Tournament Bound Trojans Hold Off Aztec Attack for 12-11 Win
April 27, 2013
SAN DIEGO - In a dramatic regular-season finish, the USC women's lacrosse team earned a 12-11 victory over San Diego State to seize fourth place in the final Mountain Pacific Sports Federation standings and claim the final spot in the conference postseason tournament. In their inaugural season, the Women of Troy (8-9, 5-3 MPSF) finished three spots higher than the league's coaches had predicted in a preseason poll as they wrestled away the win from the Aztecs (8-8, 3-5 MPSF) at Aztec Lacrosse Field on Saturday, April 27.
"For us, our main goal has been improving throughout the year, and we did that," said head coach Lindsey Munday. "There was a stretch in the middle of the season where we had a couple of losses in games that we maybe could have won. I'm really proud of the girls for not shutting down, then. We're really excited to have the opportunity to play in the MPSF tournament. It's really special and I'm really proud of the girls."
Final statistics were much like the final score. USC out-shot SDSU, 23-22, and had one more draw control, 13-12, and both teams were in a dead heat for ground balls, 11-all.
The Trojans got big performances from freshman attack Caroline Cordrey and freshman midfield Amanda Johansen. Each player tied for game-high honors with five points apiece. Both scored four goals and had an assist on the day. Johansen grabbed two draw controls and picked up four ground balls while Cordrey had two ground balls and three draw controls. The pair combined to help USC go three-for-three on free-positions shots. Cordrey had two and Johansen had the other.
"The reason I played well was because our team was hustling so hard all over the field," said Cordrey. "Everybody was picking up. We were doing all the little things right. That translated to offense and me being able to get the goals. It was the ground ball on defense that somebody picked up, to the pass in the midfield, to the transition, to everybody playing selfless. I think we just played 100 percent like a team."
USC's other scorers were freshman midfield Haleigh Dalmass who had a pair of goals and freshman attack Caroline de Lyra who had two goals and an assist. Freshman defender Kelsey Dreyer was solid in the backfield with four draw controls, four caused turnovers, and three ground balls. In the cage, freshman goalie Liz Shaeffer picked up six saves for the Trojans.
For the Aztecs, Sophie Koubek led the way with three goals and four draw controls. Bailey Ewing and Michaela Jarvis also had a pair of goals, each. Christina Ricciardulli scored a goal and was a defensive catalyst for SDSU with four caused turnovers and five ground balls to go with three draw controls. Senior goalie Sammy Slattery had five saves on Senior Night in the final game of her career.
San Diego native Kaitlyn Couture secured the first draw control of the game and saw Johansen score the first goal at 28:44 on the clock, but Jarvis tied the score on her goal just 30 seconds later. De Lyra rolled the crease and scored to put the Trojans up, 2-1, before Johansen's free-position goal earned USC a 3-1 advantage. It was a short-lived USC lead as Koubek grabbed the next draw control and raced down the right sideline for a goal to cut the lead to one. Barely 90 seconds later, Koubek scored again to tie the game at three-all.
Dalmass scored on an assist from sophomore midfield Kaila Sommi to put the lead back in the Trojans' hands, but Ewing went to goal, one-on-one, to score for the Aztecs and knot the game for a third time at four-all. De Lyra broke the tie when she dropped a pass to Johansen from behind the cage for a goal and a 5-4 USC lead, but SDSU scored the next three to take its first lead and hold its largest lead of the game at 7-5.
Cordrey came to life and sparked the Trojan offense's 4-0 run when she scored three straight goals to end the first half Her first was a solo dive down the right side of the 12-meter arc that ended on a shot over Slattery's right shoulder to pull USC within one, 7-6, at 4:55. Cordrey then took a pass in the midfield and went all the way to goal to tie the game for a fifth time at seven-all. Her free-position goal at 1:58 gave the Trojans the lead heading into the halftime break.
Four minutes into the second half, Dalmass scored her second goal of the night as she drove down the right side of the eight-meter arc and took a pass from Johansen. The Aztecs struck back quickly as Koubek scored to get her team with a point, 9-8, just one minute later. Cordrey scored her fourth goal of the evening on a free-position shot to push USC to another two-goal advantage, 10-8, at the 23:17 mark, but Jarvis scored again to keep the Aztecs within striking distance.
Nearly five minutes went off the clock before another goal was scored as Johansen bounced a shot off the ground from the top of the eight-meter arc to earn an 11-9 USC lead. Again, SDSU had an answer as Ewing went solo around the crease just one minute later to pull her team within a goal at 11-10. The ensuing draw control went to Cordrey who scooped up the ball on a breakaway and dumped it to de Lyra who put it past Slattery for USC's final goal and a 12-10 lead with 14:29 to go in the game.
This time, the Aztecs needed seven minutes before they had an answer. Lauren Maack scored unassisted to pull SDSU within one at 12-11. The Trojans kept the ball out of Aztec crosses for nearly all of the final seven minutes, but a turnover with 38 seconds left on the clock gave SDSU new life. A stingy defense held the Aztecs without a shot and preserved the Trojan win.
USC will have little time to celebrate its victory as the fourth-seeded Women of Troy head to Eugene, Ore., to face the MPSF regular-season champion Denver (16-1, 8-0 MPSF) in a 4:30 p.m. PT MPSF semifinal game on Thursday, May 2, at Pape Field. The Trojans earned a 12-10 win over Oregon the last time it played on that field, but suffered a 16-11 loss in their meeting with the Pioneers back on March 31. The other semifinal game will be played at 7 p.m. between second-seeded Stanford and third-seeded California. The two semifinal winners will meet in the title game at 1 p.m. PT on Saturday, May 4, with an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament on the line. Live stats and live video links are available at www.GoDucks.com.