The Return Of Soccer And The USC Women bell Points Member Joined: Sep 20, 2017 Messages: 165 Likes Received: 73 Sep 2, 2019 #1 IN CASE YOU’VE NOT BEEN WATCHING... ...soccer is back and so are the Trojan women. They’ve had a few local matches and two more in Hawaii, all of which (surprise, surprise) they won. An early test came this past Friday and Sunday when they and UCLA co-hosted the FL pair of FSU and UF. (I’m sure there’s as much love between the FL pair as there is between USC and UCLA). In the first of Friday’s doubleheader at the new Banc of California Stadium, home of the LAFC, #4 UCLA defeated the NCAA defending champion and #1-ranked FSU, 2–1. In the second game. USC took out unranked UF, 3-1 with two goals from emerging scorer Tara McKeown in either half, and one from Arlie Jones in the first. In a goal for USC was backup keeper Anna Smith, subbing for All-Conf performer, Kaylie Collins, who was unavailable. Sunday was the real test for USC when they took on FSU in the first of the doubleheader at Westwood. FSU kicked off but quickly fell behind when McKeown got hold of the ball and raced to the FSU end for the first goal. All within 35 seconds! No word if that is a USC record for early goal. Right after that, FSU laid siege in the USC end like an ominous rainy cloud. I feared that if that if things didn’t change it wouldn’t end up well for USC. Right then, FSU scored within 11 minutes off a corner kick when a Seminole slotted a loose ball past the left side of keeper Smith near the post. Right then, it looked like the siege was lifted and it became a back-and-forth until McKeown scored again on a header to make the score 2-1, SC at the end of the first half. In the second half, FSU scored on a curling shot from outside the penalty box that went through the upper right corner of the goal to tie things up at 2-2. This was a game FSU was determined to win to leave CA with a split and to maintain and justify its #1 ranking. I have only seen a handful of matches but FSU’s ranking may not be undeserved. The match went into overtime at 2-2 and both sides were doing the give-and-take. Finally, a striker we may be hearing more from this year, Penelope Hocking got the ball and raced in a determined manner, fending of a Seminole defender before putting the ball past the keeper to end the match at 3-2. In the second match UCLA beat UF 2-0 to send the FL teams home winless, conceding 10 goals and scoring four. USC will probably play the whole season without its most decorated player, Savannah DeMelo who’s out with an Achilles injury. Daria Petredes, whose career at SC has been plagued by injuries is also out, along with a few others. However, the team seems to have depth, a nice combination of youth and experience but, in my opinion, lacks the one or two players who can be counted on to make things happen. Also, good as the defense is, I still long for the last championship winning one. One player you won’t hear much of is senior central defender Ashleigh Plumtree. The England player's experienced, is not easily beaten, has a good soccer IQ, and seems to run tirelessly. I say you won’t hear much about her but I’d be worried if I don’t see her in the lineup. I like coach McAlpine but sometimes, it seems (maybe it’s just my perception) he seems to play some of the top teams showing them too much respect. The West and the PAC XII is well-represented in the top 25 with Stanford, USC’s next opponent and conference opener, coming in as #3 and WSU #23. This region is currently doing well in women’s soccer and I hope they don’t lose it to other regions like they’ve done in too many sports. Friday Aug 30 (Banc of California Stadium) UCLA 2, FSU 1 USC 3, UF 1 Sunday Sep 1 (Westwood) USC 3, FSU 2 UCLA 2, UF 0 CrownoftheValley and SC in DE like this.