USC Set to Open Inaugural Season With Northwestern
Feb. 7, 2013
The Women of Troy and the Wildcats will take the field at the historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to officially put USC's 21st intercollegiate sport into the Trojan history books. Admission is free and the first 1,000 fans in attendance will receive a commemorative USC lacrosse t-shirt.
Northwestern has won seven of the last eight NCAA titles and is a favorite to contend for the 2013 championship. Trojan head coach Lindsey Munday starred for the Wildcats for the first two of those seven crowns and helped guide NU to three more championships as an assistant coach. Chosen to run USC's first-ever varsity women's lacrosse squad, the Team USA captain will face mentor Kelly Amonte Hiller in her first collegiate test.
USC assistant coach Hilary Bowen is also quite familiar with the Wildcats as she won four national titles as a player under Amonte Hiller and was twice named the NCAA tournament's MVP.
The Trojans will play their first game at McAlister Field--their regular-season home venue--against Massachusetts on Sunday, Feb. 10, at 1 p.m. PT. Minutewomen head coach Angela McMahon is a former teammate of Munday's from Northwestern while UMass assistant coach Brianne LoManto is also a Wildcat alum and former teammate of Bowen's.
Northwestern and UMass will play each other in a neutral-site game on Friday, Feb. 8, at 3 p.m. PT on McAlister Field.
STARS AND STRIPES: Head coach Lindsey Munday and assistant coach Devon Wills are each current members of the U.S. women's national team that is set to compete in Oshawa, Ontario, for the 2013 FIL World Cup. Both players were members of the 2009 squad that won the World Cup. This time, Munday will also assume duties as the team captain when Team USA defends its world title.
STRONG START: The Trojans open the program's first season with a tall order as they face a pair of ranked teams including top-ranked two-time defending NCAA champion Northwestern. NU went 21-2 last season as it captured its seventh national crown in eight years. USC will have just one night's rest before it hosts a 14th-ranked Massachusetts squad that was 19-2 overall in 2012.
KEEP TRACK OF THE TROJANS: Fans of USC women's lacrosse can follow the Trojans on Twitter. For a behind-the-scenes look at the program, scores, and news updates, follow @USCTrojansLax. All of USC's home games at McAlister Field will be webcast on USCTrojans.com via the Pac-12 Networks web portal.
CHECK YOUR LOCAL LISTINGS: USC's game against Oregon on Thursday, April 4, will be broadcast live on the Pac-12 Networks. The Trojans and the Ducks are set to draw at center circle of Pape Field at 4:30 p.m. PT.
EAST MEETS WEST: USC's first-ever varsity lacrosse squad features 15 players that hail from the East Coast. Seven come from New York, six call New Jersey home, and two are from Connecticut and Virginia. The Trojans have six players from California, a pair from Washington, and one, each, from Oregon and Colorado. The only player from a Midwest state is Caitlin Campion who hails from Western Springs in Illinois.
WORK IT OUT: Freshman attacker Katie Austin is the daughter of legendary fitness guru Denise Austin. The elder Austin is a well-known fitness instructor, author, columnist, and a former member of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. Katie's aunt is former U.S. Open tennis champion Tracy Austin, and her older sister Kelly Austin starred in women's lacrosse for Virginia.
DOUBLE AGENT: Junior midfielder Elizabeth Eddy is also a three-time letterwinner on USC's women's soccer team. Eddy was second on the team in scoring as a freshman with five goals. She once scored three in a single game against Cal on Oct. 10, 2010. The soccer forward led the Trojans with four goals in 2011 and was an All-Pac-12 honorable mention.
SEVENTH HEAVEN: In a preseason poll of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation's (MPSF) head coaches, the Women of Troy were selected to finish in seventh place in their inaugural season. USC received 24 points in the poll to finish ahead of Fresno State and Saint Mary's College. For the fourth straight season, the coaches selected Stanford to win the league title.
TOURNAMENT TIME: The Trojans will compete in the West Coast's premiere league for collegiate women's lacrosse, the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. The conference's top four regular-season finishers will converge upon Eugene, Ore., where Pape Field plays host to the 2013 MPSF Tournament hosted by the University of Oregon, May 3-5. Last year, the Ducks finished with a 7-0 mark and upended seven-time defending conference champ Stanford in the title match to earn the league's automatic berth into the NCAA championships.
FIELD OF DREAMS: To accommodate the national growth of the sport, the NCAA expanded the lacrosse tournament field from what was previously 16 teams to 26 teams in time for the 2013 championship. Now, all 13 conference champions will receive automatic bids while 13 more teams will earn at-large selections. The top eight teams will be seeded in the bracket and will host first- and second-round games. The top six seeded teams receive byes into the second round and serve as hosts for a neutral-site first-round game. The first-round winners then play at the top six seeded teams. Teams seeded seventh and eighth will also host, but will have to play a first-round game. The national quarterfinals are set for on-campus sites May 18 or 19, with the four winners advancing to the finals May 24-26.
