USC Heads East for First of Four Straight Road Games
Feb. 27, 2013
LOS ANGELES - The USC women’s lacrosse team (2-2, 1-0 MPSF) will play its first-ever road games as the Women of Troy head to the East Coast for the first two of four straight contests away from home. The Trojans get an early-season gut check as they carry a two-game winning streak across the country to put it on the line against LIU Brooklyn (0-1) on Friday, Mar. 1, and Princeton (1-0) on Sunday, Mar. 3.
USC has reeled off two impressive victories in which it displayed a balanced scoring attack and a tenacious defense. The Trojans posted a big 24-4 win against Presbyterian College on Feb. 15 in which three different players scored four goals and two more scored three apiece. One week later, USC completed a 17-8 win against conference foe Saint Mary’s College on Feb. 24 behind a big outing from freshman attack Caroline de Lyra who was one of four players to score three goals that day. De Lyra also earned six assists to record a USC season-high nine points.
While the Trojans have begun to show signs of growth through their first four home games, USC will now have to prove that it can also hold its own on the road.
Luckily for many of the Women of Troy, this trip to the East Coast is a homecoming excursion. USC’s roster features 14 players from the Tri-State Area; seven from New York, six from New Jersey, and one from Connecticut. Some of the Trojans’ families live within 20 miles of the Long Island Brooklyn campus and others are just as close to the Princeton campus. Assistant coach Hilary Bowen is from Upstate New York and calls Rochester her hometown.
Just four games into the season, several Trojans have already staked claims at the top of the national rankings in several statistical categories. De Lyra ranks fourth in assists (11) and sixth in points (20) while freshman goalie Liz Shaeffer ranks third in saves (41). Freshman midfield Amanda Johansen is seventh in the country for draw controls with 6.5 per game.
Within the MPSF conference, four players from USC hold spots among the top 10 for goals per game while de Lyra ranks third in assists per game (2.75 apg). Freshman defense Courtney Tarleton is tied for fifth in the league for ground balls (3.00 gbpg) and Shaeffer tops all goalies with 10.25 saves per game.
As a team, the Trojans lead the league in shot percentage at a .534 clip and are second in saves per game (10.25 spg). USC also ranks 11th in the nation for points with 71, this season. The Trojans’ 13.75 goals per game is good for 24th in the NCAA for scoring offense.
This week, USC players brought home the program’s first-ever weekly awards. De Lyra was named WomensLax.com’s Rookie of the Week following her incredible performance against Saint Mary’s while Johansen received the MPSF’s Rookie of the Week honor.
ROCKIN’ ROOKIES: A pair of USC freshmen brought home Rookie of the Week honors, this week. Freshman attack Caroline de Lyra was named the WomensLax.com Rookie of the Week on the heels of an incredible nine-point performance against Saint Mary’s College as she led the Trojans to their first-ever MPSF win. De Lyra recorded three goals and posted an astonishing six assists to help USC to a 17-8 win. Freshman midfield Amanda Johansen was just as instrumental as de Lyra in USC’s win over the Gaels and was named the MPSF Rookie of the Week for her efforts. Johansen had three goals and an assist for four points and picked up a pair of ground balls. Most notably, Johansen was unconscionable in the center circle as she claimed nine draw controls. Both awards are the first-ever in USC program history.
FAMILIAR FACES: Two USC players will go head-to-head with former teammates when the Trojans hit the field against Princeton. Freshman attack Paige Bonomi attended Northport HS in Northport, N.Y., with Tiger sophomore defense Jess Nelson. Just down the coast, freshman attack Katie Austin and Princeton senior midfield Charlotte Davis each attended St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes in Alexandria, Va.
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 against a tall order as they faced a pair of perennially 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 attack 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 midfield 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 midfield 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 midfield 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 attack 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.