Milford’s Andrews helps USC drop No. 1 Stanford

In one smooth gesture Morgan Andrews knelt down, reached into her imaginary quiver, pulled out the make-believe arrow, drew her pretend bowstring back and fired on net. Direct hit.

The Milford native had just followed through in celebration of her first of two goals during seventh-ranked University of Southern California’s stunning 3-0 victory over top-ranked Stanford on Oct. 6 at McAli­ster Field in Los Angeles.

It’s the first time in women’s soccer pro­gram history that the Trojans (11-3-0 over­all, 5-1-0 Pac-12) beat a national No. 1. It was also their school-record 10th straight win of the season.

The eventual game-winner was defi­nitely a goal worthy of Andrews morph­ing into "Hunger Games" hero Katniss Everdeen – if even for a split second.

Andrews connected on a shot from the left corner of the box in the 28th minute, driving the ball into the upper left corner of the net to put the Trojans up 1-0.

"It’s about having fun, celebrating a big play, a big goal," said Andrews, who add­ed her second goal, the team’s third, from 3 yards out in the 78th minute. "That’s what the college experience is all about – having fun while competing at a high level. It’s really hard to score goals, so when you do, why wouldn’t you celebrate that?"

All laughs aside, she’s serious about how natural a celebration it is.

"I own a bow and arrows back home," Andrews said, "It’s a very New Hampshire thing to have. But I don’t like to kill any­thing, so it’s just for target practice."

The former Milford High School star, 2013 Gatorade National High School Athlete of the Year and 2015 University of Notre Dame transfer certainly has no issue with slaying the hopes and dreams of opposing by booting the ball past them or piercing their hearts with a fake arrow. goalkeepers. She’ll do it

The USC midfielder leads a balanced Trojans offense with seven goals (two assists) and 16 points this fall.

"I’m very confident with how I’ve been playing thus far," Andrews said. "I feel like I’m at my best right now, and I’m excited to keep improving on my personal game.

"But this is a team sport and the entire team is playing at a high level. The separation of goals on our team is so close."

It wasn’t all fun and games for Andrews and her teammates through the weekend as the Tro­jans’ winning streak was snapped in a 1-0 home loss to 14th-ranked University of California on Oct. 9.

"It was a roller-coaster ride of emotions," she said of beating Stanford and then losing to Califor­nia. "We came out on fire Thursday. The team was all pumped up about it. Then we came out a little slow that weekend. Defi­nitely a week of ups and downs.

"Hopefully we start an­other long winning streak this week. We still have a shot at the conference title, and the national championship."

USC’s quest for Pac-12 and national titles contin­ued Saturday in Tempe, Ariz., with a 2-0 win over the Arizona State Sun Devils. It was the first of the Trojans final six regu­lar season games, which are all conference con­tests – Washington State (Oct. 20), Washington (Oct. 23), Utah (Oct. 27), Colo­rado (Oct. 30) and UCLA (Nov. 4).

It’s all she’s focused on at the moment – keeping January’s National Wom­en’s Soccer League Draft and her dreams of eventu­ally making Team USA and playing in the Olympics tucked away in the back of her mind. Right now, it’s all about hoisting hardware at the collegiate level.

"I’m hoping I continue playing in the pros," said Andrews, who is ranked a top three midfielder na­tionally on NWSL draft boards ahead of the 2017 National Soccer Coaches of America annual con­vention Jan. 11-15 in Los Angeles. "Playing for the national team and for Olympic gold has been a dream since I was 10.

"But that’s something I can focus on in a few months. Right now, this season is unfolding the way we want it too. We have a shot at winning a national title."

With her target in sight, Andrews is drawing back that bowstring again.