No. 4 Trojans Hit East Coast For Colorful Matchups|
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March 14, 2017
LOS ANGELES -- The No. 4-ranked USC lacrosse team (5-1) heads to the northeast for the first of two back-to-back weekends and will meet Dartmouth (4-1) in Hanover, N.H., on Friday (March 17) and No. 11 Cornell (4-1) in a neutral-site game in Boston on Sunday (March 19). The Women of Troy take a season-high three-game winning streak on the road and seek to improve on a 5-9 all-time mark in games played on the East Coast.
USC's eastbound trip is actually the second of three on this season's schedule. The Trojans split games in the first where they fell to a fourth-ranked Florida team and soundly defeated Stetson in the program's first games in the Sunshine State. USC has won 25 of its last 27 contests and 32 of the last 37 overall. The Trojans are 3-3 in all-time meetings with Ivy League foes. USC owns wins over Dartmouth (2) and Columbia (1) but has suffered losses to Princeton (2) and Brown (1).
The Women of Troy are led by two-time All-American attacker Michaela Michael (14g, 10a, 45dc). She ranks second in the MPSF in draw controls and is the league's fourth all-time leading goal scorer (170). Michael guides a potent scoring attack with fellow senior attackers Kylie Drexel (9g, 5a), Gabby McMahon (12g, 4a), and Cynthia Del Core (11g, 5a). Junior goalie Gussie Johns is second in the MPSF in goals-against average (6.97 gaa) and save percentage (.566) and leads the league in ground balls (4.33 gbpg). The USC defense is anchored by senior Nina Kelty (11gb, 6ct) and junior Lydia Sutton (11gb, 9ct). Freshman midfielder Kerrigan Miller has put up 16 points in her first six games (12g, 4a).
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 appear on four Pac-12 Networks live broadcasts this spring and will be on the Ivy League Digital Network (at Dartmouth, March 17), and on AmericaEast.tv (at Stony Brook, March 24). The Trojans were shown on Florida's YouTube channel (Feb. 24) and were on HatterVision (at Stetson). USC's non-televised home games at McAlister Field will be on the Pac-12 Networks live portal (Pac-12.com/live/USC-2).
LAST TIME OUT: The Trojans extended their home winning streak to 20 games, which includes 18 straight at McAlister Field, with a 15-4 win over Boston University and another 15-4 victory over New Hampshire. Senior attacker Cynthia Del Core led USC against the Terriers with four goals. Junior goalie Gussie Johns had eight saves and seven ground balls against BU. Three Trojans scored hat tricks in the win over the Wildcats, including senior attacker Michaela Michael who had her 29th-career hat trick game. Michael totaled eight points as she dished out five assists. Most impressively, Michael scored her hat trick in a matter of one minute and 19 seconds. Freshman midfielder Kerrigan Miller and senior attacker Kylie Drexel scored the other two hat tricks. Drexel had five points by adding a pair of assists to her final line.
SCOUTING DARTMOUTH: The Big Green (4-1) will have had 12 days since its last game when USC clashes with Dartmouth in Hanover, N.H. The Trojans are 2-0 all-time against the Big Green and won at Scully-Fahey Field in 2015 (9-7). Dartmouth is coming off a 17-10 loss to Columbia and is led by a trio of 17-point scorers. Courtney Weisse leads the team with 14 goals (3a); Cara DePippo has 13 goals (4a) and Kierra Sweeney has 11 goals (6a). Weisse is also second on the team with 14 draw controls. Kathryn Giroux runs the center circle for the Green with 27 draws won this season. In goal, Kiera Vrindten gives up 9.93 goals per game with a .570 save percentage and leads her team with 12 ground balls. Dartmouth is led by 2010 Northwestern grad Danielle Spencer who is in her first year with the program. USC associate head coach Devon Wills starred for the Big Green and helped lead Dartmouth to the national championship game in 2006.
SCOUTING NO. 11 CORNELL: The Big Red (4-1) suffered its only loss to a then No. 6-ranked Penn State squad by a 9-8 count. Cornell is coming off wins over Penn (10-4), Colgate (13-6), and Columbia (14-11) and will carry a three-game winning streak into its first-ever meeting with the Trojans. The Big Red is led by Amie Dickson, who has 19 points (7g, 12a). Catherine Ellis (12g, 4a) and Kristy Gilbert (12g, 1a) lead Cornell in goal scoring with 12 each. Taylor Reed has nine goals and leads the Big Red in the center circle with 13 draw controls. Dickson ties for second on the team with nine draw controls. In goal, Renee Poullott has a 6.73 goals-against average with a .500 save percentage and is third on the team with 14 ground balls. Defensively, Catie Smith has 20 ground balls, 11 caused turnovers, and nine draw controls. Head coach Jenny Graap is in her 20th year with the Big Red.
ONES TO WATCH: Senior attacker Michaela Michael, junior goalie Gussie Johns, and junior defender Lydia Sutton were each named to the official Tewaaraton Award Watch List. Michael makes her second appearance on the watch list after finishing as one of the 25 top candidates for the award in 2016. Johns and Sutton are first-timers on the list, and join former All-American Amanda Johansen who was also on the 2016 Watch List. Courtney Tarleton was not a Watch List name, but was one of the 25 candidates alongside Michael in 2016.
EAST COAST BIAS: USC has played 14 games on the East Coast and holds a 5-9 overall record in those games. The Trojans own wins over Stetson, 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, and New Jersey; and played 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 19 consecutive weeks ranked in the IWLCA poll (including 14 straight in the top 10) dating back to a No. 19 ranking in the 2016 preseason poll. The Trojans are 6-9 against teams ranked in the top 10 of the poll and are 1-7 against teams ranked among the top five.