The No. 5 USC women’s soccer team had its 11-game winning streak snapped in a 0-0 draw with the Washington State Cougars on Thursday in Pullman. To make matters worse for the Trojans, USC’s career goals leader senior forward Penelope Hocking left the match with an injury at the end of regulation.
Both teams’ defenses were on display early with very few scoring opportunities for either team until the second half. Washington State nearly connected with the back of the net on a header from senior midfielder Sydney Studer in the 60th minute, but USC senior goalkeeper Anna Smith reached to the top of the net to prevent the Cougars from taking the lead.
Washington State did not get many more scoring opportunities for the rest of the match, largely due to Smith’s lockdown defense from the penalty box.
“I think she only made one questionable decision in the entire game,” head coach Keidane McAlpine said. “And these are the type of games that you need that kind of performance from your goalkeeper, when things aren’t quite going your way and you’re not getting as many chances as you normally get.”
USC increased the intensity of its offense in the last 15 minutes of the match in an attempt to escape Pullman with a victory. Hocking was one of the main catalysts for this burst of offense with three shots in that timespan.
Despite nearly scoring in the last portion of the match, Hocking became visibly frustrated with her lack of success and was handed a yellow card after running into freshman goalkeeper Nadia Cooper. Hocking exited the game with an injury at the end of regulation and was seen wearing sunglasses on the sidelines for the entirety of the overtime periods.
“She got a little frustrated today not getting as many situations where she can be impactful,” McAlpine said. “She’s going to find a way to get extra chances for the team and today was no different.”
USC’s best chance at winning the match came in the 99th minute when junior forward Hannah White sent a cross to junior midfielder Croix Bethune. Bethune rushed the shot and kicked the ball over the crossbar to keep the match scoreless.
Although the team did not continue its winning streak, McAlpine was satisfied with the Trojans’ performance. McAlpine felt the team is not giving in to the pressure of the high ranking or being at the top of the Pac-12 standings.
“I think we’re gaining confidence from it, not necessarily feeling the weight from it,” McAlpine said. “And I think that’s an important distinction.”
The draw dropped USC’s overall record to 11-2-1 and 6-0-1 in Pac-12 play. The Trojans are only two points ahead of the second-place UCLA Bruins in the conference standings.
USC will continue its road trip when the Trojans take on the Washington Huskies at 12 p.m. on Sunday.