No. 3 Trojans Head to Sunshine State for Top-5 Matchup|
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Feb. 22, 2017
LOS ANGELES -- The No. 3-ranked USC lacrosse team (2-0) makes the first of three regular-season trips to the East Coast this weekend and will face No. 4 Florida (0-1) on Friday (Feb. 24) at Donald R. Dizney Stadium in Gainesville, Fla., at 6:30 p.m. ET (3:30 p.m. PT). The matchup with the Gators is the Trojans' first top-five vs. top-five in program history. It will also be USC's first meeting with Florida and the team's first trip into the state. On Sunday, Feb. 26, the Trojans take the field at the Athletic Training Center in DeLand, Fla., to face Stetson (0-2) at noon ET (9 a.m. PT). Both games will be streamed live on the home team's stream channels.
The Women of Troy hold the highest ranking in program history; the highest in history for any team from the West Coast. The Trojans are 4-8 in games played on the East Coast and own victories over James Madison, LIU Brooklyn, Marist, and Dartmouth. Last week, USC defeated No. 9-ranked Northwestern in an 11-10 overtime thriller. Junior goalie Gussie Johns (17 saves, 8gb) and freshman midfielder Kerrigan Miller (3g, 3ct) were chosen for MPSF Defensive Player and Rookie of the Week honors.
USC is led by 2015 MPSF Player of the Year Michaela Michael (4g, 2a, 16dc). She guides a potent scoring attack with fellow senior attackers Kylie Drexel (3g, 1a), Gabby McMahon (3g, 2a), and Cynthia Del Core (3g, 2a). Johns leads the MPSF in goals-against average (7.10 gaa) and save percentage (.621); and the USC defense is anchored by senior Nina Kelty (3gb, 3ct) and junior Lydia Sutton (6gb, 5ct).
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).
SCOUTING REPORT - NO. 4 FLORIDA: The Gators (0-1) started the season with a 13-10 loss to No. 1 North Carolina (Feb. 11) at home. Florida is the defending Big East champion and is led by eighth-year head coach Amanda O'Leary. In the loss, Shayna Pirreca and Sydney Pirreca each scored hat tricks while Mollie Stevens scored two and dished out one assist. Stevens also grabbed three draw controls and had three ground balls. Haley Hicklen allowed 13 goals but put up 12 saves in the process. She leads her league in ground balls (5.00 gbpg). The Trojans and the Gators will meet for the first time.
SCOUTING REPORT - STETSON: The Hatters (0-2) dropped their first two games to MPSF opponents: an 18-9 loss to Fresno State (Feb. 16) and a 22-3 loss to Colorado (Feb. 19). USC defeated Stetson, 21-2 (Feb. 13, 2016), at McAlister Field in the teams' only previous meeting. In two games, Lindsay Summers leads the Hatters with seven points (4g, 3a) while Sam Maguire has four goals with three draw controls. Maddie Holvey has five draw controls, three caused turnovers, and a pair of goals. In goal, Liza Diamond has allowed 40 goals (20.00 gaa) and has a .273 save percentage in the two losses.
KA-POW: Junior goalie Gussie Johns and freshman midfielder Kerrigan Miller received MPSF Defensive Player and Rookie of the Week honors, respectively, following USC's thrilling 11-10 overtime victory over No. 9 Northwestern. Johns had 17 saves (second most in school history) and tied a school record with eight ground balls. Miller scored her first-career hat trick, which included the game-winning goal to put the Wildcats away. Coincidentally, Miller is USC's first Rookie award winner since Johns won in 2015 (March 16). In all, USC has had 25 MPSF weekly award winners: nine offensive, 10 defensive, and six rookie honors.
SUNSHINE HOMECOMING: Two current Trojans hail from the Sunshine State of Florida. Sophomore midfielder Allie Gershman is from Boca Raton and freshman attacker Sarah Larkin is from Orlando. Gershman and Larkin will make a homecoming trip when USC heads to Florida for the first time in program history to face the Gators in Gainesville, Fla., and Stetson in DeLand, Fla. Gershman is the first letterwinner to come from the state of Florida; Larkin the second.
EAST COAST BIAS: USC has played 12 games on the East Coast and holds a 4-8 overall record in those games. The Trojans own wins over Dartmouth, LIU Brooklyn, and Marist in true road games; and defeated James Madison at a neutral location in the 2015 NCAA first round in Durham, N.C. This regular season, USC will play games in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and two for the first time in Florida.
POLL POSITION: The Trojans opened the season ranked No. 4 in the IWLCA Coaches' preseason poll. The ranking was a program high and was also the highest any team from the MPSF and from the West Coast had ever been ranked in the coaches' poll. Following two wins, USC moved up one spot to No. 3 to further rewrite the record books. USC has spent 17 consecutive weeks ranked in the IWLCA poll dating back to a No. 19 ranking in the 2016 preseason poll. The Trojans are 6-8 against teams ranked in the top 10 of the poll and are 1-6 against teams ranked among the top five.
LAST TIME OUT: The Women of Troy used a hat trick from senior attacker Drew Jackson to grab a 10-7 lead over No. 9-ranked Northwestern in a neutral-site bout at El Camino College's Murdock Stadium. Jackson's final goal was the only second-half goal for the Trojans, who went into overtime with the Wildcats. It was USC's second overtime game in its last three contests, the second time it would meet NU in extra time; and following a back-to-goal shot by freshman midfielder Kerrigan Miller, it became USC's first-ever overtime victory. Miller finished with her first-career hat trick and added three caused turnovers. In goal, junior Gussie Johns had 17 saves and matched a program record with eight ground balls. The win was USC's second straight over Northwestern.