USC Lacrosse Set for Final Regular-Season Home Game
April 16, 2013
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LOS ANGELES - Like a gust of wind, USC's inaugural season of women's lacrosse is fast coming to a close. The Women of Troy have just two more regular-season games on the docket and play their final home match on Saturday (April 20) when the Trojans host Fresno State for a 3 p.m. PT game at McAlister Field.
The Trojans have struggled to maintain a regular rhythm in their first year as a unit, but are still in the hunt for a berth in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation's postseason tournament at which an automatic bid into the NCAA championship tournament is on the line. USC can anchor itself to fourth-place in the final standings with wins in its final two regular-season games, but it won't be easy as the Bulldogs have already won once, this season, at McAlister Field. If the Trojans can leash the Bulldogs, a season finale at San Diego State looms the following week.
USC has relied on a core group of contributors this season but has received balanced efforts from that group. Freshman attack Caroline de Lyra ranks third in the country for points and points per game. She also ranks in the top 20 for goals, assists, and per-game averages for both. De Lyra leads the quad with 82 points on 46 goals and 36 assists, this year.
In the center circle, freshman midfield Amanda Johansen has been solid for the Trojans with 80 draw controls to her name. She ranks ninth in the nation (5.33 dcpg) and leads the MPSF in draw controls. Johansen has also added 33 goals and 11 assists not to mention 20 ground balls for the Trojans and is second on the team with 44 points. Freshman attack Paige Bonomi has 33 goals while freshman attack Caroline Cordrey has 32 goals for USC.
On defense, freshman Courtney Tarleton leads all players with 36 ground balls and 28 caused turnovers. Tarleton's 1.87 caused turnovers per contest rank her 10th in the nation. Nine other Trojans have picked up at least 10 ground balls, this season. In the cage, freshman goalie Liz Shaeffer holds an 11.94 gaa and a .405 save percentage.
SCOUTING FRESNO STATE: The Bulldogs (2-11, 0-5 MPSF) have lost their last four contests, and have been defeated by an average margin of 10.8 goals per loss. One of Fresno State's only two victories, this year, was earned on McAlister Field on Feb. 17 when the Dogs claimed a 17-14 win over Presbyterian. FSU'S only other win was an 11-10 victory at Manhattan on March 29. The Bulldogs rank last or second-to-last in all but two of the MPSF's statistical categories: ground balls per game (15.23) and saves per game (9.85). Fresno State ranks second for ground balls and tops all teams in the league for saves per game. On the defensive side of the ball, sophomore midfield Holly Cisneros ranks fifth in the MPSF with 1.92 ground balls per game. Cisneros has scored six times, this season, and leads the team with 25 ground balls and 10 caused turnovers. She is also second on the squad with 23 draw controls. Fellow sophomore midfield Marcy Levatino leads the Dogs with 25 draw controls and has recorded 16 goals and 17 ground balls, this season. At the top of the scoring ladder, senior midfield Paula Badali and junior midfield Kara Concheck lead the team with 17 goals apiece. On the giving end, senior attack Natalie Harrington has eight assists to lead the Bulldogs. She also has 13 goals on the season. In the cage, senior goalie Katie Wilbur gives up an average of 17.06 goals per contest (.369), but her 7.46 saves per game rank fifth in the league. Prior to its win over Manhattan, Fresno State had lost seven straight games including back-to-back contests in which the Bulldogs lost by 18 goals on an East Coast swing.
WEEKEND RECAP: USC faced traditional Pac-12 rival California for the first time in school history and quickly found itself down, 3-0, in the first five minutes of the game. The Trojans fought back to go into the halftime break down, 6-4. Out of the break, a defensive struggle ensues, but USC scored two unanswered goals to tie the game at six-all with just under 15 minutes to go. The Bears used the scoreboard for motivation and were awoken as they ripped off a 4-0 run to lead, 10-7, at the 8:05 mark. USC scored once more, but it was too little, too late, as Cal sealed the Friday-afternoon win. Caroline de Lyra had two of USC's goals to go with three assists. Three players had two ground balls, each, and three players each grabbed two draw controls, but the Trojans were outdone by Cal goalie Megan McGinnis who had 12 saves on the day.
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.