The USC women’s soccer team took its talent to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, hoping to keep building some momentum after a strong performance up north the previous weekend. Unfortunately, despite a late comeback, the Women of Troy were unable to leave the Coliseum with a win, losing 3-2 in overtime to Arizona on Friday.
Just eight days after the USC football team started the Orgeron era with a 38-31 win over the Wildcats at home, the Women of Troy (6-7-2, 1-4-1 Pac-12) hoped to follows suit against the Wildcats in conference play. After going winless in their first three conference matchups with no goals scored, USC went up north and earned a 1-1 tie against California and upset then-No. 5 Stanford 1-0 in Palo Alto, with junior midfielder Alex Quincey scoring both goals.
USC appeared to carry that momentum against Arizona (7-5-3, 2-4-0 Pac-12), keeping up the pace and pushing an early advantage. A combination of strong ball movement up front and tough defense from freshman defender Mandy Freeman gave the Women of Troy a 12-2 shot advantage in the first half, including a 2-1 lead in shots on goal. Junior goalkeeper Caroline Stanley made a couple of acrobatic saves to keep Arizona off the scoreboard. The first half was punctuated by a last-second bicycle kick from senior midfielder Haley Boysen, which went just left of the post as time expired.
Arizona matched USC’s intensity in the second half, putting quite a few close shots on goal to start the half.
Arizona started off the scoring in the 76th minute, when forward Kaitlyn Lopez took a shot from the top of the box to the top left corner past the outstretched hand of Stanley, giving the Wildcats a 1-0 lead. Arizona added to their lead just minutes later, as Lopez drew a foul in the box from sophomore defender Marlee Carrillo, earning a penalty kick and a yellow card for Carrillo. Forward Jazmin Ponce successfully converted the kick, giving the Wildcats a 2-0 lead with 12 minutes remaining.
The Women of Troy, not ready to throw in the towel yet, went right down the field, looking to make up for the deficit. They broke through in the 83rd minute as freshman midfielder Kayla Mills sent a corner kick into the box. The ball deflected off an Arizona defender and right in front of Carrillo, who was able to cut the deficit to 2-1 on her first goal of the season. Mills sped down the field in the 86th minute, drawing a foul just outside the box. Mills sent the free kick in the box, again to Carrillo, who tied it up at 2 all on her second goal of the game and sent it into overtime.
“After those kinds of things happen, there’s a little bit of guilt felt, and you really want to make up for it,” Carrillo said. “I think overall, with every moment, you want to give it everything you have, whether you mess up or whether you don’t.”
After USC made an early push to continue their momentum, Arizona got control of the ball. They were able to drive down the field, but after some interesting foul calls on Freeman and senior defender Autumn Altamirano, Ponce was able to get a free kick just outside the box. Ponce saw a chance to put the game away, curving the ball towards the upper right part of the goal. Stanley was able to get a hand on it, but the ball still found a way to the net for Ponce’s second goal of the game and 10th of the season, giving the Wildcats a 3-2 win.
“Everybody was kind of panicking. It was inside shooting range, but we wanted to stay calm and focus on the little things, like following our marks and staying touch-tied and talking to each other. It was an unfortunate call and a great finish,” Carrillo said.
USC outshot Arizona 23-10 for the game, with both teams getting 7 on goal. In a game with questionable calls going against both sides, USC committed 10 fouls to Arizona’s 6, but won the corner kick advantage 7-4.
“We had enough chances, we had enough opportunities,” USC head coach Ali Khosroshahin said. “We made some critical mistakes that they were able to capitalize on. You have to give them credit for what they did today, but I’m not real pleased with the outcome.”
The Women of Troy will look to bounce back on the road next weekend as they head to Boulder to take on Colorado (11-3-1, 3-2-1 Pac-12) on Friday, Oct. 25 at 1 p.m., followed by a trip to Salt Lake City to face Utah (7-3-5, 3-2-1 Pac-12) on Sunday, Oct. 27 at 12 p.m.
Follow us on Twitter @dailytrojan