The Women of Troy end the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation conference portion of their schedule this weekend as they travel to the Bay Area for two crucial road matches against No. 8 San Jose State (14-9, 2-4) and No. 2 Stanford (18-1, 4-0).Road trippin’ · USC is ranked No. 3 in the country and will take its six-game winning streak up north to San Jose State and Stanford. – Chris Pham | Daily TrojanA sweep on the team’s trip north could put No. 3 USC (17-3, 4-1) in position for a first-place finish in the MPSF as USC tries to extend its six-game winning streak.The weekend starts Friday at 1 p.m. with a clash against San Jose State, which has won seven of its last nine matches.In their season opener, the Women of Troy claimed a 14-6 victory over the Spartans at the Stanford Invitational to extend their all-time record against them to 24-0.The Spartans are led by attacker Dani Curran and utility player Anna Natalizio, who have combined for 88 goals as San Jose’s top scorers.The marquee matchup of the weekend goes down Saturday at 1 p.m., when the Women of Troy travel to Palo Alto to play the No. 2 Cardinal.The two squads matched up earlier this season at the Stanford Invitational on Feb. 4, when the Cardinal eked out an 8-7 win over USC.Stanford’s only loss of the season came in a 5-4 nail-biter to No. 1 UCLA at the UCI Invitational in late February. Since then, Stanford has reeled off seven wins in a row by an average of 9.7 goals.Goalkeeper Kate Baldoni is a force in the cage for Stanford, averaging 9.7 saves per game while allowing only 4.5 goals per game.The Cardinal has a pair of freshman for leading scorers in driver Kiley Neushul with 42 goals and two-meter Ashley Grossman with 37 goals.USC is 24-24 all-time against Stanford and has lost the last five matches in the rivalry, including an 8-4 defeat in the NCAA semifinals last year.Both matches tip off at 1 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and after this weekend, the Women of Troy get a two-week break before wrapping up the regular season against CSU Bakersfield on April 20.
With an overtime goal to give the home team the win Sunday night, the Wisconsin women’s soccer team wrapped up its weekend series with two victories.After a 2-1 victory over Illinois (7-5-2, 4-2-1 Big Ten) Sunday and a win by the same score Friday over Northwestern (4-10-2, 0-8-0), Wisconsin earned its second and third Big Ten victories thanks in large part to solid play by UW’s defensive unit.In a weekend where the defense allowed only two goals, the strong defensive play Sunday impressed head coach Paula Wilkins. “I thought it was a group effort in defending,” Wilkins said. “[Illinois] came out with a different system than we expected them to play, so people were able to adapt which I was really happy with. Lindsey Johnson has been fantastic for us in the back and being able to step in for (Alexandra) Heller. She was [as] good again today as she was on Friday.”The Badgers (10-5-1, 3-4-1) held the Fighting Illini to just seven shots on goal with junior goalkeeper Genevieve Richard stopping six of them.Richard, who has now started four games for Wisconsin, got the nod Sunday, but it was redshirt senior Lauren Gunderson who started for the Badgers on Friday despite Richard’s shutout in Wisconsin’s game against UW-Green Bay Monday. Wilkins explained the choice to start two different goalkeepers this weekend.“They are both great goalkeepers and they both bring different things,” Wilkins said. “We thought what Illinois brought to the game was going to be the strength for Genevieve today. We are looking at that game-by-game in terms of what goalkeeper brings special qualities.“It’s so difficult as a coach because they give me the most challenging problem of deciding who is going to play, because they both bring great things to the game.”Richard has 18 saves and has allowed only four goals in her four starts.The Wisconsin goalkeeper may have been able to earn her second-straight shutout if it wasn’t for Illinois forward Marissa Holden, who drilled a shot to the far upper corner of the goal in the 41st minute.Illinois’ goal was reminiscent of another goal made last Friday on Richard by Nebraska’s Mayme Conroy, who nailed a top corner shot in overtime.Richard was happy with the way she played on Sunday and is determined to stop at least one top corner missile this year.“[The Illinois goal] made me think of the Nebraska goal (last weekend). I was very close to it, so I will work on it in practice. I just want to save it at least once. I have to, it’s like my ego,” Richard said with a smile. “Strikers cannot just keep doing the same ball.