Trojans Meet Wildcats at Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field
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April 24, 2014
LOS ANGELES - The Women of Troy (8-7) head to the Midwest for a historic game at Wrigley Field in Chicago this weekend. USC and No. 5 Northwestern (9-5) celebrate the venue’s 100th birthday as they meet in the first-ever lacrosse game to be played at the Friendly Confines. Opening draw is set for Saturday, April 26, at 7 p.m. CT. The Big Ten Network will carry the game live with Dan Kelly and Kara Lentz on the call, and Ashley Gersuk reporting from the sidelines.
USC and Northwestern made history a year ago when they met in the first-ever lacrosse game played at the LA Memorial Coliseum on Feb. 9, 2013. The game had special meaning as the Trojans’ broke the seal on their inaugural season. Head coach Lindsey Munday went up against her alma mater and mentor Kelly Amonte Hiller for the first time since leaving Evanston, Ill. This time, Munday and assistant coach Hilary Bowen will each face their former school, a place they each helped bring many NCAA championships, as the visitor.
The Women of Troy are coming off yet another history-making moment as they knocked off their first ranked opponent in program history with an 11-10 victory over then No. 13-ranked Stanford on Easter Sunday. On the other side of the field, the Wildcats hope to avoid making history as they enter the weekend on a two-game slide. Northwestern has lost back-to-back games for the first time since 2011 and last lost three in a row from April 11-19 of 2003: more than a decade ago.
Following the game in Chicago, the Trojans will head up the interstate for their final regular-season contest of 2014. USC will be in Milwaukee, Wis., to take on Marquette at Valley Fields on Sunday, April 27, at 1 p.m. CT. Like the Women of Troy, the Golden Eagles are also in their second year as a program. Marquette paid a visit to McAlister Field in 2013 where the Trojans claimed a 12-9 victory.
Sophomore goalie Liz Shaeffer claimed USC’s first-ever MPSF Defensive Player of the Week award for her performance against Stanford. She leads the league with 40 ground balls this season for 2.67 per game. Sophomore attacker Caroline de Lyra has been the Trojans’ distributor with 16 assists this season. She also has 23 goals to lead the team with 39 points.
A trio of freshmen powers the USC offense with Alex Moore atop the board with 29 goals. Annie Ruland has scored 25 goals with Michaela Michael next with 22 goals and 37 draw controls. Sophomore Amanda Johansen has 19 goals and leads the team with 49 draw controls. She also has 14 caused turnovers (2nd on the team) and 19 ground balls. Defensively, the Trojans lean on Courtney Tarleton who has 21 ground balls and 17 caused turnovers. Freshman Nina Kelty consistently marks the opponent’s top threat and has come up with 20 ground balls and 10 caused turnovers in her first year.
SCOUTING REPORT: NO. 5 NORTHWESTERN (9-5) is coming off back-to-back losses for the first time since 2011. The Wildcats dropped a 12-11 decision to No. 13 Johns Hopkins in overtime and a 13-12 game to No. 4 Florida. In fact, four of Northwestern’s five losses have been by a single goal and two of those were in overtime. The Cats have not lost three games in a row in over a decade. The last time a Northwestern team dropped three straight was from April 11-19, 2003, Kelly Amonte Hiller’s second season on campus. Kaleigh Craig and Kat DeRhonda lead the Wildcats with 27 goals each. Alyssa Leonard has 25 goals and is unconscionable in the center circle with 110 draw controls (7.86 dcpg), which ranks third in the country. Goalie Bridget Bianco gives up just 7.97 goals (14th in the nation) and has a save percentage of .497 which ranks 13th nationally.
SCOUTING REPORT: MARQUETTE (5-10) had won two straight to reach .500 at the end of March, but has gone winless in April with five straight losses. Two of those defeats were by a single goal including a 10-9 decision against Villanova last weekend. Four Eagles have scored 20 or more goals this season. Amanda Bochniak has 21 goals with 19 assists to lead the team with 40 points. Claire Costanza is just a shade behind with 20 goals and 19 assists for 39 points. Goalie Sarah Priem has a 12.01 goals-against average and a .351 save percentage but leads the team with 38 ground balls this season. The Eagles, like USC, are in their second season.
TRACK 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.
