After a tough stretch at home, it doesn’t get any easier for the Women of Troy.
The USC women’s soccer team (3-9, 0-3) will head to the Bay Area for the next stretch of Pac-12 competition.
Ending a six-game losing streak and securing the team’s first conference victory won’t be an easy task. First up for the Women of Troy is No. 1 Stanford, followed by unranked California, who has received votes in the national polls in recent weeks.
“We’ve watched film on Stanford,” senior midfielder/defender Ashli Sandoval said. “They really like to attack on offense. That’s how they win games. It’s going to take a solid effort to stop them.”
Though USC has struggled, Stanford (11-0-1) is playing better soccer than any team in the country. The Cardinal has won 11 of its 12 games, with the only blemish on its record coming in a 0-0 double overtime tie at Maryland on Aug. 26. Since then, Stanford has outscored its opponents 27-2, winning nine straight games.
The Cardinal is also working on a streak of six straight shutouts, which spells trouble for a USC team that has found trouble scoring goals.
“We’ve been working hard this week on our descent, our attack,” Sandoval said. “We’re going to try and increase the pressure. Hopefully we are able to capitalize on the chances that we get.”
Cal also presents a challenge for USC. After a three-game road trip, the Golden Bears (8-3-1) return home to Berkeley, where they are 4-1 on the season.
“We haven’t seen much on Cal, but we know they’re good,” Sandoval said. “We just have to come out and play our best ball no matter who it is.”
That strategy might be an effective one for the Women of Troy. After beginning the 2011 season ranked No. 25 in the country, USC has been victimized by several close, difficult losses and is at the bottom of the Pac-12. Sandoval said that, with less pressure on the team, they might perform like it is capable of performing.
“We have nothing to lose,” Sandoval said. “We don’t want to lose, and I think we can be a great team. I think without all the pressure we can win some games.”
After USC’s latest one-goal defeat, Khosroshahin expressed similar sentiments.
“We’re going to keep kicking it,” he said. “We have to forget all the other stuff and just play.”
USC’s match against top-ranked Stanford kicks off at 7 p.m. tonight. The Women of Troy will have an off day before taking on California at 1 p.m. on Sunday.