Trojans Head East to Face Foes in Frigid Empire State|
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Feb. 17, 2015
LOS ANGELES - The USC women's lacrosse team (0-1) takes its first of two East-Coast road trips this week. The Women of Troy will face No. 16-ranked Stony Brook (0-0) on Friday (Feb. 20) at 6 p.m. ET (3 p.m. PT) in Stony Brook, N.Y., and then head upstate to play Marist (0-0) on Sunday (Feb. 22) at noon ET (9 a.m. PT) in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
The Trojans have received votes in each of the last two IWLCA and Inside Lacrosse national polls and rank just outside the top 20 (No. 22 IWLCA; No. 21 Inside Lacrosse). USC's ballot appearances on Feb. 9, 2015, marked the first time in program history that the Trojans have received votes in either of the national polls. The Women of Troy were narrowly edged by fifth-ranked Northwestern in their season opener (Feb. 7), 12-11, in overtime.
In two seasons, the Trojans are 8-8 in away games but are 1-4 when they play on the East Coast. USC's only right coast victory was a 23-8 win over LIU Brooklyn during its inaugural season (March 1, 2013). This is also the earliest in a season that the Trojans have ever played a road game. USC was home for four games to start 2013 and stayed in sunny Southern California for six straight games to open 2014.
The Women of Troy have started each of the last two seasons, 0-2, and are looking to break that trend with a win over the Seawolves. It won't be an easy task however as Stony Brook returns a strong veteran group that advanced to the second round of the 2014 NCAA tournament. The Wolves are the two-time defending champions of the America East conference and will have home-field advantage. USC's third game of the year will be about revenge. Last spring, the Trojans dropped their season opener to Marist, 12-10, after a tumultuous day of inclement weather and location changes.
The Trojans are longer in the tooth and are led by the return of four All-MPSF selections including three players that were IWLCA All-West Region. Junior attacker Caroline de Lyra scored four goals in USC's opener with Northwestern while junior midfielder Amanda Johansen had two goals and six draw controls. Junior defender Courtney Tarleton anchored the Trojan defense a ground ball, a draw control, and two caused turnovers. Sophomore defender Nina Kelty picked up a ground ball and a caused turnover. Senior defender Elizabeth Eddy added three ground balls and three caused turnovers in a Trojan defensive effort that held the Cats scoreless for the first 26:31 of the game.
The Women of Troy welcome the nation's No. 5-ranked recruiting class (Inside Lacrosse) including goalie Gussie Johns who started in the net and picked up six saves in USC's season opener.
SCOUTING NO. 16 STONY BROOK (0-0): is the two-time defending regular season and tournament champion of the America East. The Seawolves have also advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament in each of the last two seasons. Fourth-year head coach Joe Spallina is 48-12 at the helm and took Stony Brook to a 17-4 record in 2014. Stony Brook must replace All-American goaltender Frankie Caridi (5.17 gaa) but will benefit largely from the return of senior midfielder Michelle Rubino who did just about everything for the Seawolves in 2014. She had 37 goals, 22 assists, 43 ground balls, 30 caused turnovers, and 49 draw controls. Sophomore midfielder Dorrien Van Dyke scored 52 goals as a freshman and is the team's leading returning scorer.
SCOUTING MARIST (0-0): opens its season with the Women of Troy after being selected to finish second in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. The two teams met last season in a rain-drenched affair on USC's Cromwell Field, where the Red Foxes overcame the elements to complete a 12-10 victory. Marist was 14-4 last year and went 7-1 in league games before falling in the MAAC title game to Canisius. Head coach Jessica O'Brien is in her fourth year and was named conference coach of the year in 2014. The Foxes return four upperclassman whom were each chosen to the All-MAAC preseason team including junior Allison Gionta, junior Kara McHugh, senior Christine Astarita, and senior Tina Pumo.
TRACK THE TROJANS: Fans of USC women's lacrosse can follow the Trojans on Twitter and Instagram. For a behind-the-scenes look at the program, scores, and news updates, follow @USCTrojansLax. All of USC's 2015 home games at McAlister Field will be webcast on USCTrojans.com via the Pac-12 Networks web portal.
POLL POSITION: On Feb. 9, 2015, USC received its first-ever votes in both the IWLCA (Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association) poll and the Inside Lacrosse media poll. Just outside the top-20 rankings, the Trojans were No. 22 (IWLCA) and No. 21 (Inside Lacrosse) respectively.
EAST COAST BIAS: The Trojans have two trips to the East Coast this spring. The first of the two comes in the second week of competition when USC meets No. 16 Stony Brook and Marist in the Empire State. While USC is 8-8 in road games during its first two seasons, it is 1-4 when it travels to the East Coast. The only victory was a 23-8 win over LIU Brooklyn on March 1, 2013. USC is also 1-1 in the Midwest with an 11-5 win over Marquette last year (April 27, 2014).
TROJANS PICKED THIRD IN MPSF: A preseason poll of head coaches in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation had the Trojans in third place. USC trailed defending regular-season and tournament champion Denver, which received seven first-place votes to hold the top spot, and perennial conference power Stanford, which had the other three first-place ballots. It is the second year in a row that the coaches have tabbed USC third. The Trojans finished 2014 in a tie for third place. In the program's inaugural season, USC was selected to finish in seventh place, but exceeded expectations with a fourth-place finish.
TOUGH SLEDDING: USC's schedule is as tough as they come. The Trojans will face five teams that were in the NCAA tournament last season. The Women of Troy started the season with Northwestern, which was a national semifinalist a year ago. Boston College (Mar. 30) was an NCAA quarterfinalist in 2014. Stony Brook (Feb. 20) and Denver (April 12) each advanced to the second round, and Stanford (April 19) made a first-round appearance. In addition, Marist has NCAA tournament experience, as does Dartmouth, which was the 2006 national runner-up.