HAPPY 100th, WRIGLEY FIELD: The historic Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field celebrates its 100th year in 2014. Home to Major League Baseball’s Chicago Cubs, the venerable stadium has hosted many events from baseball to football and from hockey to now its first-ever lacrosse game. The Trojans and the Wildcats will make history when they take the field on Saturday, April 26. USC and Northwestern also had the distinction of being the first teams to ever play a lacrosse game at the historic LA Memorial Coliseum on Feb. 9, 2013.
LAST TIME OUT: The Trojans dropped a 10-8 decision to Oregon on Friday, April 18, as their losing streak extended to a season-long three games. The Ducks out-shot USC, 20-16, and took advantage of 21 Trojan turnovers to exact revenge for a home loss in Eugene last season. Despite getting a hat trick from Alex Moore and winning the draw control battle, 14-6, the Trojans fell for the third straight time. As USC celebrated its first-ever Senior Day with Ceilidh Meagher, the Trojans showed grit and upended No. 13 Stanford to record the program’s first win over a ranked opponent. USC’s 11-10 victory over the Cardinal was played in the LA Memorial Coliseum and broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks. This time both Moore and Annie Ruland posted hat tricks while Liz Shaeffer faced 27 shots and put up eight saves including a crucial stop in the final minute to preserve the Trojans’ victory.
IN CONTROL: Sophomore midfielder Amanda Johansen set a new MPSF single-game record with her 13 draw controls in a 19-1 win over Fresno State on April 20, 2013. She was just two shy of tying the NCAA mark of 15 held by Allie Emala of Virginia Tech (March 14, 2009). Johansen has reached double-digit draw controls in a single game twice in her career. She had 10 against Presbyterian (Feb. 15). She later set a new single-season mark with 100 at the close of 2013 and now has 149 draw controls in her career.
WELL GROUNDED: Sophomore defender Courtney Tarleton leads the Trojans with 17 caused turnovers this season and is second on the squad with 21 ground balls. She was a first-team All-MPSF selection as a freshman when she ranked second in the league for ground balls (40, 2.22 gbpg) and caused turnovers (32, 1.78 ctpg). Tarleton was also nationally ranked at 21st for caused turnovers in 2013.
ROCKIN’ ROOKIES: USC’s freshman class was rated the 10th-best class by Inside Lacrosse. From coast to coast, the incoming Women of Troy represent four different states. The Trojans welcome four freshmen, each, from New Jersey and California, three from New York, and a pair from Georgia. Among USC’s recruits is the nation’s 24th-rated prospect: midfielder Alex Moore (Millstone Township, N.J./Allentown HS). The Trojans also landed three players who were named to the Inside Lacrosse watch list including midfielder Michaela Michael (Hillsborough, Calif./Menlo School), midfielder Shannon Nugent (Medford, N.J./Shawnee HS), and attacker Annie Ruland (Milton, Ga./Milton HS). USC’s incoming class includes state champions, all-time record holders, team captains, all-league, all-conference, all-state selections, and most stunningly 24 US Lacrosse First Team All-America selections.
STARS AND STRIPES: Head coach Lindsey Munday and assistant coach Devon Wills were each members of the U.S. women’s national team that won a record seventh world title at the 2013 FIL World Cup in Oshawa, Ontario. Both players were members of the 2009 squad that also won the cup. Munday served as the team captain in 2013.
DOUBLE AGENT: Senior midfield Elizabeth Eddy is also a four-time letterwinner on USC’s women’s soccer team. The Trojans’ leading scorer in 2013, she was selected on Jan. 17 by Sky Blue FC in the 2014 National Women's Soccer League draft as the 33rd overall pick. Eddy had six goals in her senior season and finished her soccer career with 16 goals and nine assists. She started 69 games out of her 76 appearances and scored three game-winning goals. She stands at No. 10 all-time in career goals scored, and earned All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention, 2010 Pac-10 All-Freshman Team, and 2013 Pac-12 Player of the Week. 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, a head administrator for USC athletics in the 1930’s and 40’s.
ANCHORS AWEIGH: Sophomore midfielder Jacky Hennegan aspires to become an engineer in the U.S. Navy and is currently an active member of USC’s NROTC program.
UNDER INVESTIGATION: Sophomore 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: Senior 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: Sophomore 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.
TWIN KEYS: The USC roster has a pair of twins on it, but you would never be able to tell by looking. Glade and Shannon Nugent were born together on Dec. 21, 1994, in Philadelphia, Pa., to Charles and Connie Nugent. The two Women of Troy are fraternal twins. The pair of freshmen from Shawnee HS (Medford, N.J.) are pieces of USC’s top 10 recruiting class of 2013.
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.