No. 9 Trojans Host Bulldogs and Bears in MPSF Contests|
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March 29, 2017
LOS ANGELES -- The No. 9-ranked USC lacrosse team (7-3, 1-0 MPSF) begins a seven-game journey through the remainder of its Mountain Pacific Sports Federation schedule this weekend as host to Fresno State (7-3, 0-2) and California (2-8, 0-2). The Women of Troy and Bulldogs will take McAlister Field on Friday (Mar. 31) at 4 p.m. PT and be shown live on the Pac-12+ streaming platform. The game has also been designated as a Twitter stream game. Fans can watch the game for free on Twitter by following @USCTrojansLax or @Pac12Network. The Trojans and the Golden Bears will meet for a Sunday-matinee matchup, which will be shown live on Pac-12 Los Angeles and Pac-12 Bay Area at 2 p.m.
USC is 26-8 all-time in games at McAlister Field and has won 18 consecutive contests on home grass. Including games played at the LA Memorial Coliseum, the Trojans have won 20 straight home games. USC can also extend an 11-game winning streak in MPSF contests that dates back to the end of 2015.
The Women of Troy are led by two-time All-American attacker Michaela Michael (30g, 11a, 59dc) who has been named the MPSF Player of the Week each of the last two weeks. She guides a potent scoring attack with fellow seniors Kylie Drexel (19g, 8a), Gabby McMahon (18g, 5a), and Cynthia Del Core (17g, 15a). Junior goalie Gussie Johns is second in the MPSF in goals-against average (7.78 gaa) and leads the league in ground balls (4.50 gbpg). Freshman midfielder Kerrigan Miller (22g, 5a) has four hat tricks in 10 games and is a two-time MPSF Rookie of the Week selection. On defense, senior Nina Kelty (17gb, 8ct) and junior Lydia Sutton (18gb, 14ct) anchor the back line.
TRACK THE TROJANS: Fans of USC 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 were shown on Ivy League Digital Network (at Dartmouth, March 17), AmericaEast.tv (at Stony Brook, March 24), Florida's YouTube channel (Feb. 24), and HatterVision (at Stetson, Feb. 26). USC's non-televised home games at McAlister Field will be on the Pac-12+ stream portal at Pac-12.com/live/USC-2.
SCOUTING REPORT - FRESNO STATE: The Bulldogs (7-3, 0-2 MPSF) opened the season with a three-game streak and have only lost games to Oregon and Colorado (in conference) and Coastal Carolina in a non-league matchup. Tiffany Wallace (30g, 9a) leads Fresno State with 39 points this season. Sarah Bloise has 27 goals and 11 assists (38 points) and is right behind Wallace. Bloise ranks third in the MPSF with 1.20 free-position goals per game and is fourth in draw controls with 3.90 per game. In goal, Laurel Maunder ranks second in the MPSF for saves (8.70 spg) sand save percentage (.481). Maunder also leads the Bulldogs with 20 ground balls. Alex Romanowski (15gb, 15ct) and Abigail Bergevin (18gb, 11ct) lead the defensive charge while Kyleigh Westgarth does a little of everything with 16 ground balls, 13 caused turnovers, and 34 draw controls.
SCOUTING REPORT - CALIFORNIA: The Golden Bears (2-9, 0-2 MPSF) have wins over Butler and Marquette, but have otherwise had a difficult time this season. Cal suffered a five-game losing streak between February 26 and the March 16 win over Marquette. Two of the losses were by one goal each time. The Bears are coming off two one-goal losses at San Diego State (14-13) and against Brown (14-13). Cal is led by Jena Fritts who has scored 28 goals (7a, 35pt) this season. Meredith Haggerty does a little of everything for the Bears with a team-high 24 draw controls, 14 ground balls, and 11 caused turnovers. Haggerty also has seven goals and six assists. In goal, Jenny Wilkens leads the MPSF with 89 saves (8.90 spg) and has a .426 save percentage. Elizabeth Pellechi has 17 goals and is followed by Susie Ropp who has 15.
LAST TIME OUT: The Trojans split games in the second of back-to-back road trips to the East Coast. USC dropped a tough 9-7 decision to No. 9-ranked Stony Brook but rebounded to take down Ohio State, 16-7, in a neutral-site contest at Mountain Lakes High School in Mountain Lakes, N.J.; the alma mater of head coach Lindsey Munday. Three Trojans scored two goals against the Seawolves, and USC out-scored SBU, 2-1, in the second half, but a 3-0 lead Stony Brook took to open the game proved too much to overcome. Against the Buckeyes, Michaela Michael's third-career six-goal performance and a pair of hat tricks by Kylie Drexel and Gabby McMahon led the Trojans to a bounce-back win.
HOME, SWEET HOME: USC has won 20 straight home games including those played at McAlister Field and at the LA Memorial Coliseum. The Trojans have won 18 straight at McAlister Field and own a 26-8 all-time record on home grass. USC has not lost at McAlister Field since April 18, 2014 (10-8 to Oregon).
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.
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 21 consecutive weeks ranked in the IWLCA poll (including 16 straight in the top 10) dating back to a No. 19 ranking in the 2016 preseason poll. The Trojans are 6-10 against teams ranked in the top 10 of the poll and are 1-7 against teams ranked among the top five.
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. On March 20, Senior attacker Michaela Michael was named the league's Offensive Player of the Week and Miller repeated her Rookie of the Week honors as the first MPSF player to do so this season. Michael was also chosen on March 27 for her eighth-career nod. In all, USC has had 28 MPSF weekly award winners: 11 offensive, 10 defensive, and seven rookie honors.