No. 7 USC Dodges Denver for 9-6 Road Win

    USC junior attacker Michaela Michael scored her 23rd-career hat-trick game with three goals in a 9-6 win over the Pioneers.

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    April 10, 2016

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    DENVER - The seventh-ranked USC women's lacrosse team (13-0, 7-0 MPSF) overcame a stout defensive effort to defeat Denver (5-8, 2-4) by a 9-6 margin at Peter Barton Stadium on Sunday, April 10. The Women of Troy pushed their school-record winning streak to 13 games and remained undefeated, just one of two teams in the nation without a loss.

    In a defensive struggle of a game, the Trojans found offense from junior attacker Michaela Michael who scored at least a hat trick's worth of goals for the 23rd time in her career. Michael finished with five points, adding two assists and had five draw controls, three ground balls, and a pair of caused turnovers. All three of her goals came from free-position attempts. Junior attacker Kylie Drexel scored a pair of goals and had an assist to go with a career-high tying three ground balls.

    Senior attacker Caroline deLyra added a pair of goals while senior midfielder Amanda Johansen and junior attacker Cynthia Del Core had the last of the Trojans' nine goals. Johansen also dished out an assist, secured four draws, and had three ground balls. Junior attacker Gabby McMahon had an assist and also helped with three ground balls. Six different Trojans had three ground balls on the day. On defense, Michael, Johansen, and Del Core each had two caused turnovers, but senior Courtney Tarleton tied her career high with five caused turnovers to go with two ground balls.

    In goal, sophomore Gussie Johns produced five saves and had a ground ball. She faced 15 shots (11 on goal). The Trojans were again strong on the ride and caused eight of Denver's 18 turnovers on clear attempts.

    For the Pioneers, Nicole Martindale scored a pair of goals, Christa Reese had a pair of assists, and four others had single goals to help the Denver attack. Layne Voorhees, Elizabeth Behrins, Casey White, and Rachael McKinnon had the other goals. In the net, Maddy Stevenson produced nine saves to go with five ground balls.

    The Trojans scored the first three goals of the game and got a kick-start from Del Core after eight minutes of scoreless lacrosse had elapsed. Michael dropped a pass off to Del Core who came at the goal from the right and went low to beat Stevenson. The teams ran the field for nearly 14 minutes before Michael earned free position and capitalized with a two-step shot high over the keeper's shoulder for a 2-0 Trojan lead at 7:37. USC made the score 3-0 on a goal by deLyra at 5:48, but Denver won the next draw and needed just 30 seconds to set up and score its first goal. Michael earned another eight-meter attempt under three minutes to go and went through the five hole for her second goal and a 4-1 Trojan lead heading into halftime.

    Contrary to the start in the first half, USC came out and needed just 45 seconds to get on the board. Michael's third free-position goal came from a center-hash attempt and put the Trojans up by four goals, 5-1. The Pioneers had a response and trimmed the lead to three when Rachael McKinnon did the same thing to Johns on the other end of the field. Six minutes later, Denver scored back-to-back goals for the first time as Casey White dodged into the arc and scored with a shot over Johns' shoulder.

    The teams traded goals at the 18-minute mark with Drexel providing USC's goal off a pass from McMahon who fed her from the top of the 12-meter fan. On the ensuing possession, Behrins caught the USC defense off guard and raced down the field to score. The Trojans had a response less than a minute later as Johansen found Drexel posted up inside the arc. Drexel took the pass and put a back-handed shot past the keeper to put USC up by three, 7-4. In a back-and-forth rally, Voorhees had the next goal as she made the Trojans pay by tossing one in from the restraining line towards an open goal. Martindale trimmed the score to a one-point USC lead, 7-6, as she beat the Trojans out of transition for the score.

    Out of a USC timeout, the Trojans worked patiently for the shot and took it as Drexel returned the favor to Johansen and passed the ball over the cage for a one-timer that got past Stevenson. Michael won the next draw and raced through the neutral zone to find deLyra open on the wing. Her pass allowed deLyra to stick fake one defender out of the way for a clear shot and goal to put the Trojans back up by three, 9-6, with 7:57 to play. The teams went back and forth, but the Trojans melted the final minutes off the clock with a successful stall and preserved the victory.

    Up next, USC heads out to the Midwest for games at No. 13 Northwestern (Friday, April 15) and at No. 5 Notre Dame (Monday, April 18). The Trojans and the Fighting Irish will be shown live on ESPN3.

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

    GAME NOTES

    • USC improves to 13-0 for the first time in program history, continuing the program's best start to a season.
    • The 13-game winning streak is the longest in program history.
    • The Trojans improved to 3-3 in their all-time series with Denver and is now on a three-game winning streak against the Pioneers.
    • The Women of Troy moved to 7-0 in MPSF games for the second time in the last two seasons.
    • USC improved to 3-4 in all-time games played in the state of Colorado.
    • The Trojans held their opponent under 10 goals for the 12th time in 13 games.
    • Through 12 games, USC is out-scoring its opponents, 201-64, for an average margin of victory of 10.54 goals.
    • In seven MPSF games, USC has outscored opponents, 107-32, for an average margin of victory of 10.70 goals.
    • Junior attacker Michaela Michael scored three goals in a game for the seventh time in her career and had her 23rd-career game with three or more goals.
    • Junior attacker Kylie Drexel matched a career mark with three ground balls.
    • Senior defender Courtney Tarleton matched her career high with five caused turnovers.