No. 7 USC Punches Ticket to NCAA College Cup with 1-0 Quarterfinal Victory Over No. 16 Auburn|
Nov. 25, 2016
LOS ANGELES -- The No. 7 USC women's soccer team punched its ticket to the NCAA College Cup with a 1-0 victory over No. 16 Auburn on Friday afternoon at McAlister Field.
"First and foremost I need to give a lot of credit to Auburn. Congratulations on an unbelievable season. Having spent a lot of time there personally, today is bittersweet," explained head coach Keidane McAlpine. "A lot of joy and a lot of sadness all at the same time. I think Thanksgiving is the perfect time to have this game, because for me I had family on both sides and Thanksgiving is definitely about family. I am super proud of the Trojan Family and the work we did today. Unbelievable game. It was a gritty performance and exactly what we needed."
The Trojans (17-4-2) took the lead in the fourth minute off a header finish from Alex Anthony and the stingy Trojan defense denied the Auburn Tigers (17-7-0) throughout the final 86 minutes of play to earn its 15th shutout of the season.
"We came in with a lot of intensity and it is something we have been trying to do," explained Anthony. "Today was probably one of our best starts in terms of the sheer want and willingness to do anything and everything in our power to get one early. On the goal, I saw Bingham get a touch forward down the line and I started to make my run near post. I put a head on it and it went in."
Both teams had quality chances throughout the match, with both team's goalkeepers making outstanding saves. USC's Sammy Jo Prudhomme finished the match with six saves, while Auburn's Sarah LeBeau also tallied six incredible saves to keep her team in the match after the early Trojan goal.
The USC defense did what it has don't all year, denying the Tigers time and time again. Led by center backs Mandy Freeman and Ally Prisock, the Trojans staved off 12 Auburn shots, six in the first half and six in the second.
The Trojans had four corner kick opportunities to the Tigers' three, while the physical match got chippy at times, with both sides tallying double-digit foul totals.
The Trojans advance to their second NCAA College Cup in program history, and will play the winner of Georgetown/Santa Clara on Friday, Dec. 2 in Avaya Stadium in San Jose, Calif. The game time is TBD.
The last time the Trojans advanced to the College Cup was in 2007, where the Trojans won it all, earning the program and the Pac-12 its first NCAA women's soccer title.