“Overall I think [I played] fine. I really focused on getting over the ball. My kicks in the first half were terrible. I think it is not acceptable for me to give counterattacks and gifts to the opponent, so I will work on it again.”Friday it was Gunderson who played goalkeeper for the Badgers, recording three saves and holding the Wildcats to just one goal.After getting out to a fast 2-0 lead, Gunderson was happy the Wisconsin defense continued to play at full intensity despite playing with a two-goal cushion.“At the end, to win a game you kind of have to keep focusing on the details,” Gunderson said. “I didn’t think that we did that in a couple other games that we lost so it was good that we came out and worked hard.”In both games over the weekend, Wisconsin was able to keep the opponent’s offensive pressure to a minimum, doing well to limit the opposing transition attack.Senior defender Joana Bielefeld thought her defensive squad did a nice job stopping the fast breaks of the opposition.“For the most part I think that we really defended as a team and stopped them from transitioning,” Bielefeld said. “We were really concentrating on tackling and I think for the most part we did a good job.”Follow Spencer on Twitter
Angels’ Mike Trout working on his defense, thanks to Twitter While Skaggs’ death led to increased drug testing and awareness of the dangers of opioids, Carli and Debbie are focused on the Foundation as a means to turn his memory into a positive for others.So far they have distributed 350 grab-and-go meals to Santa Monica children who missed out on lunches when schools closed because of the pandemic. They refurbished the batting cages at the North Venice Little League, where Skaggs played as a boy.A few other projects stalled because of the coronavirus, including a high school baseball game at UCLA and a trip for two high school athletes to work with children in Kenya. They are planning a Christmas toy drive for kids in hospitals in Santa Monica and UCLA.The Foundation has already received support from many of the same big leaguers who who etched “45” onto their caps or shoes last summer to honor a player they called a friend. Several of them — a group including Jack Flaherty of the St. Louis Cardinals and Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers — recently posed for photos with Carli wearing Tyler Skaggs Foundation T-shirts.Fans can buy the apparel on the Foundation web site, with proceeds going to support the causes that meant so much to Skaggs, Carli and Debbie.“We just want to honor the way Tyler lived,” Carli said. “He always talked about wanting to start a foundation. He didn’t know exactly what direction he wanted to go in, but I know this is what he would want. I just want to make him proud.” PreviousCarli Skaggs, left, wife of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs and his mother Debbie Skaggs are shown with his baseball glove and his urn, right, in Los Angeles on Sunday, June 28, 2020. Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room on July 1, 2019 in Southlake, Texas just prior to a four-game series against the Texas Rangers. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)A photo of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs and his urn are placed on Kobe Bryant’s book, “The Mamba Mentality” in Los Angeles on Sunday, June 28, 2020. Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room on July 1, 2019 in Southlake, Texas just prior to a four-game series against the Texas Rangers. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)Carli Skaggs, left, wife of Tyler Skaggs and his mother Debbie Skaggs are shown with photos of the Angels pitcher Los Angeles on Sunday, June 28, 2020. Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room on July 1, 2019 in Southlake, Texas just prior to a four-game series against the Texas Rangers. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG) SoundThe gallery will resume insecondsDebbie Skaggs, mother of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs in Los Angeles on Sunday, June 28, 2020, wears at necklace in memory of her son. Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room on July 1, 2019 in Southlake, Texas just prior to a four-game series against the Texas Rangers. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)Carli Skaggs, wife of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs, in Los Angeles on Sunday, June 28, 2020 still wears his wedding ring on a chain around her neck. Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room on July 1, 2019 in Southlake, Texas just prior to a four-game series against the Texas Rangers. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)Carli Skaggs, left, wife of Tyler Skaggs and his mother Debbie Skaggs are shown with the jersey and photos of the Angels pitcher in Los Angeles on Sunday, June 28, 2020. Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room on July 1, 2019 in Southlake, Texas just prior to a four-game series against the Texas Rangers. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)Carli Skaggs, left, wife of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs and his mother Debbie Skaggs are shown with his baseball glove and his urn, right, in Los Angeles on Sunday, June 28, 2020. Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room on July 1, 2019 in Southlake, Texas just prior to a four-game series against the Texas Rangers. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)A photo of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs and his urn are placed on Kobe Bryant’s book, “The Mamba Mentality” in Los Angeles on Sunday, June 28, 2020. Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room on July 1, 2019 in Southlake, Texas just prior to a four-game series against the Texas Rangers. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)NextShow Caption1 of 6A photo of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs and his urn are placed on Kobe Bryant’s book, “The Mamba Mentality” in Los Angeles on Sunday, June 28, 2020. Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room on July 1, 2019 in Southlake, Texas just prior to a four-game series against the Texas Rangers. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)ExpandThe calendar has been creeping up on Carli and Debbie Skaggs for a while now, each day bringing them a little closer to the date that changed their lives forever.“It’s been a year, but the pain is just as fresh today as it was a year ago,” Carli said, her voice cracking as she recalls the day she lost her husband. “It’s been a really tough month, leading up to the anniversary. I am really emotional. There’s really no way to describe the pain that I feel.”Wednesday will mark exactly one year since Tyler Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room in suburban Dallas, devastating the Angels and sending shock waves throughout Major League Baseball.Mostly, though, the tragedy left his wife, Carli, and his mother, Debbie, to grapple with an unimaginable loss. Jose Suarez’s rocky start sinks Angels in loss to Astros “Every day is a battle,” Debbie said. “We’re not as numb, but we’re still in pain.”Carli and Debbie had not spoken publicly about their loss for nearly a year, but approaching the anniversary of his death they sat together in Debbie’s living room for an interview.They were surrounded by framed jerseys and photos. A black urn, shaped like a flame, sat on a table across the room. Carli has an identical one, allowing for Skaggs’ ashes to remain with each of the two most important women in his life.Carli and Debbie opened up because they wanted to share the work of the Tyler Skaggs Foundation, which is primarily aimed at helping kids.“We want to honor the way Tyler lived,” Carli said, “and it’s important to me to share with you who he was as a person, and what we’re doing to carry his amazing legacy forward.” Angels’ Shohei Ohtani spending downtime working in outfield On Wednesday, they plan to surround themselves with friends and family for a celebration of Skaggs’ life, including scattering some of his ashes on the beach. It will be the latest in what has been a year of emotional tributes, none more public and more stirring than what happened last July 12, when the Angels played their first home game after Skaggs’ death.There was Debbie’s first pitch — a perfect strike from the top of the mound. There was a 45-second moment of silence. There was a video tribute to Skaggs.The Angels then took the field — all wearing Skaggs’ No. 45 — and Taylor Cole and Felix Peña proceeded to pitch a combined no-hitter.“You could feel his presence there,” Carli said. “It was like he was over the whole stadium.”Afterward, the players draped their jerseys on the mound.“I don’t believe in coincidences,” Debbie said. “It was definitely meant to be. When I saw it, I was like, ‘Is this really happening?’ What a tribute to an amazing young man.”Aside from those big moments, there are hundreds of small ones, like the messages Carli receives from total strangers. Even nearly a year after Skaggs’ death, she still regularly hears from people about the impact he had on their lives.“I get messages like this all the time,” Carli said after scrolling through her phone to find the latest example. “It puts a smile on my face.”Debbie said she is heartened whenever she hears stories from the people who interacted with her son.