No. 4 USC Hosts Saint Mary's to Open 2017 Season|
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Feb. 7, 2017
LOS ANGELES -- The No. 4-ranked USC lacrosse team (0-0, 0-0 MPSF) opens its fifth year on Saturday, Feb. 11, as host to Saint Mary's College (0-0, 0-0) at McAlister Field. The two teams will draw at noon PT. The defending Mountain Pacific Sports Federation champion Trojans have lost just once in their last 21 games and are coming off a historic season in which the program set new MPSF marks for wins in a season (20) and winning streak (20 straight). USC became the first-ever West Coast team to host an NCAA tournament game last May and now hold the highest-ever ranking by a team from the West.
Last year, the Trojans reached new heights and finished as the No. 5-ranked team in the nation. USC went wire-to-wire ranked in the IWLCA poll and advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals before falling in a narrow 12-11 overtime game to No. 4 Syracuse on the road. Head coach Lindsey Munday was named the MPSF Coach of the Year for the second year in a row and the Trojans' captain Courtney Tarleton garnered Player of the Year laurels for the program for a second straight year.
The 2015 MPSF Player of the Year Michaela Michael returns for her senior season to guide a potent Trojan offense that also features the scoring attack of seniors Kylie Drexel, Gabby McMahon, and Cynthia Del Core. The top defense in the nation last year (5.80 gaa) returns the country's top goalie in junior Gussie Johns who led the NCAA in goals-against average (6.04 gaa) and a pair of stalwart defenders in senior Nina Kelty and junior Lydia Sutton. USC also brings in another stellar recruiting class; one that includes the nation's top-rated recruit Kerrigan Miller.
TRACK THE TROJANS: Fans of USC women's lacrosse can follow the Trojans on Twitter and Instagram. For a behind-the-scenes look at the program, scores, and news updates, follow @USCTrojansLax. The Women of Troy will appear on four Pac-12 Networks live broadcasts this spring and will also be shown on Florida's YouTube channel (at Florida, Feb. 24), on HatterVision (at Stetson, Feb. 26), the Ivy League Digital Network (at Dartmouth, March 17), and on AmericaEast.tv (at Stony Brook, March 24). USC's non-televised home games at McAlister Field will be webcast on the Pac-12 Networks live portal (Pac-12.com/live/USC).
SCOUTING REPORT - SAINT MARY'S COLLEGE: The Gaels (0-0) enter 2017 on a 30-game losing streak. Saint Mary's last won a game on April 18, 2014: a 22-12 victory over Kennesaw State. The program begins a new era when it takes on USC to open the season. It will be first-year head coach Alicia Florin's first game as the Gaels' new coach. Saint Mary's returns its leading scorer from 2016 Hanna Dalrymple who led her squad with 14 goals and four assists a year ago. Dalrymple also led with 35 draw controls. The Gaels also bring back the services of midfielder Meagan Bennett who was the team's second-leading scorer with 13 points (11g, 2a). Bennett ranked third on the team with 19 ground balls in 2016. In goal, Sydney Pinello returns (19.43 gaa) after facing 501 shots with 129 saves. Pinello led the Gaels in ground balls with 30 last year. The Trojans have never lost to Saint Mary's and have out-scored the Gaels, 75-22, in the four previous meetings.
HOME, SWEET HOME: The Women of Troy have won 17 straight home games including those played at McAlister Field and at the LA Memorial Coliseum. The Trojans have won 15 straight games at McAlister Field and own a 23-8 all-time record on the home field. USC has not lost at McAlister Field since April 18, 2014 (10-8 to Oregon).
CAN OPENERS: The Women of Troy are 1-3 in season openers, and won their first season opener last year in a 21-2 victory against Stetson. USC's previous three season openers were losses to No. 1 Northwestern (2013), a loss under heavy rain to Marist (2014), and an overtime loss (12-11) to No. 5 Northwestern (2015). The first time each year that the Trojans have played at McAlister Field, USC is 2-2. For the first time, the Women of Troy will open a season against a conference foe. USC is 4-0 in MPSF openers and in MPSF home openers.
LAST TIME OUT: The last time USC took the field, it was at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, N.Y., in the NCAA quarterfinals. Tied, five-all, at the half, the Trojans fell behind by three goals to the Orange before they roared back to score three goals in the final six minutes to tie the game at 11-all. USC won the draw to begin the overtime period, but the Orange held fast on defense and went the other way to score the clinching goal for a spot in the national semifinals.
RED, WHITE, AND BLUE TIMES TWO: Junior goalie Gussie Johns and associate head coach Devon Wills were each named to the U.S. Lacrosse Women's National Team roster that will compete at the upcoming FIL Women's World Cup in Guildford, England, July 12-22. Johns is the first-ever USC student-athlete to receive a call up to the senior national team. Wills, Johns' mentor, will represent the U.S. for the third consecutive World Cup. She helped lead Team USA to record sixth and seventh world titles in 2009 and 2013. She was named Player of the Match in the 2009 gold-medal game as she preserved an 8-7 win over Australia.
OH, CANADA: Junior defender Lydia Sutton and sophomore defender Avery Hogarth were each named to the Canadian Lacrosse Association's Senior National Team roster that will compete at the upcoming FIL Women's World Cup in Guildford, England, July 12-22. The duo helped Canada win its first gold medal in the 2015 FIL U19 World Championship. Sutton was also a part of the 2013 Canadian roster that took silver in the FIL World Cup when it lost to the U.S. in the final.
20 AND 1 JUMP STREET: The Trojans went 20-1 overall in 2016 and set new MPSF records for wins in a single season and for winning streak (20 consecutive). Along the way, USC garnered the highest ranking ever (at the time) for an MPSF team at No. 5, and became the first-ever league team to advance to the NCAA quarterfinals. The Trojans also rewrote the history books as the first-ever West Coast team to host an NCAA tournament game.
ALL-AMERICAN GIRLS: The Women of Troy have celebrated four IWLCA All-America selections through four years as a program. Senior attacker Michaela Michael was the first-ever All-American selection as a third-teamer in 2015. Last year, Michael and defender Courtney Tarleton were each named to the first team. Senior midfielder Amanda Johansen was chosen to the third team to give the Trojans two first-team and two third-team selections all-time.