Women of Troy Host Golden Bears on Friday Afternoon
April 10, 2013
LOS ANGELES - Fresh off a two-goal win over defending MPSF champion Oregon, the USC women's lacrosse team (6-8, 3-2 MPSF) looks to finish strong with just three regular-season games left on the schedule. The Women of Troy will host California (7-4, 4-0) in a Friday-afternoon bout on McAlister Field and can stay in the hunt for a berth in the MPSF tournament with a win over the Golden Bears.
Cal has won its last two games, including a 14-10 win over the same Duck team that the Trojans defeated. Though the Bears are undefeated in MPSF contests, their wins have come against the bottom four teams in the league standings. USC is 3-4 in home games, this season, but has won just one out of the last three games at McAlister Field. On the other side of the equation, Cal is 3-3 in road games, but has won three its last four away from home.
Though this will be the first-ever meeting on a lacrosse field for the two schools, USC and Cal are familiar faces to each other. The Bears are widely regarded as the Trojans' oldest rival in football and the schools have endured many heated contests in other sports.
The Trojans have four players on the roster who have scored at least 30 goals, this season, led by freshman attack Caroline de Lyra's 44 goals. De Lyra also leads the team in assists with 33 and points (77). Freshman midfield Amanda Johansen is next in line with 33 goals, 10 assists, and 43 points. Johansen is far and away the team's leader in draw controls with 78 on the year. She leads the MPSF with 5.57 draw controls per game and ranks seventh in the country.
USC's firepower will also come from freshman attack Caroline Cordrey who has scored back-to-back four-goal games to reach the 30-goal mark, this week. Freshman midfield Paige Bonomi has 31 goals while freshman midfield Haleigh Dalmass ranks fifth with 10 goals on the year.
On defense, freshman Courtney Tarleton leads all players with 26 caused turnovers and leads a group of nine Trojans who have at least 10 ground balls, this season. She has 34. Freshman goalie Liz Shaeffer and freshman defense Kelsey Dreyer have 19 ground balls, each.
SCOUTING CALIFORNIA: California (7-4, 4-0 MPSF) is undefeated in conference games and has won two games in a row coming into its match-up with the Trojans. Like USC, the Golden Bears are coming off a road win at defending MPSF champion Oregon. Before that game, Cal scored a resounding 19-2 win over Stetson at home in which 12 different players scored for the Bears. Senior attack Megan Takacs ranks fourth in the conference and 22nd in the country for goals (3.00 gpg) and is second in the league and 17th in the country for draw controls (4.45 dcpg). Takacs was named MPSF Offensive Player of the Week for the week of March 25. In the cage, junior goalkeeper Megan McGinnis is second in the MPSF for save percentage (.295) and ranks fifth in the nation. McGinnis is also second in the league with 9.14 saves per game and ranks 24th in the country with 92 saves on the year. Sophomore midfield Gaby Christman causes 1.73 turnovers per game (second in the MPSF) to rank is 24th in the country. The Bears lead the league in ground balls (15.73 gbpg) and have nine players with at least 10 ground balls, this season. Junior defense Grace Parrente leads the team with 22 on the year and is fifth in the MPSF with 2.00 ground balls per game. The Bears take the most shots of any team in the conference with 30.27 per contest, but rank second on the other end of the field with a .479 save percentage. Cal relies on a balanced attack on offense with seven players in double-digit goals, this season. Senior attack Melissa Humphrey and freshman attack Lizz Lavie each have 18 assists to lead the team. Though the Bears have a spotless conference record, each of the four teams it has beaten resides in the bottom half of the league standings and are a combined 1-14 record this season.
WEEKEND RECAP: USC played in a historic first-ever lacrosse game to be broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks and claimed a 12-10 victory over defending MPSF champion Oregon, last Thursday evening. Jason Knapp and Sheehan Stanwick Burch called the game under the rain at Pape Field in Eugene, Ore. The Trojans held a slim 7-6 lead at halftime thanks to a 3-0 run spurred by two unassisted goals by Caroline de Lyra, but the Ducks fought back to get a 8-7 lead in the second half. Another 3-0 run that included two goals by Caroline Cordrey put the Trojans on top, 10-8, but Oregon tied the score at 10-all. Haleigh Dalmass' goal with 10:40 to go secured the win for USC, which played keep-away the rest of the way.
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.