Nov. 18, 2007
COLUMBIA, Mo. - The eighth-ranked USC Trojans (16-3-2) defeated the 23rd-ranked Missouri Tigers (13-8-1), 1-0, in the second round of the NCAA Championship Sunday in Columbia. The Trojans will advance to the third round to play Florida, who tied Central Florida and advanced by penalty kicks Sunday. The win ties the Trojans record for wins in a season at 16. The win also gives USC its first ever Sweet 16 appearance in school history.
"We want to congratulate USC for a great game and great competition," Tiger Head Coach Bryan Blitz said. "We're very proud of our group. As a season overall, with no seniors, the experience we had to go through, you're going to have to lose at some point unless you win the NCAA Championship, and that's our goal, but you just don't get there easily. [USC] is a team that went to the [second round] last year, with several seniors on it. But if you look at our team as a body of work you can't help but be excited for the spring season. It's been a really interesting season. I think our junior class has done an awesome job of being two year seniors, as they put it. It shows a lot of character, not quitting on each other. I think the overtime win or loss did show that."
USC scored the game-winning goal on a header from less than five yards out by midfielder Ashley Nick with 5:12 remaining in the second overtime period. USC midfielder Megan Ohai tallied the assist off a throw-in.
The first half ended scoreless, with Missouri out shooting the Trojans, 5-3. Missouri's best scoring chance came just four minutes into the game. Alysha Bonnick delivered two shots from inside the box, and both saved by USC goalkeeper Kristin Olsen.
At the sixty-minute mark Bonnick tallied another scoring chance when she got past the USC defenders. The play was broken up by Olsen, who came out of the goal to challenge the play.
In the seventy-third minute Bonnick dished the ball over the head of USC goalkeeper Olsen, to Michelle Collins but the shot missed just high.
The Trojans turned up the pressure late in the second half. With just seven minutes left, USC had its best scoring chance of the half. Freshman Ashli Sandoval fired a shot from 18 yards out that went off Tiger goalie Mallory Forst's outstretched fingers before caroming off of the crossbar and out of play, preserving the scoreless tie.
USC dominated the first overtime, out-shooting the Tigers, 5-2. Five minutes into overtime USC midfielder Amy Rodriguez ripped a shot from just inside the box that was saved by Forst. Missouri's only scoring chance came with 18 seconds left when Michelle Collins took a pass from midfielder Mo Redmond and had a break away. After a shifty move, Collins fired a shot to the near post from six yards out. Olsen smothered the shot, keeping the Trojans alive.
The Trojans came out firing at the start of the second overtime and applied enough pressure to keep the game from being decided by penalty kicks.
The Tigers finish the season with 13 wins, tying their second-highest total ever. Mizzou finished tied for third in the Big 12 regular season standings, tying their best conference finish in program history. The Tigers will not lose any players due to graduation, and look to improve on the solid 2007 season.
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