penalty was the Tigers’ only shot on goal for the entire game despite the one-player advantage.
USC picked up three yellow cards in the second half after getting only one in their previous four games. The Women of Troy outshot the Tigers 13-7 (7-1 on goal), and had 12 corner kicks to LSU’s 0.
Kinneman finished with seven saves to go along with the game-winning goal.
The Women of Troy hope to get back to their winning ways as they head back to McAlister Field for a four-game homestand. They’ll begin next weekend with games against Pepperdine (2-2-1) on Friday, Sept. 13 at 2:30 p.m. and Loyola Marymount (3-2-0) on Sunday, Sept. 15 at 1 p.m.
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