No. 9 USC Takes On No. 6 Colorado at LA Coliseum|
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April 11, 2017
GAME #15 SENIOR DAY
LOS ANGELES -- The ninth-ranked USC lacrosse team (11-3, 5-0 MPSF) hosts No. 6 Colorado (12-1, 4-0) at the LA Memorial Coliseum on Friday (April 14) in a pivotal MPSF contest that will shape the seeding berths in the upcoming conference tournament. With a 5-0 record in league games, the Women of Troy have already clinched a spot in their fifth consecutive postseason tourney while the Buffaloes come in with the only other unblemished MPSF record (4-0) and a favored position as the higher ranked team.
USC has won five straight games overall and is on a 15-game MPSF regular-season winning streak that dates back to the end of 2015. The Trojans also ride a 22-game home winning streak (20 at McAlister Field and two at the LA Memorial Coliseum). USC leads the MPSF in goals (15.36 gpg) and goals-against average (6.55 gaa). The Trojan defense is tops in the nation.
The Women of Troy are led by two-time All-American attacker Michaela Michael (53g, 14a, 93dc) who has been named the MPSF Offensive Player of the Week each of the last four weeks. Michael is the league's all-time leader in draw controls (368) and ranks second in career goals (209). She guides a potent scoring attack with fellow seniors Kylie Drexel (21g, 13a), Gabby McMahon (23g, 6a), and Cynthia Del Core (26g, 21a). Del Core is one of the top assist-women in the league.
Junior goalie Gussie Johns leads the NCAA in goals-against average (6.83 gaa) and leads the MPSF in ground balls (4.07 gbpg). Freshman midfielder Kerrigan Miller (26g, 10a) has five hat tricks in 14 games and is a two-time MPSF Rookie of the Week selection. She does a little of everything with 29 ground balls and 21 draw controls and caused turnovers. On defense, senior Nina Kelty (20gb, 9ct) and junior Lydia Sutton (25gb, 20ct) anchor the Trojans' back line.
SENIOR DAY 2017: The Women of Troy will honor the careers of seniors Cynthia Del Core, Kylie Drexel, Drew Jackson, Nina Kelty, Gabby McMahon, and Michaela Michael when USC hosts Colorado at the LA Memorial Coliseum on Friday (April 14). This senior class has individuals who rank among the top 10 of the program's offensive career statistics including Michael who is the program's first All-American and a 10-time MPSF Player of the Week honoree.
A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN: The Trojans clinched a spot in their fifth consecutive MPSF tournament with their fifth win of the season (15-3 over San Diego State). USC won both the MPSF regular-season and tournament title last season. Previously, the Trojans advanced to their first MPSF final in 2015 and were semifinalists (2013) and quarterfinalists (2014) in the two previous seasons. USC has won 15 straight MPSF regular-season games dating back to the end of the 2015 season. The Trojans were undefeated in league contests in 2016 (9-0).
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 - NO. 6 COLORADO: The Buffaloes (12-1, 4-0 MPSF) are coming off a 13-8 win over Stanford; the program's first over the Cardinal. Previously, Colorado had dropped a 10-6 decision to fifth-ranked Stony Brook on the road; a loss that snapped an 11-0 start to its season. The Buffs have four wins over ranked opponents including an 11-10 overtime victory over No. 9 Northwestern and a 16-11 win over Penn State on the road. They also defeated No. 16 Massachusetts, 11-7, at a neutral location, and took down No. 14 Denver at home, 14-3. Colorado leads the MPSF in draw controls (14.69 dcpg) and in save percentage (.553). The Buffs are also second in the league and in the nation in overall defense (7.15 gaa) thanks to senior goalie Paige Soenksen. Soenksen has a .554 save percentage with a 7.45 goals-against average. Darby Kiernan leads the league with 6.85 draw controls per game and is the top CU scorer with 35 goals (2.91 gpg) and 16 assists (1.23 apg). On defense, Sarah Brown has 25 ground balls, 21 draw controls, and 20 caused turnovers to lead the Buffaloes. Colorado scores behind Kiernan with Katie Macleay (27g, 13g), Johnna Fusco (32g, 6a), and Miranda Stinson (19g, 15a). Carly Cox (20g, 11a) and Cali Castagnola (23g, 6a) bolster the Buffalo attack. USC is 2-1 in three all-time games with CU. The Buffaloes pulled off a 12-11 overtime buzzer-beater victory in Boulder in the teams' first meeting in 2014, but USC claimed a 12-9 win at McAlister Field (2015) and a narrow 9-8 win at Boulder (2016).
HOME, SWEET HOME: USC has won 22 straight home games including those played at McAlister Field and at the LA Memorial Coliseum. The Trojans have won 20 straight at McAlister Field and own a 28-8 all-time record on home grass. USC has not lost at McAlister Field since April 18, 2014 (10-8 to Oregon).
LAST TIME OUT: The Trojans picked up their third and fourth straight double-digit victories with road wins at Oregon (17-7) and at San Diego State (15-3). Michaela Michael scored six goals against the Ducks and had seven more against the Aztecs. She has had at least four goals in eight of USC's last nine games. Cynthia Del Core and Kerrigan Miller each picked up hat tricks during the road trip, during which the Women of Troy improved to 5-0 in MPSF games to clinch the first spot in the postseason conference tournament.
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 23 consecutive weeks ranked in the IWLCA poll (including 18 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.
POW WOW: Senior attacker Michaela Michael was named the MPSF Offensive Player of the Week for the fourth straight week (ninth career) on April 10. In all, including a Rookie of the Week award, Michael has been chosen for MPSF weekly honors 10 times. Trojans have been tabbed for MPSF weekly awards eight times this season. 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. On March 20, Michael and Miller repeated. Michael was also chosen on March 27 for her eighth-career nod and then again on April 3 for her ninth. On April 3, freshman midfielder Kaeli Huff was named Rookie of the Week for the first time in her career. In all, USC has had 31 MPSF weekly award winners: 13 offensive, 10 defensive, and eight rookie honors.