first_imgAhead of their home opener this Friday, the USC women’s soccer team boasts an already remarkable resume.Having played only four non-conference tournament games away from McAllister Field to this point, the Women of Troy have yet to taste defeat and will be vying for their third straight win under the new regime of first-year coach Keidane McAlpine.Equalizer · Sophomore midfielder Savannah Levin picked up her first career goal last Saturday to tie Notre Dame at 1. USC went on to win 2-1. – Nick Entin | Daily Trojan Their opening tournament in San Diego resulted in a 1-0 win over Long Beach State, followed by a hard-fought overtime draw against tournament host team USD.But it was their results this past weekend that propelled the squad to adopt an even hungrier mentality.At the Notre Dame adidas Invitational in South Bend, Indiana this past weekend, the Women of Troy handily beat Iowa State — an up-and-coming program — with a final score of 3-1 on Friday.They then rode that momentum into their Sunday match against the host Notre Dame — ranked No. 11 in the country heading into the match — and came back from a 1-0 deficit to upset the Irish 2-1, in stunning fashion.As the new coaches poll was released this week, the previously unranked Women of Troy now found themselves inside the top-25.The team vaulted to No. 19, due mostly to their undefeated record and weekend performance.Head coach McAlpine’s focus remains, however, on the more important bigger picture.“It’s flattering,” McAlpine said, “But at the same time our goal is really simple. Let’s continue to be better than we were, let’s continue to get our details right. If we can do those, then the rest will take care of itself.”Sophomore midfielder Savannah Levin, who scored her first career goal to tie up Sunday’s game, echoed that same message.“I think that a huge thing is not getting complacent with the fact that we beat a No. 9 team,” she said. “I think if we continue that energy that we came out with in the second half of that game, it’ll be good.”Their continuing slate of non-conference games will be an opportunity to keep improving, as their home opener will force them to remain focused and not to look past another team who has yet to lose this season in UC Riverside.“Riverside, we know they’re tough, we played them in the spring and we know what they bring. They’re going to be a team that’s going to test us,” McAlpine said.McAlpine’s defense may be faced with the biggest test of them all.The UC Riverside Lady Highlanders are also undefeated so far, and in the process have scored nine goals in three matches; an incredibly effective offensive attack that Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week Reilly Parker and Pac-12 Goalkeeper of the Week Caroline Stanley will have to deal with on Friday.Parker, a junior transfer from North Carolina, scored two goals over the weekend, including the game-winner against Notre Dame.Her presence in the lineup as an outside defensive back has been essential in Coach McAlpine’s 4-3-3 formation and has led to a balanced attack from the wings without sacrificing their important defensive formation.Parker, who has transitioned seamlessly from her tenure at Chapel Hill, credits the coaching staff for such a strong start.“They just really instilled this belief and confidence amongst us that none of us believed that we had,” she remarked. “They believe in us more than we believe in ourselves and that makes all the difference.”Having a great veteran goalkeeper in the net also helps, and senior Caroline Stanley is that and much more.Stanley is one of the few veterans and unquestioned leaders of this young team and will now look to continue her consistent goalkeeping of allowing no more than one goal in any game so far against the potent Lady Highlanders.Friday’s game is an early non-conference match, but with momentum on their side, and a home crowd finally behind them, this result may be more important than the previous four.“We can’t wait to get out here in front of our hometown fans to put on a show for them and show them the Trojans are back and that this is our year,” Parker said.Not only will the Women of Troy attempt to keep their undefeated streak going, but also in ending UCR’s streak, they hope to give their home fans a taste of what the crowds in San Diego and South Bend experienced.“It’s going to be a great home opener and we encourage everyone to come out and see it.”last_img read more