USC Faces Oregon In First MPSF Road Challenge|
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March 31, 2015
LOS ANGELES - The USC women's lacrosse team (7-3, 3-0 MPSF) turns its attention to the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation with the Trojans' final six regular-season games against conference foes. The Women of Troy start with their first league road test when USC takes on Oregon (8-3, 2-1) on Friday, April 3, at 1 p.m. PT. The Trojans and Ducks will meet at Papé Field in Eugene, Ore., and play on a live Pac-12 Networks broadcast with Jason Knapp and Kara Lentz on the call.
Off to its best start in a short three-year history, USC recently had a program-best seven-game winning streak snapped by No. 2-ranked Boston College and looks to start another streak with conference standing implications on the line. The Trojans must play four of their final six games away from home, and have to face the top half of the league's standings in the coming weeks.
In three MPSF games (all at home), USC has outscored its opponents, 55-18, and holds a 54-24 edge in the center circle. The Trojans have defeated Fresno State (17-6), California (18-5), and Saint Mary's College (20-7) in their league contests. The Women of Troy have controlled the tempo against league foes to the tune of a 31.7 to 8.7 shots per game differential.
The Trojans' offense is led by junior attacker Caroline de Lyra, who has 42 points (21g, 21a). De Lyra ranks second in the MPSF for assists and points, and is tied for 10th in goals. Sophomore attacker Michaela Michael is the MPSF draw control leader with 64 (6.40 dcpg) and has 26 goals and five assists this season. Junior midfielder Amanda Johansen also has 26 goals to go with three assists and is second on the team with 30 draw controls. Michael and Johansen each rank fifth in the league for goals (2.60 gpg). Attacker Kylie Drexel has produced 21 points (12g, 9a) in a breakout sophomore season.
USC's offensive line also features depth as eight other players have scored more than one goal this season. Sophomore attacker Caroline Cordrey has 12 goals off the bench and is a threat to dodge her way to the goal at any time. Sophomore attackers Cynthia Del Core (9g, 2a) and Annie Ruland (6g, 5a) are integral pieces of the Trojan attack.
Defensively, junior Courtney Tarleton leads a stingy Trojan backline with 11 caused turnovers and has 12 ground balls. Freshman goalie Gussie Johns tops all Trojans with 26 ground balls and has six caused turnovers when she steps out of the crease. Johns has produced 37 saves (.346) with a 7.70 goals-against average that leads the MPSF and ranks 13th in the country. Senior defender Elizabeth Eddy has 12 ground balls (7 dc, 7 ct). Sophomore Nina Kelty rounds out the Trojans' defense with five ground balls, four draw controls, and four caused turnovers. The USC defense has successfully cleared the ball in 75 of 88 attempts (.852) and is partially responsible for holding opponents to a .636 clearance rate (89-of-140).
SCOUTING OREGON (8-3, 2-1 MPSF): is coming off a split weekend on the East Coast much like the Trojans. The Ducks beat LIU Brooklyn, 19-8, but fell to No. 16 Stony Brook, 16-3. Oregon earned its conference victories over Saint Mary's (21-3) and Fresno State (14-7) and lost its one league game in overtime to San Diego State, 8-7. The Ducks rank second in the MPSF in goals-against average (7.84 gaa) thanks to freshman goalie Janelle Parker (8.76 gaa). Parker also has 12 ground balls this season. Junior midfielder Carly O'Connell leads the Ducks with 32 points (21g, 11a) and 40 draw controls. O'Connell is also second on the team with 11 caused turnovers and third with 18 ground balls. Senior attacker Olivia Pyne has scored 23 goals (7a, 30pts) while junior midfielder Holly Johnson (15g, 9a), senior midfielder Hayley Milner (19g, 4a), and junior attacker Courtney Valdez (16g, 4a) are all over the 20-point plateau. Freshman attacker Cambi Cukar leads the Ducks with 23 assists (5g) and has 28 points. Junior defenders Ali Scharkey and Jackie Moccia each lead Oregon with 23 ground balls apiece. The Ducks lead the all-time series with USC, 2-1. The Trojans stunned Oregon at Papé Field in 2013 with a 12-10 win, but the Ducks got revenge with a 10-8 victory at McAlister in 2014. The two teams met once more in the 2014 MPSF Tournament quarterfinals where the Ducks pulled out a 7-6 win to advance.
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. All of USC's non-televised home games at McAlister Field will be webcast on the USCTrojans.com Pac-12 Networks portal.
LAST TIME OUT: The Trojans returned to the East Coast for a second time this season and came away with a split. USC defeated Dartmouth, 9-7, to extend its program-best winning streak to seven games. The Trojans then ran into a second-ranked Boston College team in Newton, Mass., and pushed the Eagles, before they fell, 16-12, to have their streak snapped. The two games were the final non-conference games for USC, which will play only MPSF opponents in their final six regular-season contests.
MPSF WEEKLY HONORS: The MPSF has honored Trojans for four weekly awards this season. Junior attacker Caroline de Lyra and senior defender Elizabeth Eddy received offensive and defensive player of the week honors on Feb. 9. Sophomore attacker Kylie Drexel was named for the offensive award and was joined by freshman goalie Gussie Johns who took home Rookie of the Week honors on March 16.
POLL POSITION: On Feb. 9, 2015, USC received its first-ever votes in both the IWLCA (Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association) poll and the Inside Lacrosse media poll. Just outside the top-20 rankings, the Trojans were No. 22 (IWLCA) and No. 21 (Inside Lacrosse) respectively. Since that week, the Women of Troy have been intermittently featured on ballots to receive votes in subsequent pollings.