No. 7 women’s soccer knocks off top-ranked Stanford

first_imgJuliette Pisani | Daily TrojanTimber! · Senior midfielder Morgan Andrews (left) scored twice as the Trojans upset No. 1 Stanford to keep their win streak alive.The women’s soccer team welcomed the nation’s top team to McAlister Field on Thursday, as No. 1 Stanford came to Los Angeles looking to snap the Women of Troy’s nine-game win streak. A perfect month of September (7-0) catapulted USC to No. 7 in the NSCAA Coaches poll, and the squad kept rolling against the Cardinal, earning its 10th win on the trot and setting a new program record in a 3-0 victory.The Women of Troy were adventurous from the start of the match, but they struggled to establish sustained periods of possession. The Stanford midfield dictated the game in the opening minutes with an aggressive, high line, pressing USC into numerous turnovers.“We didn’t hold the ball in some moments and our composure in some moments wasn’t great, but these are the games that help you measure where you really want to be at the end of the year,” head coach Keidane McAlpine said. “This is a good barometer: We now know we can play them and what we have to do to improve in games like this.”But despite several Cardinal opportunities in the first 20 minutes, the Trojan defense held firm, and USC began to find its footing as the half progressed. It didn’t take long for the Women of Troy to click into their familiar tempo and find the breakthrough.Senior midfielder Mandy Freeman controlled the ball in the center of the park in the 28th minute and performed almost a full pirouette to roll her marker. Freeman set Morgan Andrews free in the penalty area, and the senior roofed a left-footed shot to put the Cardinal behind for the first time this season, continuing the Women of Troy’s penchant for scoring in spectacular fashion this year.Another highlight-reel goal followed in the second half, when sophomore Leah Pruitt sprung a Trojan counterattack in the 56th minute. She passed to redshirt junior Alex Anthony in midfield, and the forward noticed Stanford keeper Alison Jahansouz straying from her net. Anthony was closer to the halfway line than the goal line when she lifted a shot over Jahansouz to double USC’s lead.“I saw their backline sort of drop off me, which gave me space to turn, and then once I turned and looked up, I saw the keeper was close to 18 yards off her line,” Anthony said. “I saw an open net … so I shot.”The second half played out much like the first did: The Cardinal doggedly pursued their first goal, and the Women of Troy turned them away while looking to quickly flip the field.  The Trojan game plan worked to perfection, and Andrews notched her second goal with a tap-in in the 78th minute to put the result beyond doubt. Junior Sydney Sladek cut diagonally into the Cardinal box and passed across the keeper, setting Andrews up with an open net.After a resounding win over the nation’s top dog, McAlpine was confident the Women of Troy were ready to entrench themselves among college soccer’s elite. He said Thursday’s victory solidified the program’s respect but also stressed that the team now had to learn to play “as a frontrunner and not as an underdog.”Anthony agreed and credited her coach for USC’s current position.“It’s a huge testament to what Keidane has done for this program,” she said. “I think we’re back on the soccer scene for sure, and we’re going to start getting the recognition I think the team deserves.”But McAlpine was keen to ensure the squad didn’t get ahead of itself, saying there was still work to be done with No. 14 Cal visiting McAlister Field on Sunday. But there is no denying their recent success, and the Women of Troy are brimming with confidence.“I think every team thinks they’re the best team in the country,” Anthony said, “and I would not say any differently about us. [This win] is a very exciting stepping stone, and I’m looking forward to what the rest of the season has to offer.”last_img

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