Trojans Resume MPSF Schedule as Hosts to Pioneers|
March 29, 2013
LOS ANGELES - The USC women's lacrosse team (5-7, 2-1 MPSF) looks to snap a two-game skid as the Women of Troy turn their attention to Mountain Pacific Sports Federation opponents. The Trojans return home from a tough East Coast trip that yielded a pair of losses and will have a tall order in front of them as a hot Denver team comes to McAlister Field for an Easter Sunday afternoon contest.
USC will be playing its ninth and final game in the month of March when it takes the field against the Pioneers (9-1, 1-0) on March 31. The Trojans' schedule spreads out through the month of April, but each game is even more important as the team makes a push to get into the MPSF's postseason conference tournament.
Though the Trojans have won just one of their last four games, the road has not been easy. USC drew a strong Stanford team on the road, and got caught off guard by a surging Temple squad at home. Facing inclement weather conditions on their most recent East Coast swing, the Trojans were held to eight goals in a game of runs against Bryant before they were barely edged in a 9-8 overtime thriller at Brown; the program's first-ever overtime contest.
If USC is to return to its winning ways, it will need big a contribution from the nation's second-leading point scorer, freshman attack Caroline de Lyra. De Lyra has racked up 70 points (5.83 ppg), this year, with a team-high 40 goals and 30 assists. Freshman midfield Amanda Johansen has been one of the Trojans' most consistent players. She leads the MPSF in draw controls (seventh in the nation) with 5.50 dcpg. Johansen is also second on the team in goals (29) and points (37).
In the cage, the Trojans have relied on freshman goalie Liz Shaeffer who ranks third in the MPSF with 8.58 spg. Shaeffer has recorded 103 saves, this season (11.92 gaa). In front of her, Shaeffer looks to freshman defense Courtney Tarleton who leads the team with 30 ground balls and 21 caused turnovers.
SCOUTING DENVER: The Pioneers (9-1, 1-0 MPSF) have won their last seven games since a narrow 7-6 loss at Delaware on Feb. 24. Denver is outscoring its opponents by a 14.7 to 8.1 margin in 10 games, this year, and received enough votes to sit just outside the IWLCA's most recent top 20 poll at No. 21. Sophomore goalie Hannah Hook was named last week's MPSF Defensive Player of the Week after she posted 20 saves over two games to help extend the Pioneer streak. Hook is the conference leader in goals against average (8.04 gaa) and save percentage (.534). She is also second for saves per game at 8.70 spg. Denver's lineup also boasts the league's top scorer and assist woman. Senior attack Kara Secora averages 3.40 goals per contest while sophomore attack Jill Remenapp nets 3.70 assists per outing. Remenapp actually leads the nation in assists. The Pioneers are the country's top team at causing turnovers with 12.9 caused turnovers per game. Senior defense Kate Henrich leads the nation with 3.6 caused turnovers per game and is tops in the MPSF for ground balls at 3.40 gbpg. Sophomore midfield Kiki Boone has 39 draw controls to lead Denver and ranks third in the conference. The Pioneers are in Southern California for a pair of MPSF contests and will face San Diego State in a noon game on Friday (March 29) before their Sunday game against the Trojans.
UP NEXT: The Ducks (4-5, 0-1 MPSF) rallied from a four-goal second-half deficit to take a one-goal lead with 3:15 left in regulation but ultimately fell in overtime, 16-14, to Connecticut, on March 26. USC and Oregon will play a historic 4:30 p.m. PT match on Thursday (April 4) at Pape Field in Eugene, Ore. It will be the first-ever live lacrosse game broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks.
WEEKEND RECAP: USC dropped a pair of road games on the East Coast, last week. A Tuesday evening game at Bryant left the Trojans bloodied as the Bulldogs created a 10-3 halftime lead thanks to two separate 5-0 runs. USC's three straight goals in between those two runs and 4-0 run in the second half weren't enough as Bryant answered with a 4-0 run to end the game and seal a 15-8 win in the frigid Rhode Island weather. Caroline de Lyra had four goals and a pair of dimes, while Paige Bonomi added two goals, but the Trojans were out-shot, and fell by a 16-8 margin in the ground ball game. A balanced attack by the Bulldogs saw six different players score at least two goals, each. Three days later, USC faced a strong Brown team in Providence, and rushed out to a 3-0 lead and a 6-3 halftime advantage. The Bears outscored the Trojans, 5-1, in the second half to take an 8-7 lead, but Amanda Johansen put a goal in the back of the Brown cage with just 45 seconds left to send USC to its first-ever overtime game. It took nearly the entire six minutes before a goal was scored, but the game ended in Brown's favor, 9-8.
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.
ROCKIN' ROOKIES: A pair of USC freshmen brought home Rookie of the Week honors, for the week of Feb. 25. 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 unstoppable in the center circle as she claimed nine draw controls. Both awards were the first-ever in USC program history. Johansen received MPSF Rookie of the Week honors for a second time for the week of March 4-10 after she nabbed six points with a game-high five goals and an assist in a 12-7 win over UC Davis.
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.
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 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.
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.