USC’s women’s soccer team picked up two early-season honors this week, as junior midfielder Reilly Parker and senior goalkeeper Caroline Stanley won Pac-12 Offensive Player and Goalkeeper of the Week, respectively. It is the first Pac-12 Player of the Week award for both of these Women of Troy.
Parker transferred to USC from national powerhouse North Carolina this season and has made an immediate impact. While playing left defensive back, she has become a staple of the starting 11 and an essential part of the squad’s defensive core under first-year head coach Keidane McAlpine. In this weekend’s games, however, her contribution came in the form of offensive firepower.
Parker racked up four shots over the weekend at the Notre Dame Adidas Invitational and netted two goals in as many games to lead the Women of Troy to a 3-1 victory over Iowa State and a 2-1 stunner against No. 9 Notre Dame. Parker’s winner in the 72nd minute against Notre Dame completed the comeback against the Irish, and her defensive work was enough to hold both of the weekend’s opposition to just one goal in each match.
This season, Parker has placed five shots on goal and made two, the highest shooting percentage on the team (.400). The Danville, California native appears very capable of filling the void left by last year’s leading scorer, Elizabeth Eddy, who was drafted by the National Women’s Soccer League’s Sky Blue FC in January.
Though Parker has impressed on defense at times this season, nobody is more crucial to USC’s defensive effort than Stanley.
Though she had a shaky start to the weekend, allowing an Iowa State goal in the third minute of the game, the Kansas City, Missouri native held down the fort for the rest of the game.
Stanley only allowed two goals past her net all weekend, while gathering seven saves. Despite not reaching double-digit numbers in saves, Stanley was constantly tested, especially during the Notre Dame match where she weathered a total of 18 shots from the Fighting Irish.
A penalty kick save in the 74th minute was by far the most crucial of all her efforts when she stopped Irish forward Glory Williams’ shot from the mark and stifled all of Notre Dame’s following attempts to tie the game up. Her scoreline-preserving save proved to be the pinnacle of the team’s impressive games this past week and has now earned her a well-deserved Pac-12 Goalkeeper of the Week award.
The Women of Troy emerge from a successful weekend — both on and off the pitch — undefeated, and looking poised to continue their outstanding play. They will have their first opportunity to do so this Friday during their home opener against the undefeated UC Riverside Lady Highlanders at 4 p.m. at USC’s McAlister Field.