Trojans continue hot streak with dominant win over CSUN

Sophomore defender Zoe Burns dribbles the ball in the middle of the field.
Sophomore defender Zoe Burns looks to settle the ball in USC’s 4-0 win against CSUN Sunday. (Nayeon Ryu | Daily Trojan)

The women’s soccer team defeated California State University, Northridge 4-0 on senior day in the team’s last match before the start of Pac-12 play. Amid their run of convincing victories and clean sheets, the Trojans continued with a sound victory over the Matadors at Soni McAlister Field. 

The win adds to the Trojans’ 5-2 record and is their fifth consecutive victory following two opening losses. USC’s offense recorded 28 shot attempts to CSUN’s six shot attempts throughout the game.

USC opened the scoreline in the 19th minute when senior forward Penelope Hocking sprinted through the right flank and provided senior forward Jada Talley an assist en route, allowing Talley to score her   first goal of the season. Despite junior defender Isabel Rolley nearly scoring an unexpected shot  from outside the penalty box and freshman midfielder Helena Sampaio hitting a swift volley, the Trojans entered the second half with a one-goal advantage.   

CSUN responded in the opening minutes of the second half, with Northridge’s redshirt sophomore forward Alyssa Aguilar’s ground shot saved by senior goalkeeper Anna Smith. 

The Trojans eventually stopped any chance of a comeback in the second half by slotting three goals past the Matadors within six minutes. In the 70th minute, Hocking received possession from a failed clearance and hit a 25-yard shot into the top right corner of the goal to make it 2-0. A minute later, freshman defender Brooklyn Courtnall found junior forward Hannah White, who rounded CSUN’s goalkeeper before slotting into an open goal. In the 76th minute, freshman forward Julia Gomez dribbled past two Northridge defenders in the penalty box before converting the last goal and cementing the victory. 

“Northridge did a good job slowing us down, and we played into it a little bit,” said head coach Keidane McAlpine. “We didn’t play with enough tempo, enough urgency, enough pace to the game, and that was something we wanted to build in the second half.” 

USC’s defensive backline and  goalkeeper had little to do throughout the game, only facing a total of six attempts with three reaching Smith in goal. The shutout marked the fourth consecutive clean sheet for the Trojans. 

“This is exactly what we expect our team to look like in terms of our defensive presence,” head coach Keidane Mcalpine said. “We want clean sheets. We want limited chances. We want limited corner kicks. I thought we did a lot of that today and kept the momentum that we have been building with our defense and the unity, chemistry and symmetry we have with that backline.” 

Although USC started the season with back-to-back losses against Pepperdine and BYU, the Trojans have turned around their season and are in good shape  ahead of their opening Pac-12 match. 

“It helps to be on a win streak,” McAlpine said. “All of that momentum — getting a lot of people into the game, getting a lot of people into the scoring column, scoring a lot of goals in the last few games gives us an opportunity to really feel good going into the Pac-12.” 

USC plays Oregon State Friday at 4 p.m. at Soni McAlister Field in a heavily contested bout against the undefeated Beavers.