Behind three points from Tara McKeown, No. 5 Southern California edged No. 1 Florida State 3-2 in overtime, handing the defending national champion Seminoles their second consecutive defeat this week.
McKeown turned upfield in the 98th minute, shielding the ball from two defenders before threading a pass to an unmarked Penelope Hocking for the golden goal.
— USC Women’s Soccer (@USC_WSoccer) September 1, 2019
FSU returned to Wallis Annenberg Stadium on Sunday looking to salvage a road trip, two days after a 2-1 loss to No. 4 UCLA. Instead, it met the high-paced attack of USC, an offense the Seminoles quelled during their 2018 NCAA tournament via penalty kicks.
NOLES LOSE TWO STRAIGHT: No. 4 UCLA upsets No. 1 Florida State Thursday night
But McKeown and the Trojans wouldn’t be stifled in the first meeting since their postseason showdown. The junior broke out downfield in the opening minute, collecting a through ball at her feet just beyond the 18-yard box before a few additional touches and a left-footed shot across the net and into the lower right corner. USC had its lead just 34 seconds into the match.
The Trojans’ multi-dimensional, diverse offense had broken through a stifling Seminole defense.
However, the defending champions would not be relinquished by a lone goal. Jenna Nighswonger equalized in the 11th minute with her first career goal. The freshman was left unmarked inside the box, providing ample time to get a shot off. Trojans’ keeper Anna Smith appeared to be screened on the shot, giving her minimal time to react.
McKeown answered yet again in the 18th minute. The Trojans’ offensive catalyst established position and tracked the ball, creating separation from the defense to put a forceful header into the upper left corner. The tally marked her sixth goal of the year, giving her back-to-back braces.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Get to know these 7 players on preseason top 25 teams
The breakneck pace of the match gradually settled into a stalemate that lasted beyond the first half. Then Florida State’s Deyna Castellanos drew the contest level once again in the second half. After keeping possession through a challenge, the senior navigated upfield and launched a curling shot from her left foot that would not be contested.
— FSU Soccer (@FSUSoccer) September 1, 2019
From there, the stage was set for McKeown’s game-winning setup and another upset in the early weeks of the 2019 season.
Florida State and USC return home as the Trojans prepare for Northern Arizona while the Seminoles host Florida next. Both matches are scheduled for on Sept. 6.