The USC women’s soccer team hopes to keep the wins coming this weekend, as Pac-12 conference play heats up with games against Colorado and Utah.Syd the kid · Freshman midfielder Sydney Sladek was named USC’s Student-Athlete of the Week for scoring her first career goal last Friday. – Samuel Chang | Daily Trojan The No. 23 Women of Troy (7-1-2, 1-0 Pac-12) successfully began their trek through the tough slate of Pac-12 games by traveling to the Arizona desert and defeating the Lady Wildcats by a score of 3-0 on Sept. 26 thanks to yet another great second half performance.“The first half was okay, but the second half I thought we adjusted very well to their tactics,” head coach Keidane McAlpine said. “It was a great result for us.”Senior midfielder Alex Quincey claimed the score that opened up the game for the Women of Troy, as she added to her team-leading tally of seven goals, putting her at second place among all Pac-12 players. Freshman midfielder — and USC Student-Athlete of the Week — Sydney Sladek also had a stellar performance, scoring her first career goal and assisting the second goal of the match scored by junior forward Katie Johnson.Now the road gets slightly tougher for the Women of Troy as they’ll be faced with not one, but two conference games this weekend. Though the games will be at home in the friendly confines of McAlister Field, the team will look to fend off a Colorado squad hungrily looking for its first conference win and a Utah squad that has remained undefeated through its first 10 matches.The Lady Buffaloes (7-3-0, 0-1) — who made the Sweet 16 in last year’s NCAA tournament — lost their first Pac-12 duel in a 4-2 shootout with California this past week and will now attempt to upset USC on its home pitch at 3 p.m. this Friday.“[Colorado] will be hungry to come in here and re-establish themselves,” McAlpine said. “It’s gonna be a tough game for us.”Key players for Colorado include forward Brie Hooks, who leads the team with four goals to go with her three assists. Two other Lady Buffaloes — midfielders Darcy Jerman and Carly Bolyard -— have added three goals.Defensively, the team is anchored by goalkeeper Kate Scheele, who can claim five clean sheets and 28 saves in 2014.The Women of Troy recognize that all conference teams are dangerous, but by adhering to their “one game at a time” mindset and refusing to focus on anything but the next opponent, they know they can avoid unnecessary losses. McAlpine continues to be adamant about this and is focused on getting the team to treat this game — regardless of its adversary — like any other Pac-12 match.Sunday’s game places the squad on the opposite side of a place they were for most of this season. Having been undefeated until the last game of non-conference play against Pepperdine, the Women of Troy faced many teams that tried to end their winning streak. Now, they will be the ones attempting to play spoiler as they face the unranked, but dangerous, Utah Lady Utes (7-0-3, 0-0-1) at 3 p.m. on Sunday.Utah is led by midfielder Katie Taylor, who has added three goals to her team-best five assists. Freshman forward Mariah Elmer, who has yet to start a game, also has three goals.Goalkeeper Lindsey Luke has been a wall so far this season, collecting 40 saves and six shutouts.“Utah is playing extremely well,” McAlpine said. “They’re a very, very dangerous team.”The Lady Utes have certainly impressed so far, surviving a tough draw against No. 4 Stanford in their last game and simultaneously keeping their spotless record of only draws and wins alive. They will face No. 1 UCLA on Friday for what is sure to be another tough match before taking on the Women of Troy in their second game of the weekend.“[Colorado and Utah] are a little different in their approach, but still two very quality teams,” McAlpine said. “The weekend’s gonna be one that will challenge us in a couple ways.”Pac-12 play is beginning to get interesting, and with hopes of an NCAA tournament berth and even tougher games on the horizon, the Women of Troy will look to make the most of home-field advantage and come out of this weekend unscathed and undefeated in conference play.This weekend’s games mark the first quarter of five-match homestand for USC. The Women of Troy begin play again on Oct. 10 against California.
Drom & Inch were without Seamus Callanan for that one but he is back for this afternoons clash.Throw-in is at 3.30 in Holycross.Before that Carrick Swans and Kilruane McDonaghs meet at 1.45 in the first of a double header there. Kilruane will be looking to atone for their defeat in the North final while Swans haven’t been in action since losing the South semi-final in July.It’s an all north Tipp affair in Dolla this afternoon when All Ireland winning captain Brendan Maher will lead his Borrisoleigh side against Burgess…throw-in is at 3 o’clock.Also getting underway at that time is the game between South champions Mullinahone and Ballina in Templetuohy.Staying with hurling action and Moneygall and Knockavilla Donaskeigh Kickhams meet in the senior hurling relegation clash in Templetuohy at 1.30.Last evening Silvermines beat Moyne Templetuohy in their Round 1 relegation game on a scoreline of 19 points to 15.Meanwhile in gaelic football The destination of the West Senior Football title will be decided this afternoon.Galtee Rovers St Pecaun will take on Aherlow Gaels in Dundrum – throw-in is at 3 o’clock in Kickham Park.This will be preceded at 1.30 by the West Intermediate football final between Rockwell Rovers and Golden Kilfeackle. Two of the favourites to lift the Dan Breen Cup face each other in the County Senior hurling championship this afternoon.Loughmore Castleiney take on Drom & Inch in a repeat of the recent mid final.That went to extra time before Loughmore Castleiney came out on top.
Ghana striker Kwesi Appiah has joined Championship side Reading on loan until the end of the season.The Eagles striker, who recently put pen to paper on a new contract with the club, has joined the Royals until May.It will be his first taste of Championship football since he featured for Palace in the division during 2012/13. In total he has made 10 appearances for the Eagles since arriving from Margate in 2012, with his last outing coming in August 2013 in a Capital One Cup game against Bristol City.During that time he had loan spells at Cambridge United, Notts County and AFC Wimbledon, and featured prominently for the U’s earlier this season in League Two when he scored eight times. That form earned him a maiden call-up to the Ghana squad for the Africa Cup of Nations in January, where he won four caps as he helped the Black Stars reach the final, and is currently on international duty ahead of friendlies against Senegal and Mali in France.He will report for training with Reading upon his return to England, and is the second Palace striker to spend time on loan at the Madejski Stadium this season. – Follow Gary on Twitter: @garyalsmith