Soccer

USC dominates postseason Pac-12 awards

Hocking repeats and Bethune makes history as the Trojans earn the most individual Pac-12 honors.

Senior forward Penelope Hocking approaching a ball while wearing a cardinal uniform. The number five is on the back of her jersey.

USC earned its most postseason Pac-12 honors in program history with the announcement of the award winners on Thursday. The Trojans took home three of the conference’s six individual awards and had six players named to the three all-conference teams.

Senior Penelope Hocking took home her second consecutive Pac-12 Forward of the Year award and was named to her third straight All-Pac-12 First Team. Hocking became USC’s all-time leading goal-scorer this season with 51 career goals, also good for 13th all-time in the Pac-12.

Junior Croix Bethune made USC history, becoming the first-ever Trojan to be named Pac-12 Midfielder of the Year. Bethune also earned All-Pac-12 First Team honors as she led the team in goals and was one of only two players to finish top five in the conference in both goals and assists.

Head coach Keidane McAlpine earned his second Pac-12 Coach of the Year award — his first at the helm for USC. (He won the award with Washington State in 2013.) McAlpine led the Trojans on an 11-game winning streak and a 15-game unbeaten streak, both program records.

In addition to the two-first teamers, senior midfielder Savannah DeMelo, sophomore fullback Zoe Burns and freshman forward Simone Jackson were named to the All-Pac-12 Second Team. Freshman center back Brooklyn Courtnall landed on the Third Team.

DeMelo’s brilliance was on full display for the Trojans in their three conference matches without Hocking. DeMelo racked up a pair of assists in a win over Stanford, starting at different positions in each of the three games. The all-conference nod is also the fourth of her decorated USC career.

An attacking midfielder converted to full back, Burns started every Pac-12 match for USC and played every minute in its last six. Her quality on the ball and one-on-one defensive prowess allowed McAlpine to deploy her at both right and left back at different times this season.

Jackson, also named to the All-Freshman Team, scored once and assisted twice in three starts during Hocking’s absence, finishing the season with 10 goal contributions. Jackson becomes just one of five different Trojans to ever make both an All-Pac-12 team and the All-Freshman Team.

Courtnall joins Jackson on that distinguished list of five with her selection to the All-Pac-12 Third Team. Courtnall started every game for USC in the regular season, sitting for only 18 minutes all season on a back line that kept eight clean sheets on the year.

Freshman holding midfielders Simi Awujo and Aaliyah Farmer were also selected to the Pac-12 All-Freshman Team. Farmer scored the overtime winner against Michigan that sparked the program-record winning streak and Awujo started all 11 conference matches, operating as both part of the double pivot or as the single pivot for USC.

The most decorated team in USC history begins its campaign for a third NCAA National Championship on Saturday at 1 p.m. when they take on WAC Champions Grand Canyon.