It was a beautiful day in Southern California at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, but it was ruined when the Arizona soccer team lost to USC 1-0 on Friday, March 26.
The Wildcats have now dropped seven straight games to USC, dating back to 2014. Believe it or not, the last time Arizona scored a goal against USC was back in 2014 as well.
What also made this game unique was each team had a twin sister on their roster. USC had forward Penelope Hocking and Arizona had midfielder Iliana Hocking. It was the sisters’ first time meeting this season, each having something to prove.
Arizona started the first half aggressive, keeping the ball downfield in USC territory. The first opportunity to score went to the Trojans. USC had the first corner kick of the game at the 20-minute mark, but Arizona was able to clear it.
A few minutes later, Arizona pushed the ball back down the field, but forward Hannah Clifford was taken out by two Trojans. It was a questionable no-call, with head coach Tony Amato visibly frustrated that USC was not assessed a penalty.
Not much happened until around the 40-minute mark when Arizona had a free kick opportunity before the half. The Wildcats attempt was unsuccessful and both teams went into the half scoreless. Arizona had four shots for the first half and USC had nine.
After halftime, USC was the more aggressive team. They opened the half with a free-kick and just missed the goal wide with their shot attempt. The Trojans came right back down the field and came even closer to scoring at the 48-minute mark.
Midfielder Savannah DeMelo lined up a perfect pass to Penelope Hocking, but it had a bit too much heat for Hocking and she was not able to connect. The Trojans had another chance at the 54-minute mark, but they were called offsides.
With all the momentum with USC, the Wildcats knew they had to make a push, and that push came at the 55-minute mark. Midfielder Tianna Sidtikun sent a perfectly placed pass to forward Jill Aguilera, but Aguilera missed the shot. It was the best chance the Wildcats had for a goal, and USC knew that, so they never let Arizona get that close again.
After another offsides call by USC and a missed free-kick by Arizona, it was looking as if this game was heading to a shootout. Then, a Hocking sister scored a goal. Only, it was the wrong one if you are an Arizona fan.
With only 14 minutes left to play, Penelope Hocking drove the ball up the field herself. After missing a pass from her teammate last time, she made up for her mistake and fired the pass from her teammate past goalkeeper Hope Hisey.
Arizona finished with 11 total shots and USC finished with 14. Wildcats' defender Ava Hetzel was assessed a yellow card 25 minutes into the game.
Arizona will head home to face Stanford on Friday, April 2 at 8 p.m. MST.
Follow Sean Fagan on Twitter