The USC women’s soccer team is looking to replicate last year’s season finale as they finish their regular season against No. 2 UCLA on Thursday in Westwood.
The Women of Troy (8-9-2, 3-6-1 Pac-12) are coming off of a sweep of conference opponents from the state of Oregon, pulling out a 2-1 overtime win on Friday over the Ducks (4-11-3, 2-7-1 Pac-12) and a 2-1 double overtime win on Sunday over the Beavers (5-12-2, 3-6-1 Pac-12) on Senior Day.
After Oregon’s Kristen Parr scored just over four minutes into the game, sophomore forward Katie Johnson knocked the equalizer in in the 80th minute to send the game into overtime. Freshman midfielder Kayla Mills would score the game-winner against Oregon to end a three-game losing streak for USC. After Oregon State’s Jenna Richardson opened with a goal 46 seconds into Sunday’s contest, senior forward Elizabeth Eddy used a penalty kick in the 10th minute to tie the game at 1. The game would go down to the wire, as a handball call on the Beavers in the final minute led to the game-winning penalty kick from sophomore midfielder Jamie Fink.
“I think the weird thing about our team is that, when we get scored on, we come back crazy and ready to fight,” senior midfielder Autumn Altamirano said. “I think it was a good thing they scored early on us.”
The Women of Troy outshot their opponents 73-21 over the weekend, picking up a season-high 43 shots against the Beavers.
“Our team has been peaking, and we always seem to peak near the end of the year, so hopefully we’ll maybe get the chance to play further on,” Eddy said. “Our team is just kind of coming together and playing for each other.”
Mills enters the finale as USC’s points leader with 15 (4 goals, 7 assists). Eddy leads the team in goals (six), followed by Johnson (five).
UCLA (16-1-2, 8-0-2 Pac-12) continued their perfect conference run with a 3-0 win over Oregon State on Friday and a 2-0 win over Oregon on Sunday. Their win over the Ducks clinched their 11th Pac-12 championship and first since 2008.
Darian Jenkins leads the Bruins with 24 points (10 goals, 4 assists), while Taylor Smith and Sarah Killion are tied for the team lead in assists with eight each. Goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland has 10 shutouts and a 0.32 goals against average on the season.
“We’ve got more than 72 hours to recover, so we should be fine,” USC head coach Ali Khosroshahin said, brushing off any fears about the possibility of the two overtime contests affecting their performance Thursday.
The Bruins are outscoring their opponents 36-6 on the season, while the Women of Troy have outscored their opponents 30-23.
Due to the squad’s lengthy losing streak at the beginning of conference play, it’s extremely doubtful that the Women of Troy will qualify for postseason play.
But USC hopes to repeat the result from last year’s match against UCLA, when they also beat a No. 2-ranked Bruins squad 3-2 in their last game to end the season on a high note.
Senior midfielder Jordan Marada scored the game-winning goal at the end of the first overtime in USC’s ninth overtime game of the 2012 season.
The Women of Troy are 5-20-1 all-time against UCLA, and are 3-5 against the Bruins under Khosroshahin.
“UCLA’s always a fun match, and we always get pumped up for them,” Altamirano said.
The teams kick off in Westwood at 5 p.m.
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