Women’s soccer strikes late for victory over Oregon

Mohammad Alsubaie | Daily Trojan

The No. 7 women’s soccer team (8-1-1) managed a comeback at home this past Sunday, beating Oregon 2-1.

The game started very evenly, with the flow going back and forth as each team saw scoring opportunities. The flow suddenly ended in the 13th minute, however, when a poor clearance from redshirt freshman goalkeeper Kaylie Collins and subsequent defensive miscues by the Trojans backline resulted in an Oregon goal. Amid the disarray, freshman midfielder Chardonnay Curran scored into an empty net.

After the Ducks’ goal, the Women of Troy established control of the game, applying more pressure on the Oregon backline, to no avail.  After this period of Trojan pressure, the game resumed as before, with neither team managing to gain the upper hand.  USC’s best chance came in the 44th minute, when a shot from sophomore forward Taylor McMorrow stung the hands of Oregon goalkeeper Halla Hinriksdottir.  The shot bounced off Hinriksdottir’s gloves, with the ball waiting for a tap-in to equal the score, but no Trojan was able to get a foot on it.  An evenly played half ended 1-0, with Oregon mustering five shots while the Trojans only managed four.

The second half started as the first did: Oregon was the first to see goal-scoring chances, with shots in the 51st and 53rd minutes going wide and being blocked, respectively.  Then the Trojans had a pair of opportunities with a 57th-minute shot by junior defender Ally Prisock that was saved by Hinriksdottir and a 58th-minute header from senior midfielder Nicole Molen that went wide of the post.

There was a reduction in action until the 71st minute, when Hinriksdottir turned away a shot from McMorrow.  But Hinriksdottir collided with another player while blocking the subsequent rebound and had to be substituted.  Southern California native and sophomore goalkeeper Katelyn Carter was put in the Ducks’ net for the remainder of the game.

The Trojans seemed to find their rhythm with fresh blood between the posts, recording three shots in the 76th and 77th minutes. Two were saved by Carter, and the third hit the crossbar after a flurry of activity inside the Oregon penalty area.

The Trojans finally found a breakthrough in the 82nd minute: An excellent deep cross from the left side near the halfway line from junior forward Erika Okuma found the head of senior midfielder Nicole Molen, who placed it beautifully into the bottom right corner of the goal to tie the game.

It only got better for the Trojans from there. In the 84th minute — resulting from a corner kick and a weak clearance from Oregon defenders — Okuma’s long-range shot from outside the penalty box was redirected into the net by freshman forward Tara McKeown, beating Carter to her right.

The goal gave the Trojans a one-goal edge, and they survived one last onslaught from the Oregon offense to maintain the scoreline and collect another win in league play.

However, despite the victory, head coach Keidane McAlpine admitted the Trojans were second-best on the day and were fortunate to get a victory on Sunday.

“Oregon was a little bit better than us for the majority of the game,” McAlpine said. “But the competitive spirit that we have shown all season found its way into this one. We were able to get two late goals, and all the credit goes to our team for being able to get that done.”

Next for the Women of Troy is a Thursday night matchup away against Arizona as USC looks to maintain its undefeated record in the Pac-12.