Soccer keeps win streak alive in overtime battle

Sophomore forward Tara McKeown has been one of the top players in the nation this season, leading USC to a perfect start.  (Ling Luo / Daily Trojan)

No. 3 USC women’s soccer narrowly defeated Seattle University 3-2 in overtime Friday night, extending the team’s record-breaking win streak to seven games. 

The Trojans got off to their usual fast start, as junior forward Tara McKeown found sophomore forward Penelope Hocking in the 23rd minute for Hocking’s sixth goal of the season. McKeown and Hocking have been stellar as a duo throughout the non-conference play.

USC’s lead did not last long, as Seattle equalized in the 32nd minute with a header goal by redshirt senior defender Olivia Ovenell off a free kick from 40 yards out. This was the first goal conceded by the Trojan defense in the last 249 minutes of play.

Just seconds before halftime, redshirt senior utility Natalie Jacobs found the back of the net on a deflection, and the Trojans were back on top at the break. USC has scored multiple goals in every game this season, so this match was no different.

The Trojans outshot the Redhawks 11 to 4 in the second half, but Seattle was able to capitalize in the 84th minute as junior forward Leahi Manthei took advantage of a loose ball to tie the game at 2 goals each.

Seattle was able to force overtime, and USC head coach Keidane McAlpine said that was impressed by the Redhawks’ performance.

“Tonight was a tough one in many ways,” McAlpine said in an interview with USC Athletics. “I thought Seattle did a great job in the game tonight.” 

The Trojans entered overtime with experience under their belt from earlier this season when they played past 90 minutes against then-No. 1 Florida State and came out on top.

Extra time was short-lived as junior midfielder Arlie Jones finished a second-chance opportunity outside the 6-yard box in the 93rd minute. The game-winner was Jones’ second goal this season, adding her to the list of four USC players with 2 or more goals so far this season.

The Trojans maintained their perfect record, although the game was not a pretty one.

“[It was] not our best performance, but we found a way to win,” McAlpine said.

McAlpine also spoke of the importance of winning games on nights where not everything is clicking for the team.

“Our team grew up a little bit today because we were tested, and we were pushed in ways that we needed and we are going to need moving forward,” McAlpine said. “We found a way to win on a day where we didn’t play our best, and that’s what it’s all about. If you want to do great things later, you have to be able to find ways to do this.”

The Trojans improved to a 7-0 record on the season, while the Redhawks dropped to 3-3-1.

USC will have a full week of practice before hitting the road Friday to face Baylor. The game will be the Trojans’ last non-conference outing before Pac-12 play begins against No. 2 Stanford.