No. 5 USC Hosts No. 9 Stanford at LA Coliseum|
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April 21, 2016
GAME #17 | SENIOR DAY
LOS ANGELES -- The No. 5-ranked USC lacrosse team (15-0, 7-0 MPSF) enters the final weekend of the regular season as one of two undefeated teams in the nation (No. 1 Maryland, 15-0) and will host conference rival No. 9 Stanford (12-2, 7-0) at the LA Memorial Coliseum on Friday, April 22, at 4:30 p.m. PT with first place in the league standings on the line. The Women of Troy and the Cardinal will be shown live on Pac-12 Los Angeles and Pac-12 Bay Area with Christian Miles and Julianne Viani on the call.
On Sunday, April 24, USC will sew up the regular-season schedule with a noon PT game against UC Davis (6-6 ,4-3) at McAlister Field. Prior to the start of the game, the Trojans will honor their first-ever four-year senior class.
The Trojans currently lead the nation in scoring (15.36 gpg) and scoring defense (5.36 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 (3.57 gpg), points (5.36 ppg), and draw controls (5.21 dcpg).
LAST TIME OUT: USC posted a pair of key road victories over ranked teams this week. The Trojans exorcised the demons of a narrow 2014 overtime loss to Northwestern by defeating the 12th-ranked Wildcats, 14-11, in Evanston, Ill. It was USC’s first win over NU in four meetings. Then, representing two of the top five offenses in the country, USC and Notre Dame fought out a defensive battle that went down to the final minutes as the Trojans preserved a 5-4 win over the No. 6 Fighting Irish. Sophomore goalie Gussie Johns had seven saves against the Wildcats and produced her first double-digit game of the year with 10 saves against the Irish.
SCOUTING REPORT: NO. 9 STANFORD (12-2, 7-0 MPSF) has won six straight (all against MPSF foes) since suffering a 17-7 loss on the road at then No. 14 Stony Brook. The Cardinal's only other loss was a 13-9 decision on the road at No. 7-ranked Notre Dame to open the season. Stanford is led by junior attacker Kelsey Murray who has 57 points this season (37g, 20a). Senior attacker Anna Salemo is the next closest Cardinal with 32 points (26g, 6a). Sophomore midfielder Kelly Myers (24g, 2a) has 26 points and leads the team with 40 draw controls. Senior All-American midfielder Lucy Dikeou had 34 draw controls and 27 points (17g, 10a) before she was lost for the season to injury. In goal, Allie DaCar has a .524 save percentage and produces 7.43 saves per contest. The Trojans will meet the Cardinal for the fifth time. USC is 1-3 against Stanford and earned its only victory on April 20, 2014, in the LA Memorial Coliseum. The Trojans lost both their regular-season meeting and the MPSF title game against Stanford in 2015.
SCOUTING REPORT: UC DAVIS (6-6, 4-3 MPSF) enters the weekend coming off a 16-6 win over Fresno State, but dropped the two preceding games at Oregon (15-3) and at Stanford (13-6). In conference games, the Aggies have also defeated Saint Mary's College (19-7), Denver (13-6), and California (7-5). Senior attacker Ellie Delich leads UC Davis with 31 points (21g, 10a) on the season and is followed by freshman midfielder Taylor Cuenin's 22 points (19g, 3a), and senior midfielder Courtney Neff's 22 points (16g, 6a). On defense, Cuenin and senior midfielder Mary Doyle lead the Aggies with 15 caused turnovers each. Delich leads her team with 30 ground balls while Doyle has 26. Doyle also has 26 draw controls and is second behind sophomore midfielder Shannon Geary's 32 draw controls. In goal, sophomore Ali Lauren produces a .412 save percentage with a 9.88 goals-against average. The Trojans are 3-0 against the Aggies all-time.
ON THE HORIZON: The Women of Troy have already secured one of the top two spots in the upcoming MPSF tournament and will receive a by through the quarterfinals. USC’s next game will be on Friday, April 29, against an opponent still to be determined.
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).
HAT TRICK MAGIC: At least one Trojan has scored at least three goals in 14 of USC’s 15 games this season. Junior attacker Michaela Michael scored the team’s single-game high of seven goals in a win over Oregon on March 27.
LET’S GO STREAKING: The Trojans have opened the season 15-0 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 15-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 a 132-for-214 clearance rate. That’s a .617 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 414-227 clip.
A SHORT TIME COMING: USC has trailed its opponent for all of just 38 minutes and 40 seconds this season. Only Michigan (4:00), Oregon (8:57), Colorado (8:28), Northwestern (10:57), and Notre Dame (6:18) have held brief leads against USC this season, and only Northwestern by more than a single goal. The shortest time between any two USC goals in the same game was a grand total of eight seconds during the Oregon game (March 27); 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 for a total of nine awards 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 was selected twice (Feb. 22, April 11), sophomore midfielder Lydia Sutton (March 7), and sophomore goalie Gussie Johns (April 4, April 18) each received defensive awards. Michael has been honored a team-high five times (once as a Rookie of the Week). Overall, USC has had eight offensive and eight defensive award winners to go with five rookie honorees: 21 overall.