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  • 05 Jun
    导出博客文章Fremantle coach Ross Lyon says the appearance of a West Coast spy at Dockers
    training this week wasnt a good look - literally.With Fremantle well and truly
    out of the finals mix, the build-up to Derby XLIV has been relatively low
    key.But that didnt stop Eagles scout Tim Gepp taking a look at Dockers training
    on Wednesday.The first 20 minutes of the session was open to the media, but it
    was closed from that point on.Its unclear how long Gepp stayed for, but Lyon was
    all too happy to poke fun at the Eagles employee on Thursday.He was still on his
    exercise bike. Can you get him out of the lycra please? Its not a good look,
    Lyon joked.He was wearing his West Coast jumper too I think, Eagles coach Adam
    Simpson chipped in with a chuckle.For the record, Gepp wasnt in his lycra gear
    on that occasion, but hes been known to frequent Dockers training on his bike
    from time to time.West Coast held a closed training session on Thursday, and
    Lyon said the Dockers wouldnt have prying eyes in there.I think Nizzy (Eagles
    chief executive Trevor Nisbett) runs a pretty tight ship, so we respect the
    anti-spying laws, Lyon said.So we wont be able to get anyone in.West Coast
    (12-6) need to win on Sunday in order to keep their top-four hopes alive, with
    last weeks shock loss to Collingwood dropping them to sixth.Fremantle (3-15)
    will be aiming to bounce back from the disappointment of last weeks 90-point
    loss to Sydney, which came in Matthew Pavlichs 350-game milestone.
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    . JOHNS, N. SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Midway through the
    first half of Sundays national championship game at Avaya Stadium, USCs Kayla
    Mills took a West Virginia shot flush in the face from no more than a few yards
    away. It felt, well, unpleasant. A ball to the nose will feel that way.I wanted
    to cry, Mills said after the game. I wanted to stop, but I was like Oh my gosh,
    the ball is still in our half. I cannot let them score, because I did not get
    hit in the face for nothing. And so, I was just trying to get myself sorted out.
    I didnt want to take that for nothing.It hurt, and I wanted to cry a little bit.
    But nothing came out, so were good.It just didnt hurt as much as missing the
    NCAA tournament, which she experienced in a freshman season that went very
    wrong.Three years later, a senior, Mills was on the field when the final whistle
    brought the college season to an end. And after No. 2 USCs 3-1 win over No. 1
    West Virginia, she stayed there to celebrate a national championship with her
    teammates. So, no, it wasnt for nothing.Put aside for a moment the pair of goals
    from USCs Katie Johnson that first put her team ahead and later allowed them to
    breathe easy for the final few minutes. Put aside goalkeeper Sammy Jo Prudhommes
    championship-preserving saves. Leave all of that for later.USC won the title
    while outscoring its six opponents by a total of seven goals. That is the
    smallest goal differential of any champion since the bracket expanded to 64
    teams in 2001. USC survived a shootout in the second round, the earliest an
    eventual champion ever partook in that lottery during the same time span. It won
    three consecutive 1-0 games to reach Sundays final. It was outshot in each of
    its final three games, including 21-8 by the Mountaineers on Sunday.The Trojans
    didnt dominate the tournament. That isnt the objective. It is to be there at the
    end. The Trojans had a plan for that.To understand what transpired, as USC broke
    down one of the stingiest defenses in recent College Cup memory to become just
    the fourth program to win multiple titles, start with a ball to the face. A
    group of players -- for whom the start of their college experience was like a
    ball to the face -- did over four seasons just what Mills did on this night.
