No. 11 Trojans See Strong Season End with 2-0 Loss at No. 1 Virginia in Third Round of the NCAA Tournament|
Nov. 22, 2015
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – After a late first half goal by No. 1 Virginia, No. 11 USC was unable to dig out of the hole, eventually falling 2-0 to the Cavaliers in the NCAA Tournament Third Round on Sunday afternoon at Klockner Stadium.
The Trojans (15-6-2) played strong defense throughout the first half, thwarting the Cavaliers (19-1-2) multiple attacks.
The best scoring opportunity for the Trojans came in the fifth minute, when Morgan Andrews took the ball herself up the heart of the Cavalier defense and took a shot from distance, but it was high. Despite playing quality defense most of the half, the Cavaliers struck in the 43rd minute as the Trojans let down and allowed the Cavaliers to get on the board. Tina Iordanou crossed the ball from the left side into the box and the Trojans were unable to clear it, leaving it open for the Cavaliers’ leading goal scorer, Makenzy Doniak to finish it into the lower left corner.
At the half, the Trojans were down 1-0 and were outshot 8-4.
The Trojans came out at halftime with some renewed energy and purpose and began to stretch the field mount attacks. The team forced Cavalier goalkeeper Morgan Stearns to make five saves in the second half, compared to just one in the first.
In the 56th minute Kayla Mills and Reilly Parker connected on a nice sequence as Mills fed Parker a ball up the middle that Parker hit on stride, but the keeper came up with the save. Just two minutes later the Trojans had another opportunity as Mills switched the field to a wide-open Mandy Freeman, who dribbled down the right side and swung in a cross that nearly found the back of the goal far post.
Then in the 71st minute, Natalie Donaldson nearly caught the Cavalier keeper too far off her line with a long shot from distance, but she was able to get back to make the save.
Despite all these offensive opportunities and a more even half, the Cavaliers struck again in the 81st minute off a counter attack. Veronica Latsko had the ball off the races, pushed it up the field and then waited for a teammate on the right side, delivering a centering pass to Alexis Shaffer who connected on the strong lower right corner finish.
The Trojans continued to pressure and picked up multiple free kicks in their offensive half in the final nine minutes of the match, but they were unable to find the back of the net to get on the board.
Sammy Jo Prudhomme finished the match with two saves. Andrews led the team with two shots and six different Trojans overall had shots on goal.
The team finished 15-6-2 on the year and second in the Pac-12 with a record of 9-2. This was only the third Trojan squad all-time to advance to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16.
The Trojans are set to return all but two starters in 2016.