USC Lacrosse Falls to Denver in MPSF Tournament Semifinal
May 2, 2013
EUGENE, Ore. - The fourth-seeded USC women's lacrosse team (8-10) dropped a hard-fought 17-11 decision to top-seeded and 11th-ranked Denver (17-1) in the semifinals of the 2013 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament on Thursday, May 2, at Papé Field. The Women of Troy exceeded expectations in the program's inaugural season and finished the regular season in fourth place in the MPSF after a preseason coaches poll had USC pegged to finish seventh.
"I think it was great that we made the tournament," said head coach Lindsey Munday. "I'm really proud of the team, but at the end of the day, we wanted to win this game and that was what we were focused on. For the players, I think they do have to be proud of how much they have improved throughout the season, but we have to remember this feeling; this feeling of getting to the tournament and not finishing the way we wanted to."
The Trojans out-shot the Pioneers, 33-28, but Denver goalie Hannah Hook came up with 13 saves for her team. USC also had more ground balls and put points on the board on four free-position goals, but it was the Pioneers who were the aggressors when it was most important.
"Denver is a really physical team and they are really aggressive," said Munday. "Especially early on in the first half, we weren't really ready for how hard they were going to come out. I think we were a little shocked by it so we had a couple of turnovers that hurt us. We changed it around in the second half, but right off the bat, we had to come with more and be ready to play a little harder."
Freshman attacker Caroline Cordrey continued her torrid string of games and scored a career-high five goals for USC. Cordrey also dished out one of the Trojans' three assists on the day, had two ground balls, and a draw control. MPSF Rookie of the Year freshman midfield Amanda Johansen had two goals and an assist and controlled the draw five times to extend her conference record to 100 draw controls in her first season.
The Trojans also got a pair of goals from freshman midfield Haleigh Dalmass which each came on free-position shots. Freshman attack Caroline de Lyra had a goal and an assist and a pair of ground balls and freshman attack Paige Bonomi had USC's 11th goal. On defense, freshman Courtney Tarleton picked up three ground balls and three caused turnovers.
For the Pioneers, four players had hat tricks to bolster the Denver offense. Rachael Dillon, Jenn Etzel, Mikayla Clark, and Annabelle Gilbride each had three goals apiece. Jill Remenapp also scored for the Pioneers and recorded a game-high three assists. On defense, Kate Henrich had a game-high five caused turnovers and four ground balls.
Clark sparked the Denver attack on her first goal three minutes into the game. Dillon and Secora scored successive goals to put the Pioneers on top, 3-0, in just over five minutes. Cordrey went to goal to score unassisted and got the Trojans on the board with an impressive crease roll, but Clark scored again to keep Denver on top by three.
USC cut the lead to one goal on back-to-back goals from Cordrey and Dalmass who scored within 30 seconds of each other while Pioneers were on the sideline serving time for yellow card infractions. Denver was unfazed and came up with two more scores to stretch its lead back to three at 6-3 at just under 15 minutes in the first half.
Freshman attack Katie Austin grabbed a draw control and dropped it off to de Lyra who hit Bonomi on a breakaway for a goal to bring USC back within two goals, but Denver maintained its distance heading into the half with an 8-5 lead.
The Pioneers scored just two minutes into the second stanza to create their largest lead up to that point, 9-5, but the Trojans ran a two-on-one break with Johansen hitting Cordrey for a goal in the 36th minute of play. Johansen earned a free-position shot and put it in the back of the cage to keep the Trojans within two goals at 9-7, but Denver scored the next three goals to rip open a five-goal lead at 12-7.
Cordrey rolled the left side of the crease and came up with an unassisted goal in the 45th minute, but that sparked another run of Pioneer goals. This time, Denver scored four in a row to double-up the Trojans, 16-8, with under seven minutes to go in the game. The Trojans fought back and scored three straight on goals by Dalmass, de Lyra, and Cordrey, but it was too little, too late, as the Pioneers wrapped up a 17-11 win.
Second-seeded Stanford (11-5) and third-seeded California (9-6) will meet in the other semifinal for the right to meet Denver for the tournament crown. The MPSF title game is set for 1 p.m. PT on Saturday, May 4. Its winner will receive an automatic bid into the NCAA championship tournament. For more information, please visit www.MPSports.org.