Junior forward Penelope Hocking shined on the Coliseum stage, scoring both goals in the Trojans’ 2-0 victory over the Oregon State Beavers Friday.
Hocking helped No. 13 USC get on the board quickly with a 19th minute goal just under the crossbar. Senior forward Tara McKeown got the assist after stealing the ball from Oregon State’s junior goalkeeper Bridgette Skiba, setting up Hocking for a score to the back of the net.
The forward power duo combined to score 33 of USC’s 47 goals last season and are still proving to be the heart of the offense.
“We trust Penelope and Tara to go out to get it done,” said head coach Keidane McAlpine postgame. “They both put it in and they start our defense and they lead the way for us right now. As long as we have those two giving that kind of energy we’re going to be great.”
Hocking attempted to add to the lead with another shot in the 38th minute off of a through-ball from sophomore midfielder Croix Bethune, but Skiba came up with the save.
The USC offense was where most of the action took place throughout the game, but the Beavers turned up their intensity towards the end of the first half and found themselves in the Trojans’ end of the field multiple times.
The Beavers had several chances to score in the last eight minutes of the half including two shots and one corner kick, but were unable to capitalize on them, leaving the score at 1-0 after 45 minutes.
At halftime, the USC offense took five shots and five corner kicks and the defense had zero saves.
The Trojans came out with an aggressive offense to begin the second half and started on the attack early with multiple shots by Hocking, McKeown, Bethune and redshirt senior Samantha Bruder.
Despite USC dominating Oregon State’s half of the field again, they struggled to put another one in the back of the net due to multiple saves by Skiba. She finished with a season-high six saves.
According to McAlpine, the Trojans are still in the process of finding their rhythm given how early it is in the season and the many new faces on the team this year.
“As we get these players a few more games and a few more reps together and see a few more defenses and recognize where some gaps and holes are and actually get to know each other a little bit more, I think we’ll find even more rhythm,” said McAlpine.
With minutes before the final whistle, it looked as if the Trojans would maintain the score at 1-0. That is, until Hocking scored again in the 89th minute assisted by junior defender Lily Perryman and freshman defender/midfielder Zoe Burns. The goal came after Burns sent a pass to Perryman who sent a long ball up the pitch where Hocking got behind the Oregon State defense for the goal to make the final score 2-0.
USC ultimately came up with their eighth straight win against Oregon State and finished with eight shots on goal, 13 shots overall, one save and 15 fouls.
The Trojans are now 2-1 overall and 1-1 in Pac-12 play and will be back in the Coliseum Sunday to take on the Oregon Ducks.
McAlpine expressed optimism for the future of this team and said the momentum of this win will help carry them into the game on Sunday.
“Finding a win after a loss is always a good thing so that you can feel what that success looks like again,” said McAlpine. “I think if we can take this game, because there are some similarities to the two teams in terms of their work rate and the way that they grind through games and their ability to serve balls over distance, it will help us be a little bit better on Sunday.”