It was a heroic effort all the way around by Arizona soccer. A save on a penalty kick by Hope Hisey and a chip over the head of the USC goalkeeper by Nicole Dallin gave the Wildcats their first Pac-12 victory of the season by the score of 1-0.
It was Arizona’s first win over the Women of Troy since 2013. It also marked the first victory over a ranked opponent under the guidance of second-year head coach Becca Moros.
Despite being on the road and missing two of their starters, the Wildcats looked like the better team from the start. Forward Jordan Hall missed the match with an injury while defender Angela Baron is away playing with the Colombian national team.
In the first half, they used strong defense to frustrate USC while tying the home team in shots and putting more of those shots on goal. But it was the heroics of Hisey that gave the team the chance.
In the 66th minute, Dallin was called for a foul on USC in the box. It was a questionable call, but that didn’t matter. It looked like the Women of Troy were going to grab the lead after the Wildcats had played them so tough.
USC’s Croix Bethune stepped to the spot and sent it toward the bottom left corner. Hisey came up huge, saving the goal and the game.
Dallin got her revenge just two minutes and 12 seconds later. As she dribbled the ball down the field, USC goalkeeper Anna Smith came off her line. Dallin chipped the ball over the keeper’s head and the Wildcats grabbed the lead in the 68th minute.
It looked like the Wildcats could have grabbed a two-goal lead about 10 minutes later. This time USC took down an Arizona player in the box. The foul was at least as egregious as the one assessed to the Wildcats, but the official opted not to blow the whistle this time.
Arizona didn’t let the discrepancy bother them. As USC desperately tried to get the equalizer, the Wildcats stayed aggressive, continuing to push the ball into their attacking third. A prime chance for Marley Chappel was just off in the 84th minute.
After last weekend’s late loss to California, Moros spoke about how the players were working to stay confident and keep frustration at bay even as they came up short in one game after another.
“If you really feel like you can’t win the games and you’re fighting and you’re such a big underdog that you don’t have a great chance of winning, I think sometimes you feel content with the work, in the effort even if you’re so frustrated with the result,” Moros said after the loss to Cal. “But I think for these guys they know that they can win these games and they’re in these games and they’re one lucky break away or one mistake away from being in a different position at the end of the game.”
This time it was USC making those mistakes and Arizona walking away with a season-defining win.