No. 3 USC Drops 15-10 Decision to No. 4 Florida on the Road

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    Feb. 24, 2017

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    GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The No. 3-ranked USC lacrosse team (2-1) suffered its first loss of the season on a 15-10 decision to No. 4 Florida (1-1) at Donald R. Dizney Stadium on Friday, Feb. 24. The Trojans got all 10 of their goals from the team's four senior attackers, and despite winning the center circle by a 17-10 edge, the Gator defense held firm to force USC into 24 turnovers to secure the victory.

    Cynthia Del Core led the senior quartet with a four-goal performance. It was her season high and matched a career high she has twice reached. Del Core also matched her career best with four ground balls and had a draw control. Kylie Drexel scored a pair of goals and added a pair of assists to go with three ground balls. Michaela Michael scored two goals and dished out an assist for three points. Michael led all players with 10 draw controls. Gabby McMahon had two goals in the game.

    Sophomore attacker Gabbi Klein handed out a pair of assists and freshman midfielder Kerrigan Miller had an assist to go with two draw controls and three ground balls. Defensively, senior Nina Kelty had four ground balls and a caused turnover. Junior Lydia Sutton grabbed a ground ball and a draw control, and sophomore Jackie Gilbert picked up three ground balls with two caused turnovers. In goal, junior Gussie Johns made nine saves and picked up seven ground balls.

    For the Gators, Mollie Stevens scored five goals and led Florida with four draw controls. Two of her goals came from the eight-meter arc on free-position attempts. Shayna Pirreca added four goals and had a pair of ground balls. Sydney Pirreca scored two and had two assists with three draw controls and three ground balls. Sammi Burgess scored the Gators' first goal and finished with five points (2g, 3a) to go with four ground balls.

    Florida scored first, but Del Core had the answer off a dish from Drexel to tie the score at one-all just under seven minutes into the contest. The Gators played with patience and built a 4-1 lead as Stevens and the Pirreca sisters scored three straight goals in the next 13 minutes. Michael pulled USC within two off her free-position goal with 8:13 left to play, but Florida did some major damage to close the half by scoring three times in a 90-second span. Del Core scored her second goal with four seconds to halftime to stop the bleeding, but the damage was done and the Gators took a 7-3 lead into the locker room.

    The Gators needed just 90 seconds to build their first five-point lead as Brianna Harris opened the second-half scoring. Less than a minute later, McMahon's goal off a pass from Drexel sparked a 4-0 USC run that included a goal by Del Core for the hat trick and a pair by Drexel herself. The run spanned just under four minutes and brought the Trojans within a goal at 8-7, but Florida had other plans and posted a 4-0 run of its own with Stevens netting the goal for a 12-7 lead with just over 10 minutes to play. Del Core and McMahon had quick answers to trim the lead back to three, 12-9, but the Florida defense was stifling and caused the Trojans to cough the ball up down the stretch. The Gators scored three more to build a six-point lead at 15-9 with just 1:50 left to play. Michael took a pass from Klein to score with under one minute remaining to make the final score 15-10.

    Up next, USC goes to DeLand, Fla., for a Sunday-matinee (Feb. 26) matchup Stetson (0-2) at the Athletic Training Center. The teams will draw at noon ET (9 a.m. PT) with the game set to be shown on HatterVision via GoHatters.com.

    For more information on the USC women's lacrosse team, a complete schedule, and results, please visit USCTrojans.com. Fans of the Women of Troy can follow the team on Instagram and on Twitter @USCTrojansLax.

    GAME NOTES

    • USC and Florida met for the first time in the programs' histories.
    • The Trojans trailed at the half (7-3) for the first time since May 10, 2015, when they went into the break behind by four to No. 5-ranked Duke in the second round of the NCAA tournament in Durham, N.C.
    • The five-point loss was the worst for the Women of Troy since suffering an eight-point loss to No. 5 Duke (May 10, 2015).
    • USC played its first game in the state of Florida.
    • The Women of Troy dropped to 4-9 all-time in games played on the East Coast.
    • The Trojans played their first-ever top-5 vs. top-5 game.
    • USC fell to 1-7 all-time against teams ranked in the IWLCA top five, and 6-9 against teams ranked in the top 10.
    • Senior attacker Michaela Michael secured 10 draw controls for her sixth-career game with double-digit draw controls. The 10 draw controls gives her 301 in her career, to make her the first MPSF player ever to cross the 300 plateau.
    • Senior attacker Cynthia Del Core matched her career highs with four goals and four ground balls. It was her seventh-career game with three goals or more; and the third time she has had four total.