No. 8 USC Wraps Regular Season in Northern California|
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April 18, 2017
LOS ANGELES -- The No, 8-ranked USC lacrosse team (12-3, 6-0 MPSF) wraps its regular-season schedule with a pair of games in Northern California this weekend. The Trojans carry a six-game winning streak into a meeting with perennial conference powerhouse Stanford (10-4, 5-1) on Friday (April 21) at Cagan Stadium in Stanford, Calif. USC and the Cardinal will appear live on Pac-12 Los Angeles and Bay Area. The Women of Troy then play their final MPSF regular-season game at UC Davis (6-9, 2-4) on Sunday (April 23) at noon. The Trojans and the Aggies will be streamed live on the UC Davis Lacrosse Facebook page.
USC is on a 16-game MPSF regular-season winning streak; two wins from tying the league record set by Denver (2013-15). The Trojans have held each of their six MPSF opponents to single-digit goals; all to seven goals or fewer. In those six games, the Trojans are outscoring opponents, 17.50 to 4.33 (+13.17 goals per game). USC leads the MPSF in goals (15.07 gpg) and goals-against average (6.45 gaa).
Two-time All-American attacker Michaela Michael (54g, 16a, 97dc) leads the Trojans and guides a potent scoring attack with fellow seniors Kylie Drexel (24g, 14a), Gabby McMahon (25g, 6a), and Cynthia Del Core (28g, 22a). Junior goalie Gussie Johns leads the NCAA in goals-against average (6.69 gaa) and leads the MPSF in ground balls (4.00 gbpg). Freshman midfielder Kerrigan Miller (27g, 12a) has five hat tricks and on defense, senior Nina Kelty (21gb, 10ct) and junior Lydia Sutton (28gb, 21ct) anchor the Trojans' back line.
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). A win over Stanford (April 21) would secure the top seed in the tourney for the second straight season. USC won both the MPSF regular-season and tournament title in 2016. 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 16 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).
SCOUTING REPORT - STANFORD: The Cardinal (10-4, 5-1 MPSF) has won three straight games since dropping its only league game to Colorado. Stanford had won six straight before it suffered road losses to Yale and the Buffaloes. The Cardinal is 5-1 at home with a 10-7 result against Denver as the only blemish. Stanford leads the league in shots (33.29) and shots on goal (25.64) per game and is led by the defending MPSF Offensive Player of the Week Kelsey Murray who leads the league with 4.71 points per game. In goal, Allie DaCar ranks third in the MPSF for goals-against average (10.73 gaa) and is fifth in save percentage (.429). The Trojans have won three straight against the Cardinal. All three wins came at the end of the 2016 season: in the regular season, in the MPSF semifinals, and in the NCAA second round.
SCOUTING REPORT - UC DAVIS: The Aggies (6-9, 2-4 MPSF) have dropped three of their last four contests. UC Davis' only win in that span was a 16-7 finish over Fresno State. The Aggies are the third-best team in the MPSF for assists (5.93 apg) and ground balls (18.00 gbpg). Two-time MPSF Defensive Player of the Week Taylor Cuenin leads the league in caused turnovers with 3.77 per game. She also leads the MPSF with 5.15 shots on goal per game. Cuenin ranks second with 3.92 ground balls per outing. In goal, Lauren Ali is fifth in the conference with a 12.00 goals-against average. On offense, Amanda Outcalt leads the Aggies with 16 assists while Cuenin is the leader with 38 goals this season. The Trojans are 4-0 in all-time meetings against the Aggies. USC has outscored UC Davis, 37-12, in the two games played in Davis, Calif.
LAST TIME OUT: The Trojans fought off a 5-4 halftime deficit and outscored No. 6 Colorado, 7-0, to claim an 11-5 win over the Buffaloes at the LA Memorial Coliseum on Senior Day. Kylie Drexel scored her 13th-career hat trick to power the Trojan attack while Gussie Johns had nine saves and picked up three ground balls to command a stalwart defensive effort. The Women of Troy improved to 4-2 in games played at the Coliseum and extended their MPSF regular-season winning streak to 16 consecutive games. Overall, it was USC's season-high sixth straight victory.
HOME, SWEET HOME: USC has won 23 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).
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 24 consecutive weeks ranked in the IWLCA poll (including 19 straight in the top 10) dating back to a No. 19 ranking in the 2016 preseason poll. The Trojans are 7-10 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. 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 nine times this season. Junior goalie Gussie Johns and freshman midfielder Kerrigan Miller received MPSF Defensive Player and Rookie of the Week honors, following USC's thrilling 11-10 overtime victory over No. 9 Northwestern. Johns later was chosen for the defensive award again on April 17. 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 32 MPSF weekly award winners: 13 offensive, 11 defensive, and eight rookie honors.
CORE POWER: Senior attacker Cynthia Del Core's 11-point outburst in USC's 19-8 win over Dartmouth (March 17) set a new single-game school record. She broke the previous record of nine points reached by Michaela Michael once and six other times by Caroline deLyra. Del Core reached new career highs in goals (5) and assists (6) and posted the highest point total in a single game by an MPSF player in four years: since Denver's Jill Remenapp had 12 points in a game in 2013. The 11 points tied for fifth in MPSF single-game history and her six assists tied the USC single-game record held by Michael and deLyra (six times).