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One USC Team Plays Well at the Coliseum

November 12, 1996|ARA NAJARIAN

No doubt, USC football has been unstoppable at the Coliseum this season.

OK, that's futbol--as in soccer.

In its fourth season, and under its second coach, USC's women's soccer team has hit its stride.

By defeating Pepperdine, 2-0, on Sunday afternoon, USC finished its most successful season with a 14-5 record and 5-0 at the Coliseum, although it was not chosen for the NCAA tournament.

"It's great playing [at the Coliseum]," said Jim Millinder, USC's coach. "There's so much tradition here. It's really great. The field is in good condition and there's space."

He meant on the field, not in the stands, but it applied to both. The estimated crowd of 150--no zeros are missing in that number--was dwarfed by the Coliseum.

And there is something odd about seeing a player like senior forward Amy Peterson go into Section 21, Row 4 to retrieve an errant shot, with thousands of empty seats looking on.

But there haven't been many errant shots for the Trojans this season. After years of having soccer be a club team, USC added a women's team as part of Title IX statute compliance.

Games were mostly played on Howard Jones Field--a field that itself has lot of tradition at USC, but mostly as the football team's practice facility. By November, the field gets worn. Also, it is a bit small for soccer.

But the Coliseum granted use of its facility to USC and Millinder embraced it. Millinder likes playing in large stadiums. He played in them as a professional, including the 1978 season he spent playing with the New York Cosmos in the North American Soccer League. He also played with the Los Angeles Aztecs and Lazers.

Millinder was Loyola Marymount's first women's soccer coach in 1993 and joined USC last May after Karen Stanley departed for Santa Rosa College.

Admittedly, a significant part of his success has been the talent Stanley was able to recruit over the last two years. Two-thirds of USC's roster are underclassmen and the team only has seven scholarships to divide.

But Millinder brought a lot of his own success too--mainly in Isabelle Harvey.

Harvey is a freshman from Quebec and nearly went to Loyola Marymount to play for Millinder. But when Millinder accepted the job at USC, she switched as well.

Part of the Canadian national team's developmental pool, Harvey instantly became a team leader because of her talent and work ethic, and led the Pacific-10 in scoring with 50 points--20 goals and 10 assists. She also led in game-winning goals with eight.

University Beat Notes

The time for the USC-UCLA water polo game has been changed to 3 p.m. Thursday afternoon at the USC Swim Stadium. . . . UCLA's men's soccer team will travel to California on Sunday to play the Golden Bears in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation championship game. The winner will receive an automatic invitation to the NCAA tournament. The Bruins, 15-3 and ranked third nationally, are coming off a 9-0 victory over Sacramento State on Sunday. The Bruin lead was only 1-0 at halftime but Seth George, who had not played in the first half, scored four goals in the second to set a school record for goals in a game. Cal is 13-3-2 and ranked ninth.

UCLA's cross-country teams will compete in the District Eight NCAA qualifying meet Saturday at Fresno. The top two teams plus the top three individuals will advance to the NCAA championship meet in Tucson, Nov. 25. Junior Mebrahtom Keflezighi, who was first at the Pac-10 meet with a conference-record time of 23:56 for 8,000 meters, leads the men's team. . . . In women's volleyball, Long Beach State (26-1) dropped from fourth to sixth in the national rankings after losing for the first time this season, a three-game upset by Pacific last week. . . . Loyola Marymount's women's volleyball team defeated Pepperdine on Saturday to win the West Coast Conference title. The Lions (21-2, No. 8) have won 27 straight conference matches dating back to 1994.

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