Crosstown rivals clash in regular season finale

first_imgPutting a lid on the goal · Senior defender Natalie Donaldson and the Women of Troy have shut out their opponents on eight different occassions heading into their last game of the regular season against UCLA. – Brian Ji | Daily TrojanThe women’s soccer team will square off against UCLA on Friday evening in the regular season finale. The crosstown rivalry game will be played in enemy territory for the Trojans.Both USC and UCLA traveled north this past weekend to take on Stanford and Cal.The Women of Troy fell to the Cardinal 1-0 before defeating the Golden Bears, 1-0. Meanwhile, the Bruins came up empty on their road trip, losing to Cal 7-0 and losing to Stanford 2-0.The Cal game was certainly one to forget for the Bruins. The Golden Bears seized the momentum and ran with it, leaving UCLA searching for answers.UCLA’s 8-9-1 record may not look terribly impressive, but their strength of schedule is as good as it gets. In addition to playing in the grueling Pac-12, UCLA has taken on Wisconsin, Virginia, Texas, Wake Forest, North Carolina and Pepperdine.A win over USC would bring UCLA to .500 on the season. It would also salvage what has been a mediocre season for UCLA  by program standards. The Bruins won the national title in 2013 and looked to be one of the favorites heading into this season.However, with two losses in its two games, UCLA has slipped during the latter part of the season.The Trojans, ranked No. 14 in the country, look to be the clear favorite in this matchup. The crosstown schools have one of the best rivalries in all of collegiate athletics.Additionally, Friday’s game is Senior Night for UCLA.There is also something to be said for having nothing to lose. The Bruins do not have a tremendous amount of pressure on their shoulders and could very well come out playing free-flowing soccer on Friday night.Sometimes a team’s record is not an accurate reflection of the talent level present. UCLA is not used to losing this many games in a season. In fact, UCLA is not used to losing at all.Last season, the Bruins did not lose a single game until the NCAA quarterfinals when they fell to Virginia 2-1. This same core group of players went 21-1-2 a year ago.Though the stats, facts, figures and projections lean heavily toward USC in this contest, recent history has its own rebuttal. In 2011, the Bruins clobbered the Women of Troy, 5-2. In 2013, during UCLA’s run to the national championship, the Bruins cruised to a 4-1 victory over USC.Last season, the Bruins came out on top, defeating USC 2-0 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.The 2015 USC team is a different animal, though.Head coach Keidane McAlpine is now in his second season and has his team absolutely humming.While the Trojans have been dominant on offense, the defense has been stout throughout the season.The team has lost a meager five games on the season, never allowing more than two goals in a game and never losing by more than one goal.This back four does not make mental errors, as all four defenders are visibly locked in at all times.Diligent defending from center backs Dominique Randle and Ally Prisock has enabled outside backs like Kayla Mills to push forward and join in on attacking movements.The outstanding play of goalkeeper Sammy Jo Prudhomme has only added to this feeling of stability at the back. USC’s keeper is coming off of another clean sheet. She made five saves in the 1-0 win at Cal and has been integral to the team’s success with her shot stopping and distribution.The 2015 edition of this historic crosstown rivalry will take place on Friday night at 6 p.m. at UCLA’s Drake Stadium.last_img read more