Trojans Set to Meet Eagles in NCAA Quarterfinal|
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May 15, 2017
LOS ANGELES -- The USC lacrosse team (18-3) makes its second consecutive trip to the NCAA championship quarterfinals and will face Boston College (15-6) on Saturday, May 20, at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) at the Newton Lacrosse Field in Newton, Mass. Both teams are unseeded, though USC is ranked No. 7 and BC No. 14 in the latest IWLCA poll. The Trojans knocked off third-seeded Florida to advance while the Eagles took down sixth-seeded Syracuse to get to the quarterfinals. On the other side of the bracket, second-seeded defending national champion North Carolina (17-2) will host unseeded upstart Navy (17-4).
USC enters its quarterfinal on a 12-game winning streak, which ranks as the second longest in program history (20 in 2016), and seeks to advance beyond last year's quarterfinal appearance. The Trojans are 4-2 in NCAA tournament games and hold the distinction of being the first team from the West Coast ever to advance to the national quarterfinals. The Trojans have won 38 of the last 42 contests and are led by fifth-year head coach Lindsey Munday (69-29 at USC). The Women of Troy will make the return trip to the East Coast where the program is 9-11 in all-time games. It will be USC's fifth trip to the Atlantic Coast this season.
ONE TO WATCH: Senior attacker Michaela Michael is among the 25 nominees for the prestigious Tewaaraton Award. She was also a nominee in 2016. At the beginning of the spring, Michael, junior goalie Gussie Johns, and junior defender Lydia Sutton were each named to the official Tewaaraton Award Watch List. Johns and Sutton are first-timers on the list, and join former All-American Amanda Johansen who was also on the 2016 Watch List. Courtney Tarleton was not on the Watch List, but was one of the 25 nominees alongside Michael in 2016.
TROJAN HORSES: Two-time All-American and two-time MPSF Player of the Year Michaela Michael (77g, 20a, 143dc) guides USC's attack with fellow seniors Cynthia Del Core (38g, 29a), Kylie Drexel (39g, 24a), and Gabby McMahon (36g, 7a). Junior goalie Gussie Johns has a 7.90 goals-against average and leads the country in ground balls (4.57 gbpg). MPSF Rookie of the Year Kerrigan Miller (34g, 17a, 40dc, 43gb, 30ct) is a threat at any position and on defense, senior Nina Kelty (28gb, 15ct) and junior Lydia Sutton (34gb, 26ct) anchor the Trojans.
A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN: The Trojans won back-to-back MPSF regular-season and tournament crowns to earn a third consecutive trip into the NCAA championship tournament. Previously, the Trojans advanced to their first MPSF final in 2015 and were semifinalists (2013) and quarterfinalists (2014) in the two previous seasons. USC tied a league record with 18 straight MPSF regular-season wins dating back to the end of the 2015 season. The Trojans were undefeated in MPSF games in 2016 (9-0) and 2017 (8-0).
IT WOULD BE AN HONOR: Senior attacker Michaela Michael was named the 2017 MPSF Player of the Year and became just the fourth player to earn multiple POY awards (2015). It also marked the third consecutive season in which the league's Player of the Year has been a Trojan (Courtney Tarleton, 2016). Freshman midfielder Kerrigan Miller was chosen for Rookie of the Year honors and is the second USC player to receive that distinction (Amanda Johansen, 2013). Miller is also the first freshman to make the MPSF All-Conference first team since 2014. In all, seven Trojans received All-MPSF honors. Junior goalie Gussie Johns, junior defender Lydia Sutton, and senior attacker Gabby McMahon were each on the first team while senior defender Nina Kelty and senior attacker Kylie Drexel were chosen for second-team honors. The Women of Troy have had 29 All-MPSF selections in five seasons (18 first team, 11 second team).
LAST TIME OUT: The Trojans advanced to the program's second consecutive NCAA quarterfinal game by defeating third-seed and No. 2-ranked Florida in Gainesville, Fla. USC took down the Gators, 15-12, with a 5-1 run over the course of the final nine minutes of the game. The Trojans earned a 13-10 win over Jacksonville in the first round. Four players scored hat tricks in the win over the Dolphins including a four-goal performance from Michaela Michael who added three assists. Kylie Drexel had three goals and three assists. Against the Gators, Cynthia Del Core scored four goals and had an assist to lead the offense. Drew Jackson scored the equalizer and the go-ahead goal down the stretch to seal USC's come-from-behind victory.
SCOUTING REPORT - BOSTON COLLEGE: The Eagles (15-6) upset sixth-seeded Syracuse, 21-10, to earn their bid into the NCAA quarterfinals. The high-powered BC offense also put up 21 goals in a 21-9 victory against Canisius in the first round. The Trojans and the Eagles will meet for the third time. Boston College won, 13-10, at McAlister Field in 2014; and took a 16-12 win in Newton, Mass., in 2015. The Eagles' six losses have come at the hands of strong opposition. Among those, BC lost twice to defending NCAA champion North Carolina, once to No. 1-ranked Maryland on the road, and once to No. 5 Syracuse on the road. Sam Apuzzo leads the Eagles with 107 points this spring (72g, 35a). Kate Weeks isn't far behind with 89 points (69g, 20a). Kaileen Hart (44g, 20a) and Kayla O'Connor (41g, 23a) each have 64 points. Apuzzo is also the team's leader in draw controls with 57. On defense, Elizabeth Miller has 27 caused turnovers to lead the Eagles. She also has 39 ground balls and 38 draw controls. Dempsey Arsenault has 40 ground balls, 44 draw controls, and 22 caused turnovers. In goal, Zoe Ochoa is 10-4 this season with a .389 save percentage and a 13.34 goals-against average. Lauren Daly is 5-2 with a .472 save percentage and a 10.50 goals-against average.
EAST COAST BIAS: USC has played 20 games on the East Coast and holds a 9-11 overall record in those games. The Trojans own wins over Stetson, Dartmouth (2), LIU Brooklyn, Marist, and Florida in true road games. USC defeated James Madison at a neutral location in the 2015 NCAA first round in Durham, N.C.; beat Ohio State in a game played in New Jersey; and took down Jacksonville in Gainesville in the first round of the 2017 NCAA tournament. This regular season, USC has played games in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey. The Trojans also played their first-ever games in the Sunshine State of Florida.
USC NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY: The Trojans received the program's first-ever bid into the NCAA tournament in 2015. USC advanced to its first-ever MPSF tournament final, where it lost to Stanford, but received an at-large berth on the strength of a 13-5 regular-season record. The Trojans defeated James Madison in the first round in Durham, N.C., but fell to site host Duke in the second round. A year later, USC secured the MPSF's automatic bid into the tournament by winning the conference tournament. The Trojans entered the NCAA tourney with a 19-0 record and became the first-ever West Coast team to host NCAA games. As the fifth seed, USC also received a first-round bye and then took out league rival Stanford in the second round to become the first-ever West Coast team to advance to the NCAA quarterfinals. The Trojans traveled across the country where they were eliminated by fourth-seeded Syracuse in Syracuse, N.Y., in a heartbreaking 12-11 overtime finish. USC is 4-2 all-time in NCAA games.