USC Downs Denver to Advance to Program-First MPSF Championship Game|
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May 1, 2015
DENVER - The second-seeded USC women's lacrosse team (13-4) overpowered third-seeded host and defending champion Denver (13-5) for a 17-9 win in the semifinals of the 2015 MPSF Tournament at Peter Barton Stadium on Friday, May 1. The Women of Troy advance to the program's first-ever league championship game and will face top-seeded Stanford (14-2) on Sunday, May 3, at 11 a.m. MT (9 a.m. PT). The game will be broadcast live on the Altitude TV network and web-streamed on Pioneer Vision.
Newly-minted MPSF Player of the Year Michaela Michael led the Trojans with five goals and seven draw controls to go with a pair of caused turnovers and a ground ball. The seven draws won by Michael give her 104 this season, and make her the MPSF's new single-season record holder (Amanda Johansen, 100 in 2013). Michael's five goals gave her 51 this season, to tie USC's single-season school record (Caroline de Lyra, 51 in 2013).
Johansen grabbed five draws against the Pioneers and tied for game-high honors with three assists. Sophomore attacker Kylie Drexel also had three assists in the game. De Lyra finished with two goals, an assist, a caused turnover, and a ground ball. Sophomore attacker Cynthia Del Core scored a hat trick and had three goals, or more, for the third game this spring. Sophomore attackers Gabby McMahon and Annie Ruland each scored two goals apiece, while juniors Maggie Mawhinney and Haleigh Dalmass, and senior Olivia Gerton topped off the Trojans' scoring with one goal each.
In goal, freshman Gussie Johns came up big with 10 saves and a ground ball. 10 different Trojans earned ground balls against Denver to give USC 11 in the game. Sophomore defender Nina Kelty had one to go with a pair of draw controls. The Women of Troy held a 17-12 edge in draw controls, and out-shot the Pioneers, 33-26.
For Denver, Rookie of the Year Nicole Martindale and Jill Remenapp had two goals each. Remenapp, one of the league's regular-season assist leaders, finished with one assist after a strong defensive effort from junior Eggy Plastaras. Rachael Dillon, Sarah Kasun, Kiki Boone, Casey White, and Rachael McKinnon each scored one goal. Dillon, Martindale, and Boone each had three draw controls. In goal, Maddy Stevenson posted 12 saves.
The Trojans struck first in what would turn into a back-and-forth in the early goings as Del Core opened the books with an unassisted offering less than two minutes into the game. Just 70 seconds later, Boone had the answer to knot the score up at ones, but the Trojans secured the next draw and Michael scored the first of her five goals. Stevenson's save sent the Pioneers into an offensive transition that led to a goal by Remenapp and a 2-2 tie at 22:48 in the first half.
It took five minutes before the next goal was scored, but that one belonged to Michael with 17:10 left in the half, and sparked a 5-0 USC run. De Lyra scored unassisted, and then McMahon hit from the eight-meter arc, before Michael scored another without help. Drexel found de Lyra alone in front of the cage for the fifth straight Trojan goal and a 7-2 lead with just 7:37 left in the half. McKinnon's free-position goal stopped the bleeding momentarily, but Drexel had the helper on Mawhinney's goal at 1:49, and Johansen broke down the field to find Michael for one more goal 33 seconds before the break that gave Trojans a commanding 9-3 lead at halftime.
Out of the break, USC pulled out to an 11-3 lead on free-position goals from Michael and Del Core. Denver got goals from White and Kasun to cut into the Trojan lead just a little bit, but the Women of Troy scored the next three to go out of reach again at 14-5 with just over 18 minutes left in the game. The first two of the three goals were scored by Ruland: a one-timer past Stevenson on a pass from Johansen, and a free-position shot. McMahon had the third goal off another clean pass from Johansen on the right side of the arc.
Martindale and Remenapp did their best to keep the Pioneers in it as they scored consecutive goals at 12:30 and 8:03 left in the game, but once more, the Trojans had a response and scored three to Denver's two. Del Core, Gerton, and Dalmass each scored goals off draw controls within a two-minute span to put USC on top, 17-7, with under two minutes to play. With the outcome already decided, the Remenapp and Dillon scored the Pioneers' final two goals to make the final score, 17-9, in USC's favor.
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 Twitter @USCTrojansLax.