USC Returns to Mile High City for MPSF Tournament
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April 30, 2014
2014 MPSF Women’s Lacrosse Tournament
 Colorado (10-7) vs.  SDSU (7-9) - 4 p.m. MT
Semifinals | Friday, May 2
Championship Game | Sunday, May 4 - 11 a.m. MT
LOS ANGELES - The USC women’s lacrosse team (9-8, 6-3 MPSF) returns to Denver to take part in the 2014 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament this weekend (May 1-4). The Women of Troy finished in a three-way tie for third place in the league standings but received the fifth seed by virtue of losses to Oregon (10-7, 6-3) and Colorado (10-7, 6-3).
The Trojans will open with a rematch against fourth-seeded Oregon in the second quarterfinal set for 7 p.m. MT on May 1. Third seed Colorado and sixth-seeded San Diego State (7-9, 4-5) will meet in the first quarterfinal at 4 p.m. MT. Top-seeded Denver (16-1, 9-0) awaits the winner of the USC-Oregon game while second-seeded Stanford (13-3, 7-2) will meet the winner between Colorado and SDSU. The championship game is set for 11 a.m. MT on Sunday, May 4. The tournament champion will receive the league’s coveted automatic berth into the 2014 NCAA Championships. The NCAA selection show is set to take place at 9 p.m. ET (May 4).
Last year, when the tournament field was limited to the league’s top four teams, the Trojans defied expectations and claimed the final spot with a win in their last regular-season game at San Diego State. USC drew regular-season champion Denver for its semifinal matchup in Eugene, Ore., but fell, 17-11, to end its historic inaugural season. With the field expanded to six teams in 2014, two teams will make their first appearances in the tournament including first-year program Colorado and San Diego State.
After suffering a tough loss to the Ducks on April 18, the Trojans have revenge on their minds as the teams get set to meet again. Despite leading, 5-4, at the half, the Trojans couldn’t hold off an Oregon charge that produced six goals in the second half to send USC to its third straight conference loss. The Women of Troy uncharacteristically turned the ball over 21 times and were unable to shoot more than six times in the second half to even stay the pace with the Ducks.
The Trojans return to Denver with five All-MPSF awards. Amanda Johansen and Caroline de Lyra were each chosen to the first team while Courtney Tarleton and freshmen Alex Moore and Nina Kelty were each named to the second team. Johansen has proven to be one of the top all-around players in the game. She has 20 goals and leads the team with 52 draw controls. De Lyra is USC’s field general and tops all players with 48 points on 28 goals and 20 assists.
Tarleton has caused 19 turnovers and is second on the team with 31 ground balls. Moore is the team’s leader with 33 goals and has contributed 11 assists, 11 ground balls, and 14 draw controls. Kelty consistently guards the opponent’s top offensive threat and has produced 20 ground balls and 10 caused turnovers in her first year.
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.
DENVER TOURNAMENT CENTRAL: Fans and media can visit DenverPioneers.com and go to the women’s lacrosse page for links to live stats, live video, and post-game recaps and box scores for each game at the MPSF tournament.
LAST TIME OUT: The Trojans split games on a Midwest trip to wrap up the regular season. USC faced No. 5 Northwestern in a history-making game at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field in Chicago. Under the lights and on a live broadcast on the Big Ten Networks, the Trojans cut away at an eight-goal deficit, but dropped a 12-7 decision to the Wildcats. Sophomore Courtney Tarleton set a new USC single-game record with eight ground balls. Up the interstate, the Trojans faced Marquette in a Sunday matinee meeting. The Women of Troy rolled out to a 5-0 lead, but the Eagles caught up to trail by a single goal, 6-5, before the Trojans turned on the jets and came away with an 11-5 victory on the road. Sophomore Caroline de Lyra set the tone with three goals and three assists to lead the team with six points in the win.
SCOUTING REPORT: OREGON (10-7, 6-3 MPSF) finished in a three-way tie for third place in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation with USC and Colorado. By virtue of a loss to the Buffalo and a win over the Trojans, the Ducks enter the conference tournament as the fourth seed. Oregon had won six of seven games including its 10-8 victory over USC on April 18, before it fell, 11-5, to Denver, and 10-9, in a sudden-death overtime loss to Colorado. Senior attacker Shannon Propst has 41 assists and 68 points on the year to lead the Ducks. She is also one of six Oregon players with more than 20 ground balls. In the net, Caroline Federighi owns the second-best goals-against average in the conference at 8.00 gaa. Federighi leads the Ducks with 33 ground balls and has caused 12 turnovers. Nikki Puszcz has scored 37 goals to go with 31 ground balls and 32 draw controls. Puszcz leads Oregon with 27 caused turnovers. Carly O’Connell has 27 goals and 37 assists for 64 points and leads the team with 71 draw controls. O’Connell has also logged 26 ground balls and 19 caused turnovers. Both Courtney Valdez (23) and Casey Brogan (20) have scored at least 20 goals this season. Brogan is third on the team with 30 draw controls. The Ducks commit the fewest fouls in the league, just one step ahead of the Trojans. This will be the first time the two teams meet on a neutral field. The road team has won in each of the previous two meetings.
ALL IN A WEEK’S WORK: Three Women of Troy have received MPSF weekly honors this season. Freshman attacker Michaela Michael was chosen as Rookie of the Week on March 17 following USC’s wins over UC Davis and Columbia. Sophomore goalie Liz Shaeffer took home the program’s first-ever Defensive Player of the Week award on April 21 after her eight saves buoyed the Trojans to an upset win over No. 13 Stanford. Sophomore defender Courtney Tarleton was given the Defensive Player of the Week award on April 28 after she set a new USC single-game mark of eight ground balls in a game against Northwestern. In all, the program has received six weekly awards from the MPSF. Amanda Johansen was named Rookie of the Week three times in 2013.
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 152 draw controls in her career.
WELL GROUNDED: Sophomore defender Courtney Tarleton leads the Trojans with 19 caused turnovers this season and is second on the squad with 31 ground balls. Tarleton set a new USC single-game record with eight ground balls against Northwestern on April 26 during a historic game at Wrigley Field in Chicago.
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.
WHODDUNIT?: Sophomore defender Courtney Tarleton is the grand daughter of famed American suspense author Mary Higgins Clark.
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.