The No. 6 women’s soccer team took a two-game road trip to Washington last week to take on a pair of Pac-12 rivals, and the team returned home with a pair of wins over Washington and Washington State.
Spearheaded by a dominant performance from redshirt senior forward Alex Anthony, the Women of Troy began the road trip with their sixth conference win, topping Washington at Husky Soccer Stadium. Playing through a torrential downpour, the Trojans took an early 2-goal lead. A strong backline anchored USC, and the team was able to maintain its lead throughout the rest of the game.
Washington started with the early momentum, but the Women of Troy quickly stole it back with their first goal of the night, coming in just the fifth minute. Anthony, deep into the Washington zone, muscled her way through a couple of defenders and slammed a shot into the back of the net.
USC continued applying offensive pressure for the remainder of the first half, sending several shots toward the Washington goal. With 11 minutes remaining in the half, Anthony was back at it again. Junior forward Leah Pruitt sprung Anthony with a through ball, and the redshirt senior found herself one-on-one with Washington goalkeeper Sarah Shimer. Shimer denied Anthony’s first shot, but Anthony did not give up on the play. The keeper was unable to gain possession of the ball, and Anthony tapped in uncontested on the rebound.
“It was pretty easy to post up — that was nice,” Anthony said. “We were isolated up top. It really left us one-v-one up there and allowed us to just play it into the high player and get around.”
Anthony’s brace marked her first multi-goal game of the 2017 season. She now leads the team with 7 goals. Anthony and the Trojan offense kept the pressure on the Huskies throughout the final 45 minutes, outshooting their opponent 6-1.
The USC backline, as usual, played a stellar game, allowing just three shots from Washington. This helped redshirt freshman goalkeeper Kaylie Collins tally her sixth clean sheet of the season, as the Women of Troy cruised to a 2-0 victory.
Similar to their previous game, the Women of Troy wasted no time creating scoring opportunities against the Cougars.
In the eighth minute, Anthony played a ball over to Pruitt, and from 23 yards out, Pruitt placed a
one-touch shot into the bottom right corner of the Washington State net just out of Dederick’s reach — granting the Trojans the early 1-0 lead.
But the Cougars’ freshman forward Elyse Bennett found the equalizer in the 26th minute with a shot to the far post from just inside the 18-yard box. However, the Women of Troy were not fazed by the tied score. They worked to find the go-ahead goal and pushed ahead once again in the 41st minute.
Just before reaching the goal line, Pruitt dropped a pinpoint cross right onto the toe of sophomore midfielder Ashleigh Plumptre, who was stationed in front of the Washington State goal. Plumptre tapped the ball in to steal the lead and earn her first goal in Cardinal and Gold.
The remainder of the game was a battle of defense. Neither USC nor WSU allowed a goal, despite 10 shots for the Trojans and seven for the Cougars. The Trojans closed the game 2-1 to earn their sixth Pac-12 win and improve their overall record to 13-1-1.
“Today was a really gritty performance by our team,” head coach Keidane McAlpine said. “I’m very proud of the way that we were able to manage the game and come out with a win against a fabulous and very tough-minded WSU team.”
USC will return home to prepare for a two-game stretch against high-ranked competition: No. 16 Cal visits McAlister Field on Thursday, and No. 1 Stanford rolls through on Sunday.