The women’s soccer team remained undefeated after claiming two hard-earned victories against Missouri and San Diego over the weekend.
The Trojans faced the Tigers on Friday and claimed a 2-0 victory. The Women of Troy had a number of shots in the first half, but were only able to find the back of the net courtesy of redshirt sophomore attacking midfielder Savannah DeMelo. The Trojans continued to push on in the second half with a number of shots, and managed to score from a beautiful chip by junior defensive midfielder Jalen Woodward from a corner kick.
Woodward linked play from the back to the midfield seamlessly and won just about every 50-50 ball she faced on defense against the Tigers.
“Really, I’m more of a defensive minded player. So that’s my first job and my first priority,” Woodward said. “But I think that in games like this it allows me space and time to get forward in those opportunities and moments when we do have cover and get the ball forward. I can get in on the attack as well.”
While the Trojans contained most of the possession throughout the game, they had difficulty breaking down Missouri’s defense. The Tigers were playing extremely deep with five defenders and two defensive midfielders behind the ball. Missouri did not look to attack the Trojans at all, instead, it looked to contain USC’s high-powered offense. Missouri’s “park the bus” tactics proved difficult for the Trojans at times, as they were having trouble creating space to have faster, more dangerous movement for most of the game. While they created a lot of shots and opportunities, many of them weren’t from excellent spots in the box.
“We just have to play faster and move the ball faster,” head coach Keidane McAlpine said. “We have to force teams to come out and defend us. And at moments we did that. We moved the ball well, we were aggressive and we were assertive. We kept them moving and trying to find us and it was great. But then we slowed our tempo throughout the game and allowed them sometimes to feel confident about themselves, so that’s the frustration.”
On Sunday, the Women of Troy had a tough time against San Diego, coming back twice to claim the victory at home. The Trojans started down 1-0 after 10 minutes of play, conceding for the first time in over 440 minutes of play. Redshirt junior forward Natalie Jacobs soon came to the rescue, scoring a header from a cross from sophomore forward Tara McKeown. The Trojans then scored another goal six minutes later to cut the lead to 2-1. However, freshman forward Penelope Hocking beat the keeper after a nice long through ball from senior defender Ally Prisock to level the score 2-2 at halftime.
The Trojans were more composed in the second half and eventually claimed the victory courtesy of senior forward Leah Pruitt. Pruitt started the play by sending a nice through ball to Hocking from around the halfway line. She then quickly darted into the penalty box and found the back of the net from a cross by Hocking. It was a great heads-up play by the senior which was rewarded with a goal. Her hustle and great positional sense proved to be the decisive factor for the Trojans against USD as they claimed a narrow 3-2 victory.
The Trojans will look to remain undefeated as they take on Long Beach State in their next two matchups this weekend.