No. 4 USC Tangles with No. 9 Northwestern Saturday|
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Feb. 16, 2017
LOS ANGELES -- The No. 4-ranked USC lacrosse team (1-0) reprises its first and oldest rivalry when the Women of Troy host No. 9 Northwestern (2-1) at Murdock Stadium on the campus of El Camino Community College at noon PT on Saturday, Feb. 18. The top-10 matchup--originally scheduled to be played at McAlister Field--was moved off campus to a neutral site in order to pre-empt potentially poor weather conditions with a forecasted rainstorm this weekend.
The Trojans are coming off a 20-2 win over Saint Mary's College to open the season. The Wildcats won their first two games, but suffered an 11-10 loss in overtime in Boulder, Colo., to the Buffaloes on Sunday.
USC's inaugural game was against Northwestern on Feb. 9, 2013. It was the first-ever lacrosse game played in the LA Memorial Coliseum. The following year, the two teams met at The Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field in Chicago. The third meeting was an overtime thriller to kick off USC's 2015 campaign. The Trojans built a 7-0 lead in the first half, but the Wildcats stormed back to tie the game in the final minute before claiming a 12-11 win in extra time. USC broke through and defeated NU for the first time in 2016, a 14-11 decision in Evanston, Ill.
The Women of Troy are led by 2015 MPSF Player of the Year Michaela Michael (3g, 1a, 12dc) who will guide a potent Trojan offense that also features the scoring attack of seniors Kylie Drexel (1g), Gabby McMahon (2g, 2a), and Cynthia Del Core (2g, 2a). The top defense in the nation last year (5.80 gaa) returns the country's top goalie in junior Gussie Johns (2.00 gaa) who led the NCAA in goals-against average last season (6.04 gaa) and a pair of stalwart defenders in senior Nina Kelty (1ct) and junior Lydia Sutton (2ct, 1gb). USC also brings in another stellar recruiting class; one that includes the nation's top-rated recruit Kerrigan Miller (2g, 1a). Fifth-year head coach Lindsey Munday is 52-26 all-time at Troy.
SCOUTING REPORT - NO. 9 NORTHWESTERN: The Wildcats (2-1) have had each of their three games decided by no more than two goals. NU defeated Canisius, 9-7, at home to open the season (Jan. 30), and then traveled to South Bend, Ind., where it took down No. 8 Notre Dame, 14-13 (Feb. 5). The Wildcats ran into trouble and fell, 11-10 in overtime, to Colorado on Sunday (Feb. 12). Christina Esposito leads the Cats with 12 points (11g, 1a) and is second on the team with five draw controls. Esposito also leads the team with seven caused turnovers and has six ground balls. Corinne Wessels has dished out nine assists in three games and has 10 points with a goal of her own. Selena Lasota has scored six goals with two assists and is NU’s draw specialist with 14 draw controls this season. Lasota is also the team leader with eight ground balls. In goal, Mallory Weisse has a .404 save percentage and a 10.28 goals-against average. She was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week following the Wildcats’ win over the Fighting Irish. The Trojans are 1-3 overall in all-time meetings with Northwestern and earned their first win in the series last season (April 15) by a 14-11 count in Evanston, Ill.
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-2).
HOME, SWEET HOME: The Women of Troy have won 18 straight home games including those played at McAlister Field and at the LA Memorial Coliseum. The Trojans have won 16 straight games at McAlister Field and own a 24-8 all-time record on the home field. USC has not lost at McAlister Field since April 18, 2014 (10-8 to Oregon).
LAST TIME OUT: The Women of Troy earned a decisive 20-2 victory over conference foe Saint Mary's College to open the season on Saturday, Feb. 11. USC built a 14-0 lead before the Gaels could get on the board and used a span of 33 seconds in which it scored four times to break the game open for a 5-0 lead early on. Both of the Trojans' goalies played full halves and surrendered just one goal apiece. Senior attacker Michaela Michael picked up where she left off and raked in 12 draw controls to go with the 27th hat trick of her career. She scored three times and dished out an assist. The three goals pushed her ahead of Caroline deLyra for the top all-time goal scorer in program history. Michael also moved into fifth in MPSF history with her three goals. Senior attackers Cynthia Del Core and Gabby McMahon each scored a pair of goals and picked up two assists each. In her collegiate debut, midfielder Kerrigan Miller scored twice and handed out an assist to help the Trojans roll away with the first win of the season.
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.
HAT TRICK MAGIC: Senior attacker Michaela Michael has scored three or more goals in 27 games in her career. She is the program's all-time leader for hat-trick games. Senior attacker Kylie Drexel is next on the all-time list with nine hat-trick games. Senior attacker Cynthia Del Core ranks third on the team's active roster with six all-time games of three goals or more.