    They played on.Six seniors played major minutes. Four transfers played major
    minutes.They accounted for all three goals and two of the assists. Oh yes, and
    eight saves.Those were courtesy of Prudhomme, who played against USC in her
    first two college seasons at Oregon State. Back in the bad old days. After
    winning a title in 2007, USC fell off the map. The nadir was a losing record and
    missed tournament in 2013.It just didnt seem to be working out, like they were
    just a little underachieving, and we didnt understand why, Prudhomme said of her
    view from the other goal. But I knew how good those players were.Keidane
    McAlpine arrived prior to the 2014 season and talked of a plan to contend for a
    title. Mills said it seemed the coaches saw things in the players that even the
    players didnt see at that point, which made it a difficult sell.Theres no way,
    from where we are right now, Mandy Freeman recalled thinking, that we could get
    a natty champ by my senior year.But that is exactly what they did.USC did what
    no one else in the NCAA tournament could when it took the lead against West
    Virginia. No worse than tied in its five previous games, the Mountaineers
    trailed after just 82 seconds in the final. The set-piece goal, Savannah Levin
    heading a corner kick deep into the box to set up Morgan Andrews for a headed
    finish, wasnt the fastest in the history of the final, but it was aa lightning
    bolt.dddddddddddd Undaunted, West Virginia piled up possession and shots until
    Ashley Lawrence tied the game with a 66th-minute strike. Still, the Mountaineers
    pressed on.But USC was outshot 41-25 in its final three games. Defending wasnt
    uncomfortable territory. And when Andrews launched a quick counterattack with a
    long pass that Leah Pruitt, another transfer, turned into an assist on the first
    of Johnsons two goals, USC had the lead back at 2-1.Weve talked about our team
    defending, day one, McAlpine said. Im big on defending. But we always talk about
    we defend so we can attack. Weve been able to create chances. I said it the
    other day, weve always been able to create chances and been very opportunistic
    all year. Weve got a quality group of forwards. And today was no different. We
    had to stay unified in what we were doing, disciplined in what we were doing.
    ... I thought our individual defending, especially in the box with crosses
    coming in, was fantastic.And we knew we had a solid netminder. Shes good; shots
    from distance she can take care of. Not to mention the special saves, which I
    think she made a handful today as well.Yes, Prudhomme did. None of them better
    than with 10 minutes remaining and USC still leading by a single goal. In a game
    in which West Virginia showed off the skill worthy of a team with so many
    players experienced at the international level, nothing was more impressive than
    the first-touch pass that Lawrence slid through a gap and the incredible control
    of Heather Kaleiohi to spin away from a defender as she gathered in the ball and
    faced no one but Prudhomme. That level of execution at the college level leads
    to goals almost every time.But only almost. Sliding to her right as Kaleiohi
    spun that direction, Prudhomme reached back across her momentum and pawed away
    the shot headed toward the far post. Johnson capped the scoring with a deft
    long-range finish on another counter with barely three minutes left.Like
    Andrews, the Notre Dame transfer so instrumental in two of the three goals,
    Prudhomme was a late but invaluable addition to USCs rebuilding
    effort.Transferring within the Pac-12 meant that Prudhomme had to sit out a
    season, a penalty most transfers dont pay in sports other than football and
    basketball. But that was a small price to pay for what she found in Los
    Angeles.I came from a situation where it was very intense and very upsetting and
    you didnt feel comfortable playing, Prudhomme said. You didnt feel like you did
    anything right, and you felt kind of worthless. We came here, and they made me
    confident again. I was actually getting to the point where I wanted to quit,
    because thats how much I hated soccer. And it wasnt because I actually hated the
    game. ...I think this coaching staff did an amazing job bringing these players
    that came from a similar situation that I did and bringing them back to a place
    mentally where they believe theyre good players. Because they are good
    players.All of that would have been true no matter the outcome in the final. For
    a group of players and coaches so open about not only their soccer experiences,
    but their conversations about matters of cultural significance and the roles
    they hope to play in the wider world, Sundays result didnt really define them
    any more than the loss defined a brilliant West Virginia team.But they are also
    good players who earned the trophy they held aloft.And if youre going to get hit
    in the face, well, its nice to know it wasnt for nothing. ' ' '