No. 7 Trojans Ride Out to Rockies to Meet Colorado and Denver|
Follow, Like, and Insta with @USCTrojansLax
April 4, 2016
LOS ANGELES -- The No. 7-ranked USC lacrosse team (11-0, 5-0 MPSF) taps the Rockies this weekend with visits to Colorado (8-3, 3-1) and Denver (4-7, 1-3). The Women of Troy and the Buffaloes will meet at Kittredge Field in Boulder, Colo., on Friday, April 8, in a 2 p.m. MT (1 p.m. PT) game that will be carried live on Pac-12 Los Angeles and Pac-12 Mountain. The Trojans then meet the Pioneers at Peter Barton Stadium in Denver on Sunday, April 10, at noon MT (11 a.m. PT) for a game to be broadcast live on Altitude TV.
USC, on a program-best 11-game winning streak, heads into tough territory. The Women of Troy are just 1-4 all-time in games played in the state of Colorado. The Trojans dropped games to both these teams and then lost to Oregon in the MPSF tournament back in 2014. Last season, USC earned its lone win over Denver in the MPSF tourney semifinals but lost to Stanford in the title game. Despite the history, this Trojan squad is on a tear and currently leads the nation in scoring (16.64 gpg) and scoring defense (4.55 gaa).
Junior attacker and Tewaaraton Award candidate Michaela Michael is making a strong bid to repeat as the MPSF Player of the Year as the conference's leader in goals (4.00 gpg), points (5.73 ppg), and draw controls (5.36 dcpg). Sophomore goaltender Gussie Johns leads the league in save percentage (.527) and leads the NCAA in goals-against average (4.70 gaa).
SCOUTING REPORT: COLORADO (8-3, 3-1 MPSF) is coming off a 12-10 loss on the road at a then No. 12-ranked Stanford. All three of the Buffaloes' losses have been on the road to ranked foes: 14-4 at No. 7 Notre Dame, and 11-6 at No. 7 Northwestern. Colorado's offense features a five-headed balanced attack with Darby Kiernan leading the way with 29 points (23g, 6a). Cali Castagnola has 27 (20g, 7a), Johnna Fusco has 26 (19g, 7a), Carly Cox has 24 (18g, 6a), and Sarah Lautman has scored all 17 of her points on goals. Marie Moore leads the team with 37 draw controls and is second with 25 ground balls. In goal, Paige Soenksen is second in the MPSF with a 7.97 goals-against average. Soenksen leads the Buffs with 27 ground balls. USC and Colorado are tied in their all-time series. The Buffs won the first meeting (2014), 12-11, in overtime, but the Trojans took a 12-9 win at McAlister Field in 2015.
SCOUTING REPORT: DENVER (4-7, 1-3 MPSF) has dropped three of its last four games and is coming off back-to-back losses in the Bay Area to No. 12 Stanford (9-5) and to UC Davis (13-6). The Pioneers have failed to win back-to-back games this season and own victories over Fresno State, Brown, Fairfield, and Marquette. Christa Reese leads Denver with 26 points (22g, 4a). Layne Voorhees is the team leader with 29 ground balls and is second in draw controls and caused turnovers with 13 each. Casey White (11g), Kendra Lanuza (10g), and Elizabeth Behrins (10g) are Denver's other scorers. In goal, Maddy Stevenson holds an 8.53 goals-against average with a .436 save percentage. She also has 16 ground balls and is one of 10 Pioneers with double-digit ground balls this season. Denver owns a 3-2 lead in the all-time series with the Trojans, but earned its three wins in 2013 and '14. The Trojans beat the Pioneers, 16-4, at home last season, and 17-9, in the MPSF Tournament semifinals.
LAST TIME OUT: USC extended its school-record winning streak to 11 games with a pair of 14-point victories; 17-3 over Fresno State and 20-6 over San Diego State. The Women of Troy improved to 5-0 in MPSF games for the third time in three seasons and earned their seventh and eighth double-digit wins of the season. USC's win over SDSU was its 14th straight home victory and improved the Trojans to 22-8 all-time at McAlister Field.
ON THE HORIZON: Next week, plays the back end of a four-game road swing with a visit to Northwestern (April 15) and then to Notre Dame (April 18). The games will be tough road tests against ranked foes. The Trojans and the Fighting Irish will be broadcast live on ESPN3.
HOME, SWEET HOME: The Women of Troy have won 14 straight games at McAlister Field and own a 22-8 all-time record on the home field. This year, the Trojans finally played their season opener on McAlister Field and won their season opener for the first time. The Trojans have not lost there since April 18, 2014 (10-8 to Oregon).
LET'S GO STREAKING: The Trojans have opened the season 11-0 to mark the best start for the program in its four-year history. In each of the three previous seasons, USC started 0-2 before the team picked up its first win. The 11-game winning streak is also in the record books as the longest in school history, breaking a seven-game streak that was set in 2015 between Feb. 22 and March 28.
MPSF START: The Trojans have traditionally had strong starts to league play. In 2013, USC opened with two wins against MPSF foes. In 2014, the Trojans went 5-0 to start league games. In 2015, the Trojans were 7-0 against MPSF teams before suffering their only loss to Stanford. That year, USC finished second to the Cardinal but earned one of two first-round byes at the MPSF Tournament and later played in the tournament's title game.
RIDE WITH ME: USC has made the transition game a nightmare for opponents this season. The ride is anything but smooth for those who traverse the neutral zone against USC to the tune of an 84-for-151 clearance rate. That's a .556 success rate. As such, the Trojans have been able to out-shoot their opponent in all but one game this season and are out-shooting foes by a 336-142 clip.
A SHORT TIME COMING: USC has trailed its opponent for all of just 12 minutes and 57 seconds this season. The Trojans were down, 1-0, to Michigan between the 28:00 and 24:00 of the first half and trailed Oregon for 8:57 during two segments of the first half as the Ducks ran a slow offense to keep the Trojans off the ball. The shortest time between any two USC goals in the same game was a grand total of eight seconds during the Oregon game; Michaela Michael scored one goal, won the next draw, and scored eight seconds later. On the flip side, the Trojans have also effectively held opponents off with a stretch of more than 30 minutes without goals from Michigan and a dry spell that lasted more than 25 minutes against Duke. The Trojans held California scoreless for 41:24 to end the game on March 18.
TWO TEW WATCH: Senior midfielder Amanda Johansen and junior attacker Michaela Michael were each named to the first official Tewaaraton Award Watch List on Feb. 23. They are the first Trojans ever to be listed on the Tewaaraton watch list. Johansen was the MPSF Rookie of the Year in 2013. Michael was the 2015 MPSF Player of the Year and is the program's first-ever IWLCA All-American (third team in 2015).
MPSF PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: Five different Trojans have won MPSF Player of the Week honors this season. Junior attacker Michaela Michael was named the MPSF Offensive Player of the Week three times (Feb. 15, Mar. 7, and Mar. 28). Junior attacker Kylie Drexel was chosen on March 21. Senior Courtney Tarleton (Feb. 22), sophomore midfielder Lydia Sutton (March 7) and sophomore goalie Gussie Johns (April 4) each received defensive awards. Michael has been honored five times (once as a Rookie of the Week). Overall, USC has had eight offensive and six defensive award winners to go with five rookie honorees: 19 overall.