Women’s soccer makes a pair of short trips to Long Beach State and Pepperdine this weekend, as the Women of Troy seek their first two victories of the season. After suffering a tough overtime defeat at Santa Clara to open the season last week, USC will look to rebound with strong showings.Despite opening the year with a narrow loss, the Women of Troy were arguably the superior team against Santa Clara. USC pulled ahead of the Broncos twice before eventually losing 2-3.“We played really well for the first 30 minutes,” head coach Keidane McAlpine said. “Then we got away from some of the things we wanted to do tactically throughout the rest of the game.”Redshirt senior goalkeeper Sammy Jo Prudhomme agreed with her coach and was confident that the Women of Troy would iron out their issues by Friday night. Prudhomme was encouraged by the team’s early season friendlies (two wins by a combined score of 9-1), and she said the squad would improve as it logged more minutes as a unit.“There were just a couple breakdowns on defense that we need to clean up, and I think we’ll be OK,” Prudhomme said. “The more we play and the more we’re together, it’ll feel more like an exhibition when we go out for a normal game.”The loss to Santa Clara stings, but McAlpine said he was happy with his squad’s opening to the season.“All in all, it was a good start,” McAlpine said. “We learned something by playing a team of that caliber early. Hopefully we’ll continue to grow and build off of that.”There is still much growing left to do for USC. Ranked No. 11 in the nation in the preseason coaches’ poll, the Women of Troy harbor high ambitions for this season after making it to the Sweet Sixteen in the 2015 NCAA Tournament.“Our goals are to win the Pac-12 championship and to win the national championship,” Prudhomme said. “I don’t think they’re unrealistic … if we do what we need to do.”McAlpine was similarly excited about his team, but he knows that USC’s tournament run last year now puts a target on the Women of Troy’s back.“This team has better talent than we had a year ago, but you still have to play the games,” McAlpine said. “This year, we’re not an underdog; people know that we’re talented and what we’re capable of. So we’re going to have to be a little bit more focused every game.”The Women of Troy kick off at Long Beach State at 7 p.m. on Friday, and they take on Pepperdine in Malibu at 1 p.m. on Sunday.