With the season winding down, the USC women’s soccer team has found a way to turn it up.
USC split its weekend matchups at Utah and Colorado, falling 3-0 to the Utes on Friday before rebounding for a 1-0 victory over the Buffaloes on Sunday afternoon. The win over Colorado marked the Women of Troy’s fourth win in five games and third shutout of the season.
“I’ve seen a lot more swagger from the girls the past couple weeks,” USC coach Ali Khosroshahin said. “It’s a noticeable difference both during the week’s practices and on game day. It’s what we were missing the first part of the year.”
USC played Colorado to a scoreless tie through 58 minutes before senior midfielder Brittany Kerridge found senior forward/defender Ashley Freyer for the game-winning goal, Freyer’s third netter on the season.
“I just kind of found the ball at my feet and one-timed it to Ashley,” Kerridge said. “It was a great shot.”
Freshman goalie Carley Pennington, filling in for regular starter sophomore Shelby Church, pitched a shutout for the Women of Troy, saving all three opportunities she had.
“Carley’s done a great job holding down the position and making some great saves for us,” Khosroshahin said. “You’ve got to give the back line credit as well. They’ve really stepped up their game. The whole group has looked a lot more determined.”
USC was up against more than just two conference opponents during the weekend. The raised elevation in the mountain region tested the team’s conditioning, but Khosroshahin said he couldn’t have been happier with how the Women of Troy handled the adversity.
“For the ladies to put out the effort they did [against Colorado] was remarkable,” he said. “Competing in raised elevation is probably one of the most difficult things to do and they did a very good job.”
Kerridge echoed similar sentiments.
“It was like being unable to catch your breath at all times,” the Kerridge said. “We had four days of practice in it and we hydrated really well, which helped a lot. I was really proud of the girls.”
USC wasn’t quite as sharp two days earlier against Pac-12 newcomer Utah. The Utes took the lead just two minutes into the game when freshman Katie Taylor scored on a deflected cross and the Women of Troy were never able to respond. The goal was the first of three in the first half for Utah, which was led by the two-goalie tandem of senior Hannah Turpen and sophomore Mulcock, who combined for six saves.
USC wraps up its season Friday against No. 2 UCLA in Westwood. The Women of Troy can finish just a game under .500 in conference play with a victory after an 0-5 start.