LAXIN' FOR CHANGE: Assistant coach Hilary Bowen is the Women's Program Representative for an organization called Fields of Growth International that aims to harness the passion of the lacrosse community into positive social impact through global leadership development, service, and by growing the game. In the summer of 2012, Bowen joined the organization in Uganda for a special summer mission. Visit her blog Laxin4Change.blogspot.com to learn more about her, and the organization's mission.
VALID ID: The USC women's lacrosse team helps the Trojans turn 21. The Women of Troy become the famed athletic program's 21st sport. It is the 12th women's sport among the Trojans' 21. USC women's teams have won 23 national titles (14 NCAA) and lay claim to 64 individual national crowns.
BEACH BUMS: The USC coaching staff has truly soaked up all that is Southern California life. Strap on your rollerblades or hop on your bike and you might just run into them on The Strand (a bike path that runs along LA's trio of South Bay beach cities). Head coach Lindsey Munday lives in Manhattan Beach, assistant coach Devon Wills is just down the street in Hermosa Beach, while assistant coach Hilary Bowen and director of operations Regan Bosch are just a stone's throw away in Redondo Beach.
SEASON OUTLOOK: The wait is finally over. On February 9, one of the oldest sports in North America will receive its place among the history books of the University of Southern California when the Women of Troy take the field at the historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for the first-ever varsity women's lacrosse game.
USC announced it would make women's lacrosse its 21st intercollegiate sport on Nov. 18, 2010. More than two years later, the dream has become a reality. To lead the program, the Trojans hired one of the most accomplished players in the history of collegiate lacrosse: Lindsey Munday.
Munday starred on the field for Northwestern where the Wildcats won their first two NCAA titles behind her contributions. NU has since gone on to win seven of the last eight national titles. Fittingly, Munday and the Trojans will christen the USC program with a season-opener against Northwestern and Munday's former coach and mentor Kelly Amonte Hiller.
The Trojans will field a squad of 26 players in their first year; 17 of which are true freshmen, handpicked by Munday and her staff of highly touted assistants. Devon Wills--a star goalie from Dartmouth--will coordinate the defensive side of the field and carries a lofty list of credentials, not the least of which includes a selection to the 2013 US women's national team. Hilary Bowen--an offensive standout for Northwestern--will coordinate the Trojan attack. Bowen herself has a mantle to be envious of with four NCAA titles and two NCAA finals MVP honors to boast of.
Munday's list of accomplishments is unrivaled with two NCAA titles as a player, three more as an assistant coach, and twice finishing as a semifinalist for the prestigious Tewaaraton Trophy. USC's first lacrosse coach also serves as the team captain for Team USA as one of 18 members of the 2013 national team. For Munday, the Trojans' first game will be particularly special as she opens her career as a head coach against her long-time mentor Amonte Hiller.
The Trojans will call McAlister Field home during the regular season. Thanks to a generous donation from Hobart and Soni McAlister in 1998, USC has had a place to host fall home women's soccer games for over a decade and a half. Now, the lacrosse team will share the space as tenants of the venerable home field. Before the Trojans play host to Massachusetts at McAlister, their game against Northwestern will take place at the Coliseum.
While the Trojans will be young as a program, the squad itself will also exhibit youth as a feature. USC's lineup does not include a single senior member and has just two junior players. Seven sophomores will mix it up with a truly young team. The Trojans don't lack for experience however as the preseason has already yielded pleasant results.
The Trojans will need to grow, and grow quickly as the regular-season schedule will test their mettle each and every week. The plan to start off with two perennial NCAA powers was no mistake as USC looks to use the experience to prepare it for the rest of the first-year journey.
As first-year members of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, the Trojans were selected to finish in seventh in a poll of the league's coaches. USC opens up with three non-conference opponents, but will kick off the MPSF schedule with a bout against Saint Mary's College on Feb. 24, at McAlister Field. After a pair of games on the East Coast, USC will head to Northern California for two against MPSF foes UC Davis and Stanford.
A tough stretch through which the Trojans host Temple and fellow first-year program Marquette before heading back east for two more against Bryant and Brown will test USC's legs through the belly of the schedule. From there, the Women of Troy finish the regular-season on the West Coast with home games against Denver, California, and Fresno State. USC's trip to Eugene, Ore., on April 4 will be the first-ever live broadcast game for the Trojans as the Pac-12 Networks will air the game against the Ducks. USC will close the regular season with a matchup at San Diego State on April 27. The top four teams in the final league standings will head to Eugene for the MPSF championships and a shot at the automatic berth into the NCAA tournament.
With so much excitement around the program, and the highly anticipated start to the season, Munday takes each day in stride and has very specific goals for her team.