UC Irvine women’s soccer had a promising start to their 2017 campaign Friday afternoon, holding their own against defending national champions USC on their own turf at McAllister Soccer Stadium in Los Angeles, Calif.
In the sole exhibition match on the year for both teams, UCI and USC neutralized each other’s attacks with seven looks apiece at the goal. The ‘Eaters, however, took the advantage on clean shots with three that struck on target as the Trojans managed to snag just one, which was denied by ‘Eaters’ redshirt senior keeper Maria Magaña in the 29th minute.
In her collegiate debut, freshman forward Sydney Carr gave a glimpse of the energy that head coach Scott Juniper expected to see out of the Portland, Oregon native, striking two of UCI’s three shots on goal. Carr threatened to take the first lead of the match in the 71st minute when she nearly put one through with a header that went a bit too high and ripped off the crossbar.
The Trojans took the slight edge with four total shots within the first half, but the ‘Eaters were nearly the first to crack the back of USC’s net. In the 17th minute, Carr’s first clean shot as an ‘Eater bounced off her head and into the gloves of the Trojan’s keeper. Later in the period, junior defender Jonnae Joseph challenged the Trojan’s keeper once more with an attempt that carried high into the air in the 35 minute.
UCI came out pushing for the ball in the second half, which consequently gave them four looks but also nine fouls. The second half also saw the game’s only two corner kicks—both had come in favor of the ‘Eaters. The latter corner kick, sent in by redshirt junior defender Reema Bzeih would be followed up by Carr and the ‘Eaters final chance at snagging the victory.
During the exhibition, eight redshirt and pure freshman took the field along with Carr for the first time in blue and yellow including keeper Madi Puliafico, forward Claire Grouwinkel, forward Serena Camacho, midfielder Sara Young, forward Elizabeth Rivera, and midfielder Erica Mendoza, defender Lauren McKimmey, and defender Shelby Patty.
With a nice start, the ‘Eaters will now set their sights for Berkeley, Calif. where they are scheduled to face the Bears for their regular season opener next Friday, Aug. 18, for a 5:00pm kickoff.