USC played its final nonconference game of the season on Dads and Daughters Day at McAlister Field, losing 2-1 in a hard-fought battle against Cal State Fullerton on Sunday.
Sophomore midfielder Megan Borman scored off of a save deflection from Titan goalie Lindsey Maricic in the game’s first minute to give USC (5-3-1) an early 1-0 lead. The Titans (4-3-2) stormed back under similar circumstances, with CSUF’s Erica Mazeau getting a shot off of a save from USC junior goalkeeper Caroline Stanley in the 16th minute.
“Last time we played them, we came out slow and had to work back in the second half,” Borman said. “Our mentality was to win the first five [minutes] and get behind their defense.”
Some bad blood boiled between the two teams in this match, starting with sophomore midfielder Jamie Fink picking up a yellow card off a hard slide tackle in the 22nd minute. Fullerton’s Morgan Batcheller retaliated with a hard slide tackle on sophomore forward Katie Johnson just seconds later to earn the first yellow card for Fullerton.
“I think that was their way of trying to deal with our play,” said USC head coach Ali Khosroshahin, who coached Fullerton for six seasons. “We are a very technical team. They tried to get us off of our possession, and it was effective.”
The Women of Troy continued to push their aggressive pace, hoping to overcome a very defense-focused Fullerton team that had five shutouts and had allowed just five goals scored on the season entering the game. After scoring in the game’s opening minute, the USC attack that had scored 20 goals entering the game was unable to convert on any more opportunities.
USC had some good scoring opportunities in the second half, with Borman going for a fast break in the 66th minute, forcing a corner kick for USC that it could not convert into a goal. USC had a chance for another goal off of a deflection by Maricic, but the header attempt hit the post and went out of bounds. Senior midfielder Haley Boysen also had a shot near the top of the net in the 75th minute, but Maricic had a great leaping save to keep the score tied.
Overtime produced more of the same, with neither team able to capitalize on opportunities. The Titans had a chance to put it away late in the first overtime, but a diving save by Stanley to her left kept the game going. The Titans finally broke through when Mazeau sent a corner kick into the box to Batcheller, who put it past Stanley to give the Titans a 2-1 win after more than 107 minutes of play.
“They were just packing the box and dropping numbers in, which made it difficult,” freshman defender Mandy Freeman said. “We always have problems playing against teams that like to play a lot of numbers back. We had our opportunities, and we just didn’t come away with it.”
The loss drops USC’s record to 0-2-1 in overtime, while the Titans improve to 1-0-2.
USC outshot the Titans 24-7 in the game, including 12-1 in the second half. CSUF committed 12 fouls to the USC’s 10, even though many more could have been called, as the referees chose to keep it a loose game.
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USC next plays Arizona State in Tempe, Ariz. on Sunday.