As USC traveled north to Stanford coming off three consecutive victories, the Trojans seemed to be in excellent position to pick up their first road win of the season.
But once again, the offense struggled for most of the match and in overtime the Trojans were unable to convert on their opportunities in a 0-0 draw against the Cardinal on Friday.
The scoreless draw marks the third time USC has been shutout this season with all three games coming on the road.
“You’re not in situations that you normally would be in on the road where you could sit down and have a meal together and where you can spend time together,” head coach Keidane McAlpine said on the difficulties of playing on the road. “Some of the things at home where your patterns are normal and your routines are normal. You get on the road and those things are thrown off and it’s hard to get into a rhythm.”
Overtime provided some excellent chances for the Trojans to score, but they were unable to capitalize.
In the first overtime, senior forward Tara McKeown had a look from the top of the box but her shot went just wide. Moments later, off a deflection, junior forward Penelope Hocking got her opportunity to end the game, but her shot found the crossbar, keeping the game scoreless.
USC continued to put pressure on the Stanford defense in the second overtime. McKeown again had chances to score but Stanford redshirt senior goalkeeper Katie Myers had two saves to keep the team’s second-leading scorer from finding the back of the net.
While USC had control in overtime, it was Stanford which came closest to scoring in regulation.
In the 69th minute of action, it looked certain that Stanford would strike. Senior midfielder Belle Briede split the Trojan defense and had just redshirt senior goalkeeper Kaylie Collins to beat, but Collins came out of net to disrupt Breide and make the save.
Eight minutes later, Stanford once again had an opportunity to break the scoreless tie. Redshirt sophomore defender Sierra Enge was able to get a shot from the top of the box off a corner kick, but the ball found the post instead of the back of the net and it ricocheted away, clearing the danger for USC.
For much of regulation, USC struggled to get good looks at the net. In the first 90 minutes, the Trojans had just seven total shots compared to six in the 20 minutes of overtime.
In total, both teams combined to have 22 shots but only 11 on goal.
McAlpine was impressed with his team’s ability to limit Stanford offensively.
“I was really proud of [our defense],” he said. “We started the year with defense being something that we needed to improve drastically, and now we are on a shutout streak that is pretty significant in the conference that we are in.”
The standout for USC was Bay Area native Collins, who, in her return to the Bay, put up her fourth consecutive shutout and had four saves.
“Collins has settled in,” McAlpine said. “She is seeing things clearly. Her organizational information has been fantastic and so [I’ve] been really pleased with her and it’s given us a lift.”
Across the field, Myers put up seven seven saves.
With two games remaining in the regular season schedule, USC, which is 6-3-2, will head to Berkeley on Sunday for its final road game before returning home to host UCLA in the regular season finale Friday.