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USC Women's Soccer Earns Feel-Good Win On Senior Day

Eric He |
October 25, 2015 | 11:11 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter


USC women’s soccer head coach Keidane McAlpine had a few things to juggle on Sunday afternoon in the match against Colorado. First and foremost, he needed to win an important game against a Pac-12 opponent. And, being senior day, he had to find a way to get all of the seniors playing time in their final game at McAlister Field.

It couldn’t have gone more flawlessly for McAlpine, as the Trojans grabbed a comfortable lead with two early goals and all the seniors spent their last home game on the pitch in a 3-0 victory over the Buffaloes.

“The seniors are amazing,” said junior midfielder Morgan Andrews. “This is one of the best classes I’ve ever played with, in terms of talent and great people. This team has an unbreakable spirit.”

That spirit was apparent when senior goalkeeper Faith Sugerman checked into the game in the second half as a forward, unable to play in goal due to a broken finger. Behind the encouragement of the bench, Sugerman was very active and even drew a corner kick with a slide tackle.

“I tried to channel my inner 10-year old,” said Sugerman, who grew up playing goalkeeper and forward, but is a goalkeeper by trade. “I really enjoyed finishing. I was looking for that goal, but I’ll take a corner kick.”

“It the best way we could honor her,” said McAlpine who was ecstatic he was given the chance to honor Sugerman. “It was nice to see her get around ... You could see the life it brought to the bench. Everybody was loving the moment.”

The Trojans got on the board early in the ninth minute. Mandy Freeman sent one into the box and Nicole Molen missed it, but Savannah Levin was there to head it past the goalkeeper.

Fourteen minutes later, Sydney Sladek drew a penalty kick when she was knocked down driving the net. Morgan Andrews then stepped up and drilled the penalty into the net to give USC a 2-0 lead.

“It was great movement by [Sladek],” said Andrews. “She let me take the penalty kick and I put it away.”

The Trojans extended their lead to 3-0 early in the second half. On a comer kick in the 51st minute by Kayla Mills, Andrews scored on a perfect header in tight space for her second goal of the match.

“[Mills] had a perfect serve into the box,” said Andrews. “I just tried to find space to get it into the air. I got up as high as I could and put it in the net.”

A capacity crowd of 568 filled the McAlister Field bleachers, and some fans were even turned away at the gate. The team really fed off the energy, according to McAlpine.

“You could feel [the energy],” he said. “It was oozing onto the field. With every little move, every shot, every header, every tackle, you could feel the fans give them a little bit and it was great to have them out here.”

The Trojans have won five in a row and nine of their last 10 games. They improve to 12-4-1 overall and 7-1-0 in conference play, trailing only Stanford in the Pac-12.

Right on cue, USC will finish the season with three road games starting with a Bay Area visit to Stanford and Cal next week before wrapping up the season at UCLA on Nov. 6.

“They’re going to be tough and hard,” said Andrews of the remaining games. “But if we win, we’re going to win the Pac-12. It’s important to us and we want to do it. It comes down to who wants it more. Right now, we really want it.”

You can reach Staff Reporter Eric He here, or follow him @erichesports



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