Perfect weekend for USC after capturing late victory

After an emotional victory against UCLA last week at the Coliseum, the Women of Troy rode that momentum into the weekend, capping off a sweep of the Washington schools at McAlister Field.

On Friday, the Women of Troy (10-4-3, 3-2-1) pulled out a thrilling 3-2 comeback victory over Washington State (6-12, 1-5), ending a four-year winless drought against the Cougars.

Fittingly, it was senior defender Karter Haug’s first game-winning goal in the 83rd minute that gave the Women of Troy the victory and her first win against Washington State donning the cardinal and gold.

“Washington State came out hard against us and pressured us, so when we went down, we knew we had to pick it up and we worked together as a team and pulled through,” Haug said.

In what has been an recurring tendency, the Women of Troy started off slow in the first half, allowing Washington State to capitalize on a corner kick.

Defender Ali Fenter struck a 20-yard shot that freshman goalkeeper Shelby Church tipped but could not prevent from crossing the goal line, giving the Cougars an early 1-0 lead.

In the second half, the Women of Troy noticeably picked up their play, quickly putting pressure on the Cougar backline.

“Unfortunately, we need a kick in the butt to get it going, but we always answer when we’re down,” junior midfielder Brittany Kerridge said.

After forcing multiple saves out of the Cougars goalkeeper, USC finally converted one of its many opportunities off a corner kick in the 51st minute after Haug delivered a pass to Kerridge, who shot a ball into the upper right corner for her first goal of the season, to tie the score at 1-1.

Even after tying the score, the Women of Troy continued to attack the Cougar backline.

In the 58th minute, senior forward Megan Ohai headed a ball off to the right to freshman midfielder Autumn Altamirano, who lofted a shot into the left side of the net over the outstretched hands of the Cougars goalkeeper for a 2-1 advantage.

The lead was short-lived, however, as Washington State immediately responded three minutes later — defender Rachael Doyle converted on a 25-yard free kick that pulled the Cougars even at 2-2.

But not wanting to end another game in a tie, Haug took the game into her own hands, finishing off the comeback victory and giving the Women of Troy a 3-2 win.

“You have to give Washington State credit. They were scrappy and came in with a great game plan, and they took it to us,” USC coach Ali Khosroshahin said. “Fortunately, the ladies stepped up. We just fought in the second half and that was the biggest difference.”

On Sunday, the Women of Troy (11-4-3, 4-2-1) honored their three seniors — Haug, Ohai and midfielder Alyssa Dávila — and capped off the Senior Day festivities with a 2-0 victory against the Washington Huskies (11-7-1, 4-4).

“We wanted to come out hard,” Sandoval said. “We knew they were a strong team and we just wanted to win for our seniors.”

USC started strong in the first half, controlling possession of the ball and creating multiple scoring opportunities for themselves.

In the 44th minute, Haug set up junior midfielder Carly Butcher, who blasted a shot to the bottom right post to give the Women of Troy a 1-0 advantage going into halftime.

The second half saw both teams go back and forth, with each team getting opportunities to put the ball in the back of the net.

In the 79th minute, Sandoval gave the Women of Troy a two-goal cushion with a header off a corner kick by Haug, sealing the victory for the team.

Not to overshadow the accomplishments of the defense, the USC backline held strong in shutting down the Huskies offense and freshman goalkeeper Shelby Church recorded her fifth shutout of the year.

“Our defense has been amazing,” Dávila said. “Megan Morrow went down, but it’s good to see that our defense gets it done regardless of what happens.”

Dávila said the win was satisfying.

“It feels really good to win our last home game here,” Dávila said. “Our team played really well and came together to get the win for the seniors.”