No. 5 Trojans Pick Off Pioneers in 10-5 MPSF Semifinal Victory

    USC lacrosse junior attacker Gabby McMahon

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    April 29, 2016

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    STANFORD, Calif. -- The top-seeded and fifth-ranked USC women's lacrosse team (18-0) defeated fifth-seeded Denver (9-9) in the semifinals of the 2016 MPSF Tournament at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium on Friday, April 29. The Women of Troy pushed their school-record winning streak to 18 games and set a new MPSF record with 18 consecutive victories.

    The Trojans out-shot the Pioneers, 30-11, in the game and won the edge in ground balls, 16-10. USC forced Denver into 17 turnovers with 11 credited as caused.

    Four USC starters scored two goals apiece. Senior midfielder Amanda Johansen led all players with four points on two goals and a pair of helpers. Johansen also had three draw controls. Junior attacker Michaela Michael scored two and had one assist. She led the Trojans' in the center circle with four draw controls. Senior attacker Caroline deLyra also scored two and had an assist. Junior attacker Gabby McMahon also had a pair of goals. The Trojans also got goals from junior attacker Cynthia Del Core and senior midfielder Kelsey Dreyer.

    On defense, MPSF Player of the Year Courtney Tarleton caused a turnover and picked up a pair of ground balls. She also grabbed a draw control. Sophomore defender Lydia Sutton led the team with four ground balls and caused three turnovers. Junior defender Nina Kelty had three caused turnovers and three ground balls. Sophomore goalie Gussie Johns had three saves in the cage and picked up four ground balls to go with a caused turnover.

    For the Pioneers, Nicole Martindale had the hat trick. Riley Eggeman and Elizabeth Behrins had the other two Denver goals. Behrins and Caitlin Derry had one assist each. Maddy Stevenson took the loss with 10 goals against, but didn't go quietly as she finished with 12 saves. Ellie Knott led all players with five draw controls.

    Denver scored the first goal of the game just over six minutes into the first half. Behrins went to goal unassisted off a breakaway and scored to put the Pioneers on top early. It took the Trojans five minutes to respond, but Del Core answered with a free-position goal to knot the score. A minute later, Martindale scored on a free-position shot to get Denver a 2-1 lead with 18:30 on the clock. USC scored the next three goals to go on top, 4-2. Johansen's run of the field got her the shot she needed for the equalizer at two-all. She then passed to deLyra out of her free position, who went over Stevenson's shoulder for a 3-2 Trojan lead. Down to two minutes in the first half, McMahon scored from the eight-meter arc to get USC on top, 4-2, but Martindale found the back of the goal with nine seconds before halftime and pulled the Pioneers within a goal, 4-3, heading into the break.

    14 minutes went off the clock to start the second half before USC found an opening as Johansen fed deLyra for the shot and goal. The goal sparked a 4-0 Trojan run to make the score 8-3 with under 10 minutes to play. A minute after deLyra's goal, Johansen scored her second on a free-position shot. Five minutes later, Dreyer scored unassisted and then Michael dodged her way through the Pioneer defense for the goal at 9:19. Martindale had the answer to trim the lead to four at 8-4, but the Trojans kept the ball away long enough to force Denver to take yellow cards during the chase. McMahon scored off an assist from Michael at 2:50 and then Michael scored off an assist from deLyra at 2:14. USC tried to run out the clock, but Denver scored the final goal under a minute left to make the score 10-5.

    The Trojans will play in their second consecutive MPSF title game and will face either second-seeded host No. 9 Stanford (13-3) or third-seeded Colorado (12-4) on Sunday (May 1) at 1 p.m. PT at Cagan Stadium. 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 18-0, continuing the program's best start to a season, and set a new MPSF record for consecutive victories.
    • The Women of Troy will play in their second straight MPSF title game and improved to 2-3 in all-time MPSF tournament games.
    • The Trojans remain one of just two undefeated teams in the nation (No. 1 Maryland, 17-0).
    • USC's 18 wins are the most in program history and ties for second most in a single season by any MPSF team (Denver, 19 in 2014; Denver, 18 in 2013).
    • The Trojans improved to 4-3 in all-time meetings with the Pioneers and are on a four-game winning streak.
    • USC earned its first win in three games at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium. The Trojans previously lost there to Stanford in 2013 and 2015.
    • USC held its 16th opponent under 10 goals in 18 games this season.
    • Junior attacker Michaela Michael scored her 60th goal of the season, which ranks eighth in MPSF single-season history. Her 89 points this season rank sixth in MPSF single-season history.
    • Michael's 90 draw controls are third all-time in MPSF single-season history. The only two players above her are herself (2015, 123 DC) and Amanda Johansen (2013, 100 DC).
    • Senior defender Courtney Tarleton's 45th caused turnover of the season ranks third in MPSF single-season history (Kate Heinrich, Denver: 70 in 2013, 46 in 2012).
    • Junior defender Nina Kelty set a new career high with three caused turnovers.