Soccer defeats No. 19 Washington State

Sophomore forward Tara McKeown scored a goal against Washington State in USC’s 3-2 victory to give her 3 goals on the season. (Emily Smith | Daily Trojan)

The No. 2 women’s soccer team battled down to the last minute to secure a 3-2 win over No. 19 Washington State Saturday night. The Trojans improved to an overall record of 12-1-1 and 5-1-0 record in Pac-12 play.

The win marked the eighth game of the season in which the Trojans scored at least 3 goals, but this game came down to the wire.

With a 3-1 score, Washington State junior forward Morgan Weaver drew contact from the Trojans, which gave senior defender Maddy Haro the free kick. Haro sent the ball in front of the goal, and freshman forward Molly Myers took the rebound and drilled a shot, bringing the Cougars within 1. However, the Trojan defense was solid for the final 18 minutes and the Cougars ran out of time to find an equalizer.

This was the first home loss for the Cougars all season. Washington State’s record fell to 10-3-0 overall and 3-3-0 in Pac-12 conference play.

USC senior forward Leah Pruitt put the Trojans on the board first, converting a penalty kick in the 37th minute.

The Trojans doubled their lead at the start of the second half with a goal from sophomore forward Tara McKeown in the 54th minute. McKeown intercepted a Cougar pass in the midfield and turned it into a scoring attack.

Washington State closed the score gap. Not even a minute after McKeown’s goal, the Cougars were gifted with a penalty kick and Haro buried the shot to give Washington State its first goal of the game, bringing the score to 2-1.

USC then picked up its offensive play. Freshman forward Penelope Hocking’s header found its way to the back of the net in the 63rd minute, giving the Trojans a 3-1 lead.

USC is now 2-1-1 against ranked opponents. The Trojans held a 18-16 shot advantage during the game, though the Cougars led 7-5 with shots on goal. Trojan goalie redshirt sophomore Kaylie Collins had five saves, her third highest total of the season. Saturday night’s game also marks the second time this season that the Trojans have given up more than 1 goal in a game.

On the offensive end, Pruitt leads the Trojan offense with 8 goals this season, with Hocking following close with 7 goals. Pruitt was recognized as USC’s Player of the Game in honor of her goal and assist for the game winner.

The Trojan offense fought to get on the board first and continued creating chances to add to their lead, while the defense held solid against a strong Cougar offense.   

Now past the midway point in Pac-12 play, the Trojans are headed to the final stretch. An almost impenetrable defense and aggressive offense has kept USC ahead in the majority of its games.

To close the season, the Trojans have upcoming games against No. 16 Colorado Oct. 25 and No. 10 UCLA Nov. 4 where they will continue to perfect their game in preparation for the upcoming matches.

The Trojans will return home for two more Pac-12 games, hosting Oregon State Thursday at 3 p.m. and Oregon on Sunday at 1 p.m.