“He’s not going to be remembered as a baseball player, just as a caring, loving, kind person,” Debbie said. “I don’t know about other players. Sometimes they get in their own little zone and don’t reach out with other people. Tyler took the time to connect with fans and kids.”The pleasant memories of Skaggs will help Carli and Debbie get through Wednesday, which they were certain would also include replaying many of the details of the worst day of their lives.Debbie said she talked or texted with her son just about every day, and they’d had a normal conversation on Sunday, June 30, 2019. She asked how he was feeling, and he said everything was fine. She said she would talk to him on Monday, after the Angels were to arrive in Texas for a series against the Rangers.Carli said she knew something was wrong based on his final text that Sunday night. Normally, the conversations ended with “I love you” or “good night,” but not this time.“The last text he left off that night was not something he’d ever leave off with,” said Carli, who had been with Skaggs for six years and married for six months.When she woke up Monday morning and didn’t have Skaggs’ customary “good morning” text, she worried more.“His phone was off,” Carli said. “I knew if he had forgotten his charger or his phone was broken, he would 100 percent find a way to get in touch with me, whether it was using someone else’s phone or the hotel phone.”A few hours later, after Debbie had also failed in numerous attempts to reach her son, Carli learned the devastating news in a phone call from General Manager Billy Eppler.“I’ll never forget that,” Carli said. “It’s something I replay in my mind all the time. I don’t even know how to describe it. … Am I really never going to see my best friend, my soul mate, my other half, ever again?”When Debbie heard, she couldn’t even continue holding the phone, so she passed it to her husband, Dan: “I was in shock. Total shock. There’s no way. They’re wrong. It couldn’t have happened. It was the most painful day I’ve had in my entire life.”Weeks would pass before they learned the details.The coroner determined that Skaggs had essentially suffocated on his own vomit, with opioids — oxycodone and fentanyl — in his system. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine.Two weeks shy of his 28th birthday, Skaggs had become the latest victim of the nation’s growing opioid crisis. His wife and mother insist they never saw any signs of a problem.“That wasn’t even something that crossed my mind,” Carli said.“He never showed anything of that being a possibility,” Debbie said.The family also came to believe that someone with the Angels had contributed to Skaggs’ drug use, according to a statement they released following the autopsy findings. Weeks later ESPN reported that the Drug Enforcement Administration had been investigating Eric Kay, a longtime club media relations employee. Kay reportedly had been supplying Skaggs and using drugs with him.Kay is no longer employed by the Angels. The club also denied that any other employees were aware of Skaggs’ drug use. None of Skaggs’ teammates have said they were aware he was using drugs.The Skaggs family hired noted Texas attorney Rusty Hardin, who said on Sunday night that they still are waiting for the DEA to conclude its investigation before considering a civil action against the Angels. Because of proportional liability laws in California, the Angels could owe damages even if proven to be only slightly negligent in their handling of Skaggs.“We have said all along that we will wait till the federal investigation is concluded before we make up our mind (on civil action),” Hardin said. “We’re waiting to see what they do and trying to stay out of their way.”Hardin said the statute of limitations on a wrongful death is two years, so the family has another year to make a decision.“We were hoping a year later we’d have some answers,” said Debbie, adding that the COVID-19 pandemic has likely delayed the investigation. “It looks like maybe by the end of the year. I don’t know.”Carli added: “Without closure, it’s hard to move forward.”The nature of Skaggs’ death, however, has already led to a significant change in Major League Baseball’s drug policy. Starting this year, players are tested for opioids, in addition to performance enhancing drugs. Players who test positive for opioids are entered into a treatment program, with discipline coming only if they fail to follow the treatment.Carli said she was in a restaurant when she got a call letting her know about the change.“I broke down and started crying,” she said. “OK, he didn’t die in vain. His death effected a positive change. If it’s going to save someone’s life, then that’s the best thing that could have happened.”Carli said she’s also received messages from people telling her that they sought help for drug problems because of what happened to Skaggs.Related Articles Angels’ poor pitching spoils an Albert Pujols milestone Angels offense breaks out to split doubleheader with Astros Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error