STATE YOUR CASE: The Trojans' roster is made up of players from 10 different states. New Jersey leads the way with 10. Nine squadwomen come from New York while eight are from California. USC has two players from the state of Georgia and one each from Colorado, Connecticut, Minnesota, Oregon, Virginia, and Washington. The Trojans also have one player from Washington, D.C.
IN CONTROL: Junior midfielder Amanda Johansen has amassed 161 draw controls in her career. She set a new MPSF single-game record with her 13 draw controls in a 19-1 win over Fresno State on April 20, 2013. Johansen has reached double-digit draw controls in a single game twice in her career. She had 10 against Presbyterian (Feb. 15, 2013). She is also the MPSF's single-season record holder with 100 draw controls in 2013.
WELL GROUNDED: Junior defender Courtney Tarleton led the Trojans with 23 caused turnovers in 2014 and was second on the squad with 33 ground balls. Tarleton set a new USC single-game record with eight ground balls against Northwestern on April 26 during a historic game at Wrigley Field in Chicago. She is the program's career leader with 74 ground balls and 57 caused turnovers.
ROCKIN' ROOKIES: USC's incoming freshman class is ranked No. 5 by Inside Lacrosse. With just four incoming players, the Trojans struck hard on the recruiting trail and have brought in the country's No. 6-rated prospect in goalie Gussie Johns (Washington, D.C.) and the No. 8-ranked recruit in midfielder Lydia Sutton (Minnetonka, Minn.). Johns is considered the top-rated goalie in the class while Sutton is a member of the Canadian National Team. Johns and Sutton are joined by freshman midfielder Kelly Brown (Vienna, Va.) and attacker Alexis Kardias (Westfield, N.J.). This is the second recruiting class ranked in the top 10 for the Women of Troy. USC's 2014 freshmen were rated 10th-best by Inside Lacrosse.
DOUBLE AGENT: Senior midfielder Elizabeth Eddy was also a four-time letterwinner on USC's women's soccer team. The Trojans' leading scorer in 2013, she was selected on Jan. 17 by Sky Blue FC in the 2014 National Women's Soccer League draft as the 33rd overall pick. Eddy had six goals in her senior season and finished her soccer career with 16 goals and nine assists. She started 69 games out of her 76 appearances and scored three game-winning goals. She stands at No. 10 all-time in career goals scored, and earned All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention, 2010 Pac-10 All-Freshman Team, and 2013 Pac-12 Player of the Week. Eddy's father Park Eddy played water polo for USC and was a member of the U.S. national team. She is also the great granddaughter of Arnold Eddy, a head administrator for USC athletics in the 1930's and 40's.
WHODDUNIT?: Junior defender Courtney Tarleton is the grand daughter of famed American suspense author Mary Higgins Clark.
ANCHORS AWEIGH: Junior midfielder Jacky Hennegan aspires to become an engineer in the U.S. Navy and is currently an active member of USC's NROTC program.
HOLLA FOR HORAN: Junior defender Carley Horan is a passionate advocate for health and a former member of the USC Peer Health Exchange program. She has served as a speaker to middle school girls about positive self-image through sport and has highlighted her message at USC Athletics' Girls PLAY events. Horan hopes to instill valuable insight about self-worth and promote healthy lifestyles to youth in low-income neighborhoods and has helped serve as a service associate at USC's Fueling Station. Her goal is to become a registered dietician and inspire people to be healthy in mind, body, and spirit, on a daily basis.
AMBASSADOR OF THE GAME: Junior attacker Caroline Cordrey helped organize a "fastest lacrosse shot" competition for her team in an effort to raise funds for local non-profit Fields of Growth. The organization runs a campaign that works to share the sport of lacrosse and sustain the Ugandan National Team. An ambassador of the sport both at home and abroad, Cordrey's efforts helped bring in more than $1,500 for the cause, the second-highest amount by any university. At the front of the pack was Cordrey, who herself had raised $500, not to mention clocking in with a 68 miles-per-hour shot.
SOMMI SMARTS: Senior captain Kaila Sommi was one of just 233 student-athletes from 79 different NCAA Division I schools to be chosen for the IWLCA's DI Academic Honor Roll. She was also an integral piece to USC's selection as one of 83 IWLCA Academic Honor Squads in 2014. Sommi is a two-time MPSF All-Academic honoree and was a High School Academic All-American as a senior at Montgomery HS in New Jersey.
UNDER INVESTIGATION: Junior goalie Liz Shaeffer has her eyes set on one day becoming an agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. She is currently majoring in sociology and is also an avid fan of television crime dramas.
LEGGY MY EGGY: Junior midfielder Alexandra Plastaras acquired a unique nickname when she was a baby. Born to a father with Greek roots, and a Korean mother, she was affectionately called Eggy by her mother. Eggy (sometimes spelled "eggi") means "baby" in Korean.
TWIN KEYS: The USC roster has a pair of twins on it, but you would never be able to tell by looking. Glade and Shannon Nugent were born together on Dec. 21, 1994, in Philadelphia, Pa., to Charles and Connie Nugent. The two Women of Troy are fraternal twins. The pair of freshmen from Shawnee HS (Medford, N.J.) were pieces of USC's top 10 recruiting class of 2013.
HIGH SCHOOL HIGH: Sophomore defender Alexa Wilson attended the same high school (Mountain Lakes HS) in Mountain Lakes, N.J., as head coach Lindsey Munday. Like Munday, Wilson also lettered in soccer and basketball. In all, Wilson owns 12 varsity athletic letters from Mountain Lakes... four from each of her sports. Junior Caroline de Lyra and sophomore Cynthia Del Core are each from Bay Shore HS in New York.