USC Heads to Oregon for Historic Pac-12 Network Game
April 2, 2013
LOS ANGELES - The USC women's lacrosse team (5-8, 2-2 MPSF) looks to snap a three-game skid when it flies north for a Thursday-evening clash with defending conference champion Oregon (5-5, 0-1). The historic meeting will be the first-ever live broadcast of a lacrosse game on the new Pac-12 Networks with Jason Knapp and Sheehan Stanwick Burch on the call.
The Women of Troy have hit a rough patch in their schedule. Since winning three games from Feb. 15 through March 1, the Trojans have lost six of their last eight contests including five of the last six, and the last three straight; at Bryant, at Brown, and at home to a surging Denver team on Easter Sunday.
USC is 2-2 in league games, and 1-1 in MPSF matchups on the road. At home, the Trojans beat Saint Mary's College (Feb. 24) and lost to Denver (Mar. 31). On the road, USC earned a win at UC Davis (Mar. 6), but dropped a contest at then 18th-ranked Stanford (Mar. 8).
The Trojans have dropped their last two league games, but can still make a push to qualify for the MPSF Tournament with some strong play down the stretch. The conference takes the top four teams in the final standings and the tourney's winner is awarded an automatic bid into the NCAA championships. USC will have to face Oregon and San Diego State on the road with Fresno State and California slated for visits to McAlister Field.
Freshman attack Caroline de Lyra is third in the nation with 71 points and is the conference leader with 3.15 goals per contest. She is also third in the MPSF for assists at 2.31 helpers per game. Her 5.46 points per game are a league best. On the defensive end, freshman defense Courtney Tarleton is the MPSF's third-best ground ball grabber at a 2.62 per game clip. Tarleton also causes 1.85 turnovers per game for second in the conference. In the center circle, freshman midfield Amanda Johansen has been a steady force for the Trojans as she leads the league with 5.69 draw controls per game (seventh in the nation).
SCOUTING OREGON: Oregon (5-5, 0-1 MPSF) and USC will make history when the teams meet 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 with Jason Knapp and Sheehan Stanwick Burch on the call. The Ducks started the year with their first six games at home. Oregon's home opener ended in a narrow 8-7 overtime loss to 12th-ranked Dartmouth, but the Ducks reeled off four straight wins to move to 4-1 on the season. Oregon's win streak was snapped in a 13-5 loss to second-ranked Florida on March 16, but the Ducks tumbled down the standings as they lost four straight before that streak was snapped on a 10-9 win over Old Dominion on March 30. Senior attack Kate Cathell scored three goals in the win over ODU; her fourth game with at least three goals, this season. The Ducks do a great job of protecting the ball and rank second in the MPSF in turnovers at just 12.80 per game. One of Oregon's best handlers is junior midfield Shannon Propst who ranks fourth in the conference in assists (1.90 apg) and 10th in points (3.30 ppg). In the cage, senior goalie Salliebeth Finnegan ranks fourth in the MPSF for goals against average (9.91 gaa) and has a .397 save percentage in sixth place. Finnegan's 20 ground balls lead the Ducks, this season, while freshman midfield Carly O'Connell ranks second with 18. O'Connell is also second on the team in caused turnovers (10) while junior midfield Nikki Puszcz leads in that category with 11. In Oregon's first road trip of the season, O'Connell broke out to score four goals and tally seven assists. Ninth-year head coach Jen Larsen Beck is 87-69 (.558) in her career; all spent with the Ducks. Beck's squad went 14-5 overall and claimed the 2012 regular-season MPSF title with a 7-0 mark in league games. The Ducks went on to claim the league's tournament title and automatic bid to the NCAA championships.
WEEKEND RECAP: USC returned home from a two game trip and ran into one of the hottest teams in the country for a pivotal MPSF game on Easter Sunday. The Women of Troy were caught off guard and fell behind, 10-3, in the first half as Denver imposed its will on the Trojans. The Pioneers went up, 11-3, before USC came to life and reeled off a 4-0 scoring run to cut the lead to four goals. The Trojans never got any closer than four goals as Denver maintained its distance down the stretch. USC got four goals from freshman attack Caroline Cordrey who came off the bench. Freshman midfield Amanda Johansen also had a hat trick with three goals and two of USC's three assists to share game-high honors with five points to go with eight draw controls. Freshman defense Courtney Tarleton picked up four ground balls and caused three turnovers while freshman goalie Liz Shaeffer logged eight saves in the cage.
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.
WORKIN' OVERTIME: The Trojans played the program's first-ever overtime game on March 22 at Brown; a 9-8 loss to the Bears. Freshman midfield Amanda Johansen scored the game-tying goal with just 45 seconds left in regulation time.
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.
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.