No. 9 Trojans Pen Bulldogs in 21-5 MPSF Win

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    March 31, 2017

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    LOS ANGELES -- The ninth-ranked USC lacrosse team (8-3, 2-0 MPSF) dialed up a 21-5 win over Fresno State (7-4, 0-3) at McAlister Field on Friday, March 31. It was the 21st consecutive home victory for the Women of Troy and the 19th straight at McAlister Field. Behind a career-high five-goal performance by freshman midfielder Kaeli Huff, the Trojans picked up their 11th consecutive MPSF win.

    Huff--who registered her first-career hat trick--scored two of her goals on free-position shots and picked up two ground balls and a draw control to go with two caused turnovers. Senior attacker Michaela Michael scored her 33rd-career hat trick within the first five minutes of the opening draw and went on to finish with four goals and 11 draw controls. It was the seventh time in her career that Michael has won 10 or more draws in the same game.

    Michael and Huff were just two of three Trojans to score hat tricks. Senior attacker Cynthia Del Core had three goals to go with two ground balls and a caused turnover to mark the fifth game this season that the Trojans have had at least three players finish with hat tricks. Eight different Trojans scored goals--seven with multiple-goal games. Senior midfielder Drew Jackson had two goals and two assists and added two draw controls. Sophomore attacker Gabbi Klein had two goals and an assist.

    Off the bench, sophomore midfielder Amanda Flayhan added a pair of goals, one from free position and picked up a ground ball and a caused turnover. Junior attacker Alexis Kardias scored one goal and dished out a pair of assists while freshman attacker Sarah Larkin had two goals and freshman attacker Ashley Hill picked up an assist. Freshman midfielder Kerrigan Miller had three assists and picked up a ground ball, a draw control, and caused two turnovers.

    Defensively, the Trojans operated as a unit and pushed the Bulldogs into 16 turnovers on the possessions Fresno State had. USC picked up 21 ground balls to the Bulldogs' nine and won the center circle by a 17-11 edge. The Trojans forced the Bulldogs into seven failed clearance attempts and used their defensive prowess to out-shoot FSU, 37-9. Junior goalie Gussie Johns picked up her eighth win and allowed just two goals in 30 minutes in the cage. Sophomore midfielder Jackie Gilbert caused two turnovers. In the second half, freshman Hannah Upshaw had four saves to go with three ground balls.

    For the Bulldogs, Kayla Galet scored two goals. Marina Mayo, Tiffiny Wallace, and Sarah Bloise had the other three. Kyleigh Westgarth grabbed six draw controls. In goal, Laurel Maunder took the loss, but finished with four saves. In her place, Natalie Chaffin had six saves but gave up 13 goals.

    The Trojans won the opening draw, but were forced into a turnover that yielded the game's first goal for Bloise. From there, USC settled down and reeled off the next 12 goals. Michael scored back-to-back goals at 28:24 and 27:15 to turn the tables and gave the Trojans a 2-1 lead. Del Core scored unassisted at 25:54 before Michael won the next draw and notched her hat trick with a goal nine seconds later for a 4-1 lead. Del Core took passes from Jackson and Miller to score the next two Trojan goals and then Huff went back-to-back from free position for goals to extend the USC lead to 8-1 with just 10 minutes off the clock.

    Jackson scored USC's ninth goal unassisted and then passed to Huff for the next. Michael scored her fourth goal of the game at 17:18 to put USC up, 11-1, for a running-clock situation. Off a clearance, junior defender Lydia Sutton took the ball all the way to goal before passing to Klein for the shot and goal and a 12-1 USC lead. Wallace scored to stem the tide, but Huff took a pass from Miller for the 13th Trojan goal and then Flayhan scored off a pass from Klein for a 14-2 USC lead heading into the break.

    Just one minute into the second half, Huff picked up her fifth goal on a pass from Hill. Mayo scored one minute later to respond for the Bulldogs, but Larkin flipped the script and did the same to the Fresno State defense to push USC's lead to 16-3. Galet scored her first goal at the 19:36 mark before the Trojans went on a 5-0 run with goals from Flayhan, Kardias, Jackson, Larkin, and Klein over the course of the next 15 minutes. Galet had the last goal of the game to close the gap to 21-5 before the clock expired for the USC win.

    Up next, the Women of Troy face Bay Area foe California (2-9, 0-3 MPSF) on Sunday (April 2) at 2 p.m. PT on McAlister Field. The Trojans and the Golden Bears game will be shown live on Pac-12 Los Angeles and Pac-12 Bay Area.

    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 improved to 5-0 in all-time games against Fresno State.
    • The Trojans won their 21st straight home game, which includes a 19-game streak on McAlister Field.
    • The Women of Troy extended their conference-winning streak to 11 straight MPSF games.
    • USC had three players score hat tricks in the same game for the fifth time this season. Stetson (Feb. 26); New Hampshire (March 13); Dartmouth (March 19); Ohio State (March 26).
    • Eight different Women of Troy scored goals including seven with multiple goals.
    • Senior attacker Michaela Michael scored four goals for her 33rd-career hat trick. The four goals gave Michael 190-career goals and moved her into a third-place tie in MPSF career history. She needs 13 goals to move into second place all-time.
    • Michael secured 11 of USC's 17 draw controls. It was the seventh time in her career that she has had 10 or more draw controls in the same game.
    • Freshman midfielder Kaeli Huff scored a career-high five goals for her first-career hat trick game.
    • Senior attacker Cynthia Del Core scored three goals for her 10th-career hat trick and became the sixth Trojan in program history to record double-digit career hat tricks.
    • Freshman midfielder Kerrigan Miller dished out a career-best three assists in the game.