Soccer looks strong for Seattle

Junior forward Tara McKeown dribbles past a Missouri defender. McKeown has been an offensive powerhouse for the Trojans so far this season with 7 goals and four assists. (Tal Volk / Daily Trojan)

The No. 6-ranked USC women’s soccer team will face Seattle on Friday after starting its season 6-0 for the first time in program history. 

The Trojans are coming off two shutout wins against Northern Arizona and Nebraska. Sophomore keeper Anna Smith has impressed many by starting the past 4 games in place of injured redshirt junior Kaylie Collins.

Offensively, the Trojans have appeared unstoppable with forwards junior Tara McKeown and sophomore Penelope Hocking. McKeown and Hocking are responsible for 12 of the Trojans’ 16 goals so far this season, and have also combined for seven assists.

Hocking scored 3 goals combined in the Northern Arizona and Nebraska games — 2 of them assisted by McKeown. 

McKeown has been leading USC’s offense, either scoring or assisting on goals in each of the first six games. McKeown leads the team this season with 7 goals. 

”I’m really excited to have scorers that have this kind of consistency,” head coach Keidane McAlpine said. “For [McKeown and Hocking] to be as skilled as they are and as fast as they are … is definitely a luxury for our team.” 

The Trojans have also been dominant defensively, holding their opponents to just 3 goals so far this season. On the other hand, Seattle has played outstanding offense, so USC must enter the match with a strong game plan in order to slow the Redhawks down. 

McAlpine understands that Seattle will not be an easy matchup on the road, and McAlpine thinks the team’s 4-0 road loss to Gonzaga on Sunday could provide extra fuel against the Trojans. 

”It is harder to play a team coming off a loss because they are a little bit more motivated, and they are going to be at home,” McAlpine said. “So, they will be a lot more comfortable in the way they want to play their style.”

The Trojans will need to be ready to face a motivated Redhawks team. With all his team’s success so far this season, McAlpine understands that it is important for the Trojans to remain focused, and to prepare for one game at a time. 

“We also respect the opponent, and we know that there’s plenty of talent up there with great players, great coaches and great organization,” McAlpine said. “We just try to focus on each game because we understand that at any moment we can be beat.”

USC will look to extend its fast start to seven straight wins starting at 7 p.m. on Friday in Seattle.