The USC women’s soccer team spent the weekend battling two of the toughest opponents the Pac-12 has to offer, fighting until the very end both times. Unfortunately, USC (5-10-3, 2-6-2) fell 1-0 to both No. 1 Stanford (15-1-1, 9-0-0) at the Los Angeles Coliseum in double overtime and No. 21 California (15-4-0, 8-2-0).
“I think it has a real positive impact on us moving forward, but right now it becomes a little frustrating for them,” said USC coach Ali Khosroshahin, when asked about playing eight overtime games in a season. “Not getting the bounces, not getting the results. We just gotta fight on here.”
USC’s contest against California went back and forth all game, with both teams almost even in shots (15-14 USC) and corners (4-3 California). Unfortunately, USC caught an unlucky break when Cal’s Ifeoma Onumonu hit a shot from across the field, scoring the only goal of the match on a shot to the far left post.
“The girls are definitely resilient. They’ve been through a lot this year, a lot of heartbreaks,” Khosroshahin said. “They don’t quit. They keep working and they keep fighting on.”
Junior midfielder Jordan Marada led the Trojans with four shots, while sophomore goalkeeper Caroline Stanley racked up three saves.
“We got a whole lot of talent and everybody puts their heart out there every single time, said junior midfielder Elizabeth Eddy. “That’s gonna take us to the next level.”
The Coliseum served as a fitting backdrop as the game featured the two Pac-12 teams to ever win an NCAA women’s soccer championship. Even though Stanford outshot USC 25-12, both teams had an equal amount of scoring opportunities. The game went into overtime, USC’s eighth of the season and only Stanford’s second, where things continued to heat up.
The 2011 champs caught a lucky break, as the 2007 champs appeared to win the game on a goal from the box by Jordan Marada, but the goal was nullified because of an offsides call while the celebrations started. Freshman forward Katie Johnson attempted to give USC the win for good on a feed from Eddy, but the shot was stopped by Stanford goalkeeper Emily Oliver, pushing the game into a second overtime.
Stanford took advantage of a USC foul in the 103rd minute to seal the win, as Alina Garciamendez nailed the game-winning goal.
“Stanford is an incredible team,” sophomore goalkeeper Caroline Stanley said. “They were national champions last year, we knew we were in for a fight. I could not be prouder of these girls for the way they fought throughout the whole game. Tonight proved that we can keep up with these teams, and I have no doubt in my mind that we can beat teams like this.”
USC plays its final regular season game at McAlister Field on Friday against No. 2 UCLA at 2:00 p.m. The game will be televised on Pac-12 Network Los Angeles.