December 4, 2016
THEY'RE FIGHTING ON
USC Trojans trip West Virginia, win second NCAA title
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The USC Trojans became the fourth multiple winner of the NCAA Women’s Championship, taking a 3-1 victory over No. 1-ranked West Virginia in the final before a 6,612 crowd at Avaya Stadium Sunday.
Senior Morgan Andrews scored a second-minute goal as USC (19-4-2) held a 1-0 halftime advantage. Ashley Lawrence equalized with a shot from outside the penalty area past Sammy Jo Prudhomme (eight saves) and just inside the left post in the 66th minute. Substitute Katie Johnson broke the deadlock in the 75th minute and scored her 10th goal of the season in the 87th minute.
The Mountaineers (23-2-2), who advanced to the College Cup for the first time, had a 17-game unbeaten streak snapped. West Virginia outshot USC, 21-8 (10-3 in the first half), the Trojans remaining composed in back thanks to the play of Mandy Freeman and Kayla Mills, and the spectacular goalkeeping of Prudhomme.
Andrews headed in from close range for her 10th goal of the season after Savannah Levin chipped a pass from outside the penalty area off a corner kick.
West Virginia’s Sh’Nia Gordon threatened in the first half, her close-range attempt stopped by a diving Prudhomme at the left post in the 27th minute. Four minutes later, sophomore forward Grace Cutler’s rebound of an Amandine Pierre-Louis shot was cleared off the line. In the final seconds of the half, Gordon controlled a Bianca St. Georges feed with her back to goal, then turned to shoot, Prudhomme saving.
Pierre-Louis, junior Michaela Abam and Gordon had shots saved early in the second half, then Alli Magaletta headed wide.
Lawrence scored her fourth goal of the season, taking a pass from sophomore defender Easther Mayi Kith and running to the edge of the penalty area before shooting.
Johnson broke the deadlock, placing an open shot into the right side of the net from just inside the penalty area off a Leah Pruitt feed.
West Virginia had chances to even the score. In the 81st minute, Heather Kaleiohi’s close-range shot off a Carla Portillo pass was saved. Pierre-Louis had shots off long balls saved in the 83rd and 84th minutes.
Johnson then launched a shot from outside the penalty area over freshman Rylee Foster for a two-goal advantage as USC concluded the season with a six-game unbeaten streak.
“First, I’d like to congratulate USC on being the national champions,” West Virginia coach Nikki Izzo-Brown said. “It was an incredible game, and their team obviously battled. I’m so proud of the way my team put together a great performance after going down a goal early. I thought we did a great job battling back and creating opportunities. This sport is cruel, and I thought we created some great opportunities. At the end of the day, we didn’t finish, and USC did.
“Obviously, Sammy Jo did her job tonight, with us creating 21 shots, nine on goal, and nine corner kicks. You got to really praise what she was able to do. I thought we were incredible in moments to create chances, and she did a great job in keeping us to one.
“One the biggest components to this season is to celebrate what an incredible group of seniors we had leading this team. We couldn’t have earned these 23 wins without our incredible senior leadership.”
USC, which won the 2007 title, joins North Carolina, Notre Dame and Portland with multiple championships.