Trojans Host Gaels to Open MPSF Conference Play
Feb. 22, 2013
LOS ANGELES - The USC women’s lacrosse team (1-2) will host Saint Mary’s College (0-0) in its first-ever Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) league game on Sunday afternoon (Feb. 24, 1 p.m. PT) at McAlister Field. The Women of Troy are looking to draw even on their season record after claiming an impressive 24-4 victory over Presbyterian College.
The Trojans were selected to finish seventh in the conference in their first year as a program. The Gaels tied for seventh/eighth, a year ago, with a 1-7 mark in league games and completed 2012 with a 3-12 overall record. This year, Saint Mary’s was picked to finish last in a preseason poll of the MPSF coaches.
USC’s game against SMC isn’t just a first; it’s also a last. It’s the last of four straight home games that the Trojans have enjoyed to open their inaugural season. USC will hit the road for its first-ever road games. In fact, the Trojans will play four consecutive away games before they return to McAlister Field. A cross-country trip is in order for USC as it heads to the East Coast to face LIU Brooklyn (Mar. 1) and Princeton (Mar. 3). The Trojans get back to the West Coast but will take on UC Davis (Mar. 6) and Stanford (Mar. 8) in a pair of MPSF road games.
In just three games, the Trojans have proven that they will make some noise in the conference, this season. After opening the year against top-ranked two-time defending NCAA champion Northwestern, USC tested itself against No. 14 Massachusetts. Though both games were losses, the Trojans had figured something out by the time they faced Presbyterian. USC outscored the Blue Hose, 15-2, in the first half and never looked back.
Freshman midfield Caroline de Lyra leads the Trojans with 11 points, this season. She has scored six goals on just 13 shots and holds team-high honors with five assists. Freshman attack Caroline Cordrey also has six goals on 13 shots and had the go-ahead goal against Presbyterian, last weekend. In the center circle, freshman midfield Amanda Johansen has claimed 17 draw controls and has also scored six goals on just 10 shots.
On defense, freshman defender Courtney Tarleton has eight ground balls, this season, to lead the Trojans. Tarleton also leads the team with three caused turnovers. In goal, freshman Liz Shaeffer has been solid with a .458 save percentage. Shaeffer turned away 18 shots in her first game against Northwestern and earned 12 more saves against UMass.
Many Trojan reserves got in the game against Presbyterian including sophomore attack Olivia Gerton who exploded for four goals against the Blue Hose. Freshman attack Maggie Mawhinney also went to goal often and collected three goals in her first collegiate action. Freshman midfield Eggy Plastaras picked up three ground balls, caused two turnovers, and scored a goal on a free-position shot.
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 opened the program’s first season with a tall order as they faced a pair of ranked teams including top-ranked two-time defending NCAA champion Northwestern. NU went 21-2 in 2012 as it captured its seventh national crown in eight years. USC had just one night’s rest before it hosted a 14th-ranked Massachusetts squad that was 19-2 overall in 2012. The Trojans fell, 18-5, against the Wildcats, and fought hard but were turned away, 18-9, by the Minutewomen.
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.
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. 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 who was a head administrator in the USC athletic department in the 1930’s and 40’s.
UNDER INVESTIGATION: Freshman 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.
TONGUE TWISTER PARTY: Junior midfielder Ceilidh Meagher’s name might strike fear (or confusion) into most people’s hearts when it comes to pronouncing it. It’s really not as difficult as it looks, though. Ceilidh is Gaelic for “party” and is pronounced “kay-lee”. Her last name is one syllable, pronounced “marr”.
LEGGY MY EGGY: Freshman 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.
SISTER SLEDGE: Freshman attacker Caroline de Lyra got the rare opportunity to face her older sister Alexa in her first-ever collegiate lacrosse game. The elder de Lyra is a senior midfielder for Northwestern. Both sisters wear No. 25 on their backs and each guarded the other during the contest on Feb. 9. Caroline got on the board with an assist and a goal against the Wildcats.
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.