The women’s soccer team is preparing for their final home matches of the regular season, hosting both Oregon State on Thursday and Oregon on Sunday.
The Trojans stand at 12-1-1 this season following their tight victory away at No. 19 Washington State over the weekend. Senior forward Leah Pruitt, sophomore midfielder Tara McKeown and freshman forward Penelope Hocking all found the back of the net to help the Women of Troy claim a 3-2 victory.
McAlpine commended Washington State’s speed on the ball and admitted that the Cougars posed a challenge to the Women of Troy.
In their first game of the week, the Trojans will host Oregon State on Thursday at 3 p.m. With a 2-12 record, the Beavers are not the most difficult of opponents for the Trojans. However, they did manage a victory against Cal on Oct. 4. Cal proved to be a challenge for the Trojans on Sept. 27, as they needed overtime to beat the Golden Bears.
The Beavers have struggled to score this season, with only 6 goals in 14 games. Redshirt freshman forward McKenzie Weinert, who has scored 2 goals, will be a key player against USC. The defense does not appear much better, as it has conceded 34 goals this season.
On Sunday, USC will host Oregon at 1 p.m. The Ducks have a 7-6-1 record on the season. They’ve had impressive results and close games against quality opponents, taking Stanford to overtime on Oct. 4 but falling short of the win. However, the Ducks have lost their past five games, including a 4-1 home loss to Colorado on Oct. 13.
The Ducks have scored 16 goals and conceded 15 this year. Six of those goals came through senior forward Marissa Everett. However, freshman forward Zoe Hasenauer is a creative outlet with four assists on the season.
The Trojans did not let their loss to Stanford earlier in the season dent their spirits. They have won all three games following their defeat to the Cardinal and have managed to score at least two times in each of those games.
Hocking will be the player to watch this weekend. The freshman has been impressive all season in her role of coming off the bench. She has scored seven times this year with four assists. Her ability to open up defenses with her fast movement and intelligent runs off the ball have helped the Trojans score more goals late in halves. Her hard work was rewarded by finding the net in her last two games.
Defensively, the Trojans have only conceded seven times to date, averaging out to .50 goals against per game this year. While the whole backline has been impressive all season, senior defender Ally Prisock has led the way. Prisock offers an ability unlike other defenders in the Pac-12.
“When you talk about great teams, you talk about great goalkeepers, great center backs, you talk about your number six and your number nine as being the spine of your team, and Ally by far is the spine of our team,” McAlpine said earlier this year. “But more importantly, she is the competitiveness that we have and the urgency that we play with. [It’s great] when you have that kind of player in there for as long as we have, and being able to be that consistent with starting and playing games and with her performances.”
Winning both of these games would leave the Women of Troy undefeated at home in the regular season.