Women of Troy Return to Eugene for MPSF Tournament
April 29, 2013
Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament
LOS ANGELES - In the program's historic first season, the USC women's lacrosse team (8-9, 5-3 MPSF) will make its first-ever appearance in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation's championship tournament, this week. The Women of Troy won three of their last four regular-season contests to finish fourth in the final MPSF standings and seize the fourth seed in the tourney.
The Trojans turned a few heads down the stretch and finished three spots higher than a preseason poll of the league's coaches had tabbed them to. USC's only three conference losses were to each of the other teams in the postseason tournament. The Trojans fell by five goals, each, to top-seeded Denver (16-1, 8-0) and second-seeded Stanford (11-5, 6-2), and were edged by third-seeded California (9-6, 6-2) by just three goals, 10-7, on April 12.
USC went 3-6 in a month of March that had the Trojans on the road for six games. The month of April has been much more favorable for USC, which beat defending MPSF champion Oregon, 12-10, on the road on April 4. The Trojans also compiled a dominating 19-1 win over Fresno State (April 20) before they took down San Diego State in the season's regular-season finale in San Diego (April 27).
The Women of Troy will face the 11th-ranked Pioneers at 4:30 p.m. PT on Thursday, May 2, in their first-ever postseason game. The last time the two teams met, Denver claimed a 16-11 victory in Los Angeles on March 31. The last time USC played on Pape Field in Eugene, Ore., it knocked off the Ducks.
If the Trojans are to extend their season yet again, they will need a big game from one of the nation's top point scorers in freshman attack Caroline de Lyra. She has racked up 91 points (50 goals, 41 assists) and is the catalyst for the USC offense. Freshman midfield Amanda Johansen is just five draw controls from her 100th of the season. She has 39 goals and 15 assists to go with 24 ground balls (second on the team) and is the league's leader in draw controls.
Opposing defenses will also need to know where freshman attackers Caroline Cordrey and Paige Bonomi are at all times. Cordrey has 38 goals and Bonomi has 36, this season. Cordrey has had six games in which she has scored at least four goals including last game against the Aztecs. Freshman midfield Haleigh Dalmass is also a threat to put points on the board and is second on the team in caused turnovers.
On defense, USC has thrived in pressure situations under freshman captain Courtney Tarleton who leads the squad with 37 ground balls and 29 caused turnovers. Freshman Kelsey Dreyer had a career game against the Aztecs and has 23 ground balls and 12 caused turnovers for the Trojans. In the cage, freshman Liz Shaeffer holds a .407 save percentage and has produced 129 saves, this season.
SCOUTING DENVER: The 11th-ranked Pioneers (16-1, 8-0 MPSF) completed a clean sweep of conference games for the fourth time under head coach Liza Kelly (2007, '08, `10). Denver extended its school-record winning streak to 14 games and tied a school record for wins in a single season set by the 2007 squad. The Pioneers only loss, this season was a narrow 7-6 decision suffered on the road at Delaware on Feb. 24. When Denver wins, it has left no doubt, this year. The Pioneers average a plus-seven goal differential in their 16 victories including a 16-11 final over the Trojans on March 31 in Los Angeles. Denver is 7-13 in 20 MPSF tournament games and has never won the league postseason tourney. Sophomore midfield Kiki Boone needs just one more draw control to record the most in a single season by a Pioneer. She currently has 64 to lead all Pioneer players. Sophomore attack Jill Remenapp leads the team with 98 points (33 goals, 65 assists) and can become only the second Denver player to record 100 points in a single season. Her 65 helpers is the fifth most in NCAA history. Senior defense Kate Henrich leads the team with a team-record 60 caused turnovers, this season, which is 10th most in NCAA history. Her 160 career caused turnovers are the seventh most in the NCAA's record books. Henrich also leads the team with 55 ground balls and is second on the squad with 47 draw controls. Senior attack Kara Secora leads the Pioneers with 51 goals and has recorded 75 points with 24 assists, this season. Junior attack Jenn Etzel has 45 goals for Denver. In the cage, sophomore goalie Hannah Hook has given up just 139 goals, this season (8.56 gaa) and holds a .522 save percentage.
WEEKEND RECAP: The Trojans came together to complete a hard-fought 12-11 win on the road against San Diego State to secure the final spot in the MPSF tournament. Freshman attack Caroline Cordrey and freshman midfield Amanda Johansen each had four goals and an assist to help the Trojans to their biggest victory of the season. Freshman defense Kelsey Dreyer had four draw controls, four caused turnovers, and three ground balls in a career performance. The score was tied three times before the Aztecs reeled off three straight goals to claim their first lead and a 7-5 advantage with just over five minutes to go in the first half. Cordrey came to life and scored three goals in the final five to bring the lead back to USC's side of the scoreboard, 8-7, at the half. Freshman midfield Haleigh Dalmass completed a 4-0 USC run with her goal to open the second half, and the Trojans never trailed again. The teams went back and forth, but USC kept the ball away from the high-powered Aztec offense for long enough to hold on and take the win.
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.
IN CONTROL: Freshman midfield Amanda Johansen set a new MPSF record with her 13 draw controls in a 19-1 win over Fresno State on April 20. She was just two shy of tying the NCAA mark of 15 held by Allie Emala of Virginia Tech (March 14, 2009). It was the second time that Johansen has secured double-digit draw controls in a single game. She had 10 against Presbyterian on Feb. 15, and also grabbed nine against Saint Mary's College on Feb. 24.
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. She led USC 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, a head administrator for USC athletics 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.
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.