USC wins women’s College Cup

USC wins women’s College Cup defeating West Virginia 3-1 in San Jose, California.

The University of Southern California women’s soccer team was crowned national champions on Sunday after knocking off West Virginia, 3-1.

The Mountaineers spent much of the 2016 season ranked as No. 1 in the country, however, USC ended the team’s bid for its first national championship.

Although West Virginia tallied more shots in the match, it was the quality of the Trojans’ efforts that helped the team to prevail.

Keidane McAlpine’s rising star

The win was USC’s second national title in women’s soccer, a feat the Trojans accomplished in 2007.

“This group was a special group from Day 1 … they just didn’t know it yet,” USC coach Keidane McAlpine said following the win.

McAlpine, who has been with USC for three seasons, has been a proven winner at every coaching stop he has made. Prior to moving to Los Angeles to take over the Trojans, he led Washington State to consecutive NCAA tournament appearances in his two years in Pullman.

Before taking over the Cougars, McAlpine learned his craft as an assistant with Auburn. Since becoming a head coach, he has gained recognition within the women’s game as a master of defensive tactics.

It was his understanding of West Virginia’s attack that helped the Trojans secure the win in San Jose, despite being under caution for parts of the game.

Elite group in women’s soccer

USC becomes on the fourth women’s soccer program to win multiple championships. The only other schools to accomplish the feat are North Carolina, Notre Dame and Portland.

Dream season over

For West Virginia, the team’s outstanding season will do little to take the sting out of a College Cup final loss. The Mountaineers had put together a dream season under head coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. However, the team just ran out of fuel at the last hurdle.

“Sometimes the ball just doesn’t go to the back of the net,” Izzo-Brown said. “I thought we should have had three or four goals. Lots of credit to [USC goalkeeper] Sammy [Jo Prudhomme ].”

The goals

USC took the lead after a mere two minutes when Morgan Andrews header from five-yards out eluded West Virginia goalkeeper Rylee Foster.

Just after the hour-mark, West Virginia’s Ashley Lawrence leveled the match. However, Katie Johnson’s two goals in the second period swung the match in the Trojans’ favor. At times in the second half, with West Virginia chasing the game, the team’s defense was stretched to the limit, allowing Johnson in on goal.

Finding themselves in unfamiliar territory, West Virginia had no answer, and appeared to leave their shooting boots back at the team’s hotel.

While some fans of college soccer may wonder how a team with fewer shots and less possession can win the championship final, it comes down to USC’s work-rate.

USC’s work on and off the ball was the difference and one of the reasons why the team lifted this year’s women’s College Cup trophy.

Under McAlpine, the Trojans look to have a bright future ahead. The College Cup final win marks the 126th national title in USC’s history.

Drew Farmer
I am a freelance journalist and author currently living in Manchester, England. Originally from the USA, I have written about sports and travel for years.I have written for Hopeless Football Romantic magazine, The Football Pink magazine, World Soccer Talk, Sports Collectors Daily, Forza Italian Football and many more. My debut book Soccer Travels was released in spring 2016, and details travelling to soccer matches around the globe. It can be purchased on Amazon in paperback and Kindle.