Soccer defeats Colorado

Senior forward Leah Pruitt scored the only goal in USC’s 1-0 win over Colorado on Thursday. (Emily Smith | Daily Trojan)

The Women of Troy pulled off a narrow 1-0 victory in Boulder against Colorado Thursday to improve their record to 15-1-1 on the season.

The game remained close until the end. Senior forward Leah Pruitt scored the lone goal just 24 minutes into the game. The goal started with movement from redshirt sophomore midfielder Savannah DeMelo as she found sophomore midfielder Tara McKeown at the top of the box.

McKeown then looked to freshman forward Penelope Hocking, who put a shot on goal to force a save. Pruitt was there to get the rebound and find the back of the net — marking her 11th goal of the season. Pruitt leads the team in points with 30, and has the second most goals behind Hocking. Pruitt also sits in the top four in the Pac-12 in goals scored.

The Buffaloes posed a threat in the final minutes of the match when the ball hit the post on a one-on-one chance. Luckily for the Women of Troy, redshirt keeper Kaylie Collins grabbed the ball on the rebound to prevent the Buffaloes from scoring. The save allowed the Trojans to claim their sixth win, and end the game notching five saves.

The Trojans managed to log 20 shots, 12 on target. Colorado, on the other hand, struggled with only 5-of-13 shots on goal.

The win against Colorado marks the fourth season that the team has secured at least 15 victories under head coach Keidane McAlpine. McAlpine has once again proved his pedigree as one of the top soccer coaches in the nation.

Following their victory over the Buffaloes, the Trojans will travel to Salt Lake City to face the Utes Sunday for another Pac-12 matchup.

Utah has been inconsistent this season, holding a record of 8-8-1. They fell to the Bruins Thursday night by a score of 5-1. Utah has had mixed results throughout the season. They beat Washington State 2-1 when the Cougars were No. 7 in the nation, but they also lost to Oregon 1-0. It will be interesting to see how the Utes fare against the Trojans following a 10-goal weekend from the Women of Troy.

Throughout the season, Utah has scored 22 goals and have conceded 20. The Utes average over a goal per game, and, after their blowout loss to the Bruins, concede a little over a goal per game as well. The clash will be interesting since the Trojans score nearly three goals a game and concede less than half a goal per game.

The Utes will need senior midfielder Paola Van Der Veen — their most notable player — to play her A-game. Van Der Veen, originally from the Netherlands, has earned 16 points this season for the Utes, scoring seven goals and notching two assists. Junior forward Ireland Dunn also cannot be overlooked, as she is the creative spark for the team with a total of 15 points from 4 goals and seven assists.

The Utes’ impressive defensive record can be attributed to junior goalkeeper Carly Nelson who saves over 80 percent of the shots she faces. Both Nelson and USC’s redshirt sophomore keeper Kaylie Collins have similar save percentages of over 80 percent. Nelson, however, has faced nearly twice as many shots on goal than Collins.

Overall, Utah will be a force to be reckoned with. McAlpine has said past that every Pac-12 game on the road is a hard one, and Utah is no different.

The Trojans will look to maintain their good form over the past few games. USC will face Utah Sunday at 11 a.m. in Salt Lake City.