USC women’s soccer faces two tough tests

first_imgAfter a bittersweet weekend in which they followed up a tough 1-0 loss to Colorado with a 2-0 victory over Utah, the Women of Troy now face their most challenging weekend of the season.Tough D · After sitting out her first two seasons due to injury, redshirt sophomore defender Dominique Randle has not allowed a goal this year. – Brian Ji | Daily Trojan USC (8-2-2, 2-1-0 Pac-12) will host the No. 21 California Bears Friday before playing host to the No. 3 Stanford Cardinal. As a team with the goal of making it to postseason this year, the Women of Troy know the importance of the upcoming weekend.To prepare, the Women of Troy spent the week in practice focusing on improvements on both sides of the ball.“Tuesday was a lot about building our defensive pressure, figuring out how we move together and making sure we weren’t getting separated or clustered into groups,” USC head coach Keidane McAlpine said. “Wednesday was about staying in rhythm offensively, and I thought we did pretty good. We didn’t get enough shots on frame Friday, even though I thought that our movement towards the frame was good. Thursday was mostly fine-tuning set pieces and making sure we are going into the weekend feeling good about ourselves.”The team will have its first opportunity to showcase its hard work Friday against Cal, who will be led by two double-digit point scorers in midfielder Taylor Comeau (7 goals, 5 assists) and midfielder Kelly Fitzgerald (5 goals). Cal will enter the match with a record of 9-3-0, but after losing two consecutive conference games this past weekend — 1-0 to Washington State on Friday and 2-1 to Washington Sunday — they will undoubtedly be looking for a bounce-back performance of their own against USC.“Cal is hungry,” McAlpine said. “They are coming off a tough weekend, and we are going to get their best shot Friday.”After battling with the Bears Friday, the Women of Troy will need to make a quick turnaround for their game Sunday when the Stanford Cardinal will come to town looking to continue their undefeated play this season. At 10-0-2, the only hiccups of the season thus far were ties with then-No. 25 Notre Dame on Sept. 7 (0-0, 2OT) and with Utah on Sept. 26 (1-1, 2OT). Stanford will be coming off a huge Thursday night matchup with No. 1 UCLA, which will likely determine who finishes atop the Pac-12 standings at the end of the season.Stanford will present the most difficult challenge to date for the Women of Troy. With 26 goals in their first 12 games, led by forward Ryan Walker-Hartshorn, who has put in eight in the back of the net so far this year. The biggest obstacle posed by the Cardinal, however, is its airtight defense. Stanford leads the nation in goals-against average at .159, having allowed just two goals in 12 games. The Women of Troy, currently ranked 10th in scoring offense with 2.83 goals per game, will look to buck this trend and uproot the Cardinal defense.Though this weekend will provide some serious challenges for the Women of Troy, senior captain and goalie Caroline Stanley is confident that the team will be ready to go.“Nobody on our team is scared,” she said. “It’s all about our mentality. It’s about being aggressive and going out and taking control of the game.”Both games will be played at McAlister Field and broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks. The Friday matchup with Cal kicks off at noon, while the Sunday showdown with Stanford will begin at 3 p.m.“If you want to see good, exciting, high-level soccer, this is the weekend to do it,” McAlpine said. “Both games are can’t-miss games. There will be plenty of great athletes and soccer players representing a variety of national teams as well as the Pac-12 Conference. It’s going to be a fun weekend.”last_img

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