[USC PREVIEW] The Trojans are the self-described "rookies" at the Women's College Cup, but that doesn't mean they lack confidence heading into Friday's match against No. 1 UCLA -- a team they have lost to in their last nine meetings.
"We're ready to go," said Coach Ali Khosroshahin, speaking Thursday at the pre-Women's College Cup press conference. "Bring 'em!"
Reaching the Women's College Cup isn't good enough for the Trojans. Khosroshahin learned what it means to coach at USC when he met USC Athletic Director Mike Garrett.
"My boss said, "We evaluate you on national championships.' No pressure!" Khosroshahin said.
USC fell to UCLA, 2-0, in October, but the Trojans have grown since then, continuing their evolution since Khosroshahin arrived from Cal State Fullerton in January.
USC's success is remarkable considering the adversity it has had to overcome.
Its defense lost Laura McKee and Kat Stolpa with offseason injuries, and junior Meagan Holmes, a key figure in the heralded freshman class that arrived at USC two years ago, was lost with a knee injury in the third week of the season.
Khosroshahin immediately showed his confidence in this year's freshman class, starting five freshmen in USC's first two games, and all five were involved in Trojan goals in those opening wins.
NOTABLE. USC played in eight of the previous nine NCAA Tournaments but never advanced past the second round. After last year's second-round exit, CoachJim Millinder's contract was not renewed.
0 Kristin Olsen(SO Orange, Calif.) 0.52
10 Stacey Strong(JR Santa Rosa, Calif.) 0-1-1
11 Karter Haug (FR Castle Rock, Colo.) 1-2-4
13 Kasey Johnson(FR Sierra Madre, Calif.) 2-2-6
15 Janessa Currier(JR Walnut, Calif.) 4-3-11
8 Ashli Sandoval(FR Jamul, Calif.) 2-9-13
16 Ashley Nick(JR Monrovia, Calif.) 4-3-11
19 Megan Ohai (FR Draper, Utah) 6-5-17
6 Lauren Brown (SR Chino Hills, Calif.) 6-4-16
12 Amy Rodriguez(JR Lake Forest, Calif.) 8-3-19
17 Marihelen Tomer(SO Diamond Bar, Calif.) 4-2-10
3 Alyssa Davila (FR Upland, Calif.) 5-1-11
20 Kelley Finch (JR Atherton, Calif.) 0-0-0