No. 11 USC Hosts Michigan and Vermont in Weekend Bouts|
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Feb. 29, 2016
LOS ANGELES -- The 11th-ranked USC lacrosse team (2-0) returns to action to host Michigan (3-2) on Friday, March 4 (3 p.m. PT) and Vermont (1-2) on Saturday, March 5 (3 p.m.), at McAlister Field. Already off to the best start in program history, the Women of Troy will meet the Wolverines and the Catamounts for the first time. The Trojans can extend to a three- or four-game winning streak as USC begins a three-game home stand. The USC-Michigan game will be streamed live on Pac-12 Networks' USC portal with Leland Waters on the call.
The Trojans hold their highest ranking in program history and look to defend home field where they have won eight straight contests. The last time USC lost on McAlister Field was in 2014 (April 18) in a 10-8 decision to Oregon. Through two games, the Women of Troy lead the nation in several key statistical categories. USC is first in scoring defense and allowing just 3.50 goals per game and is tops in turnovers per game at just 7.50 topg. The Trojans' plus-12.50 goals scoring margin is second in the NCAA and their 16.00 goals per game is third.
USC's defense has caused opponents fits as it has allowed just 7.5 shots per game this season. That is, if the opponent can even advance the ball to the attacking zone. The Trojans have held their two previous opponents to a 12-for-26 clearance rate (.462) and caused 25 turnovers in the process.
Following USC's historic victory over No. 5-ranked Duke, senior defender Courtney Tarleton was honored as the MPSF Defensive Player of the Week. Her command of the Trojan defense helped USC hold the Blue Devils to a scoring drought that lasted 25:33 through the belly of the contest. The previous week, junior attacker Michaela Michael was chosen for Offensive Player of the Week honors on the heels of a season-opener where she collected 12 draw controls and scored six goals against Stetson. Sophomore netminder Gussie Johns leads the MPSF and is second in the nation with a 4.00 goals-against average.
LAST TIME OUT: USC collected its first-ever victory over a top-10 ranked opponent when it defeated No. 5 Duke in the Orange County Winter Invitational at LeBard Stadium, 11-5. The Trojans scored the first three goals of the contest and never let up on defense as they caused 10 of Duke's 14 turnovers and held the Blue Devils scoreless for more than 25 consecutive minutes through the middle of the game. Junior attacker Kylie Drexel starred offensively with four goals and an assist to lead the Trojan offensive. In goal, sophomore Gussie Johns had three saves while defender Courtney Tarleton collected three ground balls. USC avenged a loss suffered to Duke to end its run in the 2015 NCAA tournament. The Blue Devils hosted the Trojans in the second round of the postseason; USC's historic first selection to the national tourney.
MICHIGAN (4-2) is in its third year as a program and has shown marked improvement this season. Each of the Wolverines' two losses were 12-11 decisions. The first occurred at No. 7-ranked Florida (Feb. 13) and then at home against Oregon (Feb. 19). Michigan held Central Michigan to just one goal in its season opener (Feb. 7) and is coming off a 10-6 win over San Diego State (March 1). The Wolverines are led by attacker Tess Korten who has 18 points (16g, 2a) and midfielder Kim Coughlan who has 17 points (14g, 3a). Coughlan also leads Michigan in the center circle with 20 draw controls. Midfielder Anna Schueler has 15 draw controls to go with 13 points (7g, 6a) and is the Wolverines' leader for assists. Defensively, Emily Braun and Kelly Kubach have each picked up 10 ground balls. In the net, Mira Shane has racked up 33 saves with an 8.18 goals-against average. Third-year head coach Jennifer Ulehla is 13-27 overall with the Wolverines.
VERMONT (1-2) earned its lone win against Colgate (14-12) and fell to Bryant (11-7) and Marist (15-14) in its other two contests. The Catamounts are led by attackers Alex Bernier's 12 points (5g, 7a) and Meredith Moore who has 11 points (5g, 6a). Vermont's leading goal-scorer is midfielder Vanessa VanderZalm (8g). She also leads the team in draw controls with 16. Defensively, Avery Hogarth and Micaela O'Mara have six ground balls each. O'Mara leads the Catamounts with four caused turnovers. In the net, Maddy Kuras has 20 saves on the year and is the goalie on record with the victory. Head coach Jen Johnson is in her 12th year at Vermont and is the program's winningest coach. She has an 84-104 overall record with the Catamounts.