The USC women’s soccer team flipped the script this weekend, capturing dramatic overtime wins over Oregon and Oregon State after a season of tough breaks.
Freshman forward Kayla Mills delivered the winner in Friday’s contest, before Jamie Fink did the same with a final minute penalty kick on Sunday. Both games ended 2-1 in favor of USC.
The two wins spelled the end of a difficult three-game stretch, in which the squad lost to Arizona, Colorado and Utah by just one goal. The Women of Troy now stand at 8-9-2, with a 3-6-1 mark in Pac-12 play.
USC fell behind early to the visiting Ducks on Friday, yielding a goal to the Ducks’ Kristen Parr in the fifth minute of the match.
Junior goalkeeper Caroline Stanley would respond with a lockdown performance, allowing only one goal over the next five periods of play over the weekend.
After a tense 70 minutes, sophomore Katie Johnson delivered the equalizer midway through the second half. After a scoreless rest of the half, the Women of Troy began their chase of a first overtime win. Senior forward Elizabeth Eddy and freshman forward Tanya Samarzich both had solid chances for USC, as did Oregon’s Mia Gunter.
It was Mills who would be the hero, however, with a slicing goal past Oregon keeper Abby Steele in the final minute of the first overtime period. This win got the proverbial monkey off of USC’s back, and set up another exciting win on Sunday.
The Women of Troy fell behind immediately for the second straight contest against Oregon State when the Beavers scored on the first shot of the game at the 46-second mark. This time, however, USC would strike back immediately.
Eddy converted a penalty kick just seven minutes later after senior defender Autumn Altimirano was fouled in the box.
After a quiet first half, the USC offense exploded for 19 shots in the second half to the Beavers’ three. Unfortunately, the team could not convert, and went to overtime for the second straight game.
In a heartstopping moment early in the extra period, a yellow card from Marlee Carrillo set up a Beavers free kick just 17 yards from the goal. The USC defense would come through with a block, setting up an unbelievable finish.
With just 17 seconds left in the last period, Oregon State was called for a handball in the box.
The foul set up the winning penalty kick from Fink. As the penalty was called, USC coach Ali Khosroshahin was in disbelief.
“I couldn’t believe we got a call that late in the game,” he said. “But good things happen when you put up 43 shots.”
It was a heartstopping yet fitting final homestand for the Women of Troy, who celebrated seniors Eddy, Altamirano, Mia Bruno, Jordan Marada, and Haley Boysen on Sunday in a pregame ceremony.
The team moves on to their final game of the season this Thursday night, a road matchup against archrival UCLA.
The Bruins are at the top of the Pac-12 and ranked No. 2 in the nation. The Women of Troy will attempt to duplicate last year’s result, when they toppled UCLA at home on a buzzer-beating goal from Marada.
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