Trojan Lacrosse Ranked No. 4 in IWLCA Preseason Coaches Poll|
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Jan. 30, 2017
GRAND LAKE, Colo. -- The defending Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) champion USC women's lacrosse team received 326 points in the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) preseason coaches' top-20 poll and will begin the season ranked No. 4. The poll, issued on Monday, Jan. 30, marks the highest that the Women of Troy have been ranked in the program's five years and is also the highest a team from the west coast has ever been ranked. The first regular-season poll will be published on Monday, Jan. 20, and will subsequently be published on Mondays through the regular season.
USC opens the 2017 season on Saturday, Feb. 11, when it hosts Saint Mary's College at McAlister Field for a noon PT game. The MPSF's top-six finishers in the final regular-season standings advance to the MPSF Championship Tournament, hosted by the Trojans (April 27-30), at McAlister Field in Los Angeles.
In 2016, the Women of Troy became the first-ever MPSF lacrosse team to reach the NCAA quarterfinals. USC set new conference records for wins (20) and winning streak (20 consecutive), and reached a program and league record with the No. 5 ranking in the final IWLCA Coaches' poll. Last year, the Trojans started the season ranked No. 19 in the IWLCA's preseason poll.
Defending NCAA champion North Carolina received 18 out of 20 first-place votes for 398 points and holds the top ranking in the nation. Maryland had the other two first-place ballots and is ranked No. 2 with 379 points. Florida (341), USC (326), and Syracuse (321) rounded out the top five. The Trojans will face the Gators on Feb. 24 and take on No. 6 Stony Brook (295 points) on March 24.
Penn State (286) is ranked No. 7 and Notre Dame (260) is No. 8. USC hosts No. 9 Northwestern (235) on Feb. 18. Duke (201) holds 10th spot in the poll. Among other ranked teams on the Trojans' 2017 schedule are No. 12 Stanford and No. 15 Cornell. In all, USC will meet five teams ranked in the preseason top 20 including three in the top 10.
Last year's NCAA goals-against average leader, junior Gussie Johns (6.04 gaa) begins her third season as USC's netminder and was recently named to the U.S. National Team. The nation's top defense from 2016 (5.80 gaa) also brings back senior defender Nina Kelty (24gb, 14ct) and junior Lydia Sutton (37gb, 28ct). On offense, senior attacker Kylie Drexel (40g, 18a) returns as does the program's all-time leading goal-scorer and 2015 MPSF Player of the Year Michaela Michael (68g, 31a, 107dc).
In 2016, USC (20-1 overall) had a record-setting season, in which the Trojans won the MPSF regular season (9-0) and tournament championships. The Women of Troy earned the No. 5 seed in the NCAA championship and advanced to the quarterfinal where they fell in overtime to Syracuse. It was the furthest any team from the MPSF had ever gone in the NCAA tourney. Fifth-year head coach Lindsey Munday was named MPSF Coach of the Year for the second straight season and reached the 50-win plateau in her fourth year at the helm (51-26 overall).
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.