LOS ANGELES - The USC women’s lacrosse team gets settled into its regular-season routine, this week, and welcomes Presbyterian College to McAlister Field for a Friday-afternoon bout on Feb. 15. The Women of Troy opened their inaugural season as hosts of national powerhouses Northwestern and Massachusetts, last weekend, and got their feet wet in a big way.
The 26-player Trojan roster features 17 freshmen and is without a single senior. Freshman midfielder Amanda Johansen scored USC’s first goal in program history at the 17:44 mark of the first half against NU. Freshman attacker Caroline de Lyra was credited with the assist on Johansen’s goal and scored a goal of her own in the second half. Johansen also etched her name into the history books as the first to garner a draw control for the Women of Troy.
In goal, USC got back-to-back phenomenal performances by freshman netminder Liz Shaeffer who had 18 saves against Northwestern and 12 more against Massachusetts. Though the Trojans lost both games, USC showed that it could hang with the big-time programs in its first weekend of action. In fact, the Trojans claimed a two-goal lead over the Minutewomen with just two minutes left in the first half. UMass fought back to tie the score at halftime, and eventually took the game, but USC put up a big fight from start to finish.
Through the first two games of the season, de Lyra leads the team with seven points (3 goals, 4 assists) and has taken a team-high eight shots. Freshman attacker Paige Bonomi also has three goals on just four shots. Freshman attacker Caroline Cordrey has gone hard to the goal each time and has taken seven shots that have yielded two goals.
On the defensive side of the field, freshman captain Courtney Tarleton leads the Women of Troy with six ground balls with Cordrey next in line with four. In the center circle, Johansen has grabbed seven draw controls. Four others have scored at least one goal, in the first two games.
Not only did USC play a pair of top-15 ranked teams (including No. 1-ranked Northwestern) in its opening weekend, the Trojans also played their only back-to-back games of the year. From here on out, USC will have more than one night’s rest between games. The Trojans host a Presbyterian team that has lost 11 straight road games and is coming off a 23-0 loss to seventh-ranked Duke. USC then gets Saint Mary’s College, at home, the following weekend; a team that went 3-12 a year ago and was picked to finish last in the MPSF.
USC and head coach Lindsey Munday can grab their first wins in program history with a solid performance against the Blue Hose and can pull even with another win, a week later, against the Gaels.
STARS AND STRIPES: Head coach Lindsey Munday and assistant coach Devon Wills are each current members of the U.S. women’s national team that is set to compete in Oshawa, Ontario, for the 2013 FIL World Cup. Both players were members of the 2009 squad that won the World Cup. This time, Munday will also assume duties as the team captain when Team USA defends its world title.
STRONG START: The Trojans opened the program’s first season with a tall order as they faced a pair of ranked teams including top-ranked two-time defending NCAA champion Northwestern. NU went 21-2 in 2012 as it captured its seventh national crown in eight years. USC had just one night’s rest before it hosted a 14th-ranked Massachusetts squad that was 19-2 overall in 2012. The Trojans fell, 18-5, against the Wildcats, and fought hard but were turned away, 18-9, by the Minutewomen.
KEEP TRACK OF THE TROJANS: Fans of USC women’s lacrosse can follow the Trojans on Twitter. For a behind-the-scenes look at the program, scores, and news updates, follow @USCTrojansLax. All of USC’s home games at McAlister Field will be webcast on USCTrojans.com via the Pac-12 Networks web portal.
CHECK YOUR LOCAL LISTINGS: USC’s game against Oregon on Thursday, April 4, will be broadcast live on the Pac-12 Networks. The Trojans and the Ducks are set to draw at center circle of Pape Field at 4:30 p.m. PT.
EAST MEETS WEST: USC’s first-ever varsity lacrosse squad features 15 players that hail from the East Coast. Seven come from New York, six call New Jersey home, and two are from Connecticut and Virginia. The Trojans have six players from California, a pair from Washington, and one, each, from Oregon and Colorado. The only player from a Midwest state is Caitlin Campion who hails from Western Springs in Illinois.
WORK IT OUT: Freshman attacker Katie Austin is the daughter of legendary fitness guru Denise Austin. The elder Austin is a well-known fitness instructor, author, columnist, and a former member of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. Katie’s aunt is former U.S. Open tennis champion Tracy Austin, and her older sister Kelly Austin starred in women’s lacrosse for Virginia.
DOUBLE AGENT: Junior midfielder Elizabeth Eddy is also a three-time letterwinner on USC’s women’s soccer team. Eddy was second on the team in scoring as a freshman with five goals. She once scored three in a single game against Cal on Oct. 10, 2010. The soccer forward led the Trojans with four goals in 2011 and was an All-Pac-12 honorable mention. Eddy’s father Park Eddy played water polo for USC and was a member of the U.S. national team. She is also the great granddaughter of Arnold Eddy who was a head administrator in the USC athletic department in the 1930’s and 40’s.
SISTER SLEDGE: Freshman attacker Caroline de Lyra got the rare opportunity to face her older sister Alexa in her first-ever collegiate lacrosse game. The elder de Lyra is a senior midfielder for Northwestern. Both sisters wear No. 25 on their backs and each guarded the other during the contest on Feb. 9. Caroline got on the board with an assist and a goal against the Wildcats.
SEVENTH HEAVEN: In a preseason poll of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation’s (MPSF) head coaches, the Women of Troy were selected to finish in seventh place in their inaugural season. USC received 24 points in the poll to finish ahead of Fresno State and Saint Mary’s College. For the fourth straight season, the coaches selected Stanford to win the league title.
TOURNAMENT TIME: The Trojans will compete in the West Coast’s premiere league for collegiate women’s lacrosse, the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. The conference’s top four regular-season finishers will converge upon Eugene, Ore., where Pape Field plays host to the 2013 MPSF Tournament hosted by the University of Oregon, May 3-5. Last year, the Ducks finished with a 7-0 mark and upended seven-time defending conference champ Stanford in the title match to earn the league’s automatic berth into the NCAA championships.
FIELD OF DREAMS: To accommodate the national growth of the sport, the NCAA expanded the lacrosse tournament field from what was previously 16 teams to 26 teams in time for the 2013 championship. Now, all 13 conference champions will receive automatic bids while 13 more teams will earn at-large selections. The top eight teams will be seeded in the bracket and will host first- and second-round games. The top six seeded teams receive byes into the second round and serve as hosts for a neutral-site first-round game. The first-round winners then play at the top six seeded teams. Teams seeded seventh and eighth will also host, but will have to play a first-round game. The national quarterfinals are set for on-campus sites May 18 or 19, with the four winners advancing to the finals May 24-26.
LAXIN’ FOR CHANGE: Assistant coach Hilary Bowen is the Women’s Program Representative for an organization called Fields of Growth International that aims to harness the passion of the lacrosse community into positive social impact through global leadership development, service, and by growing the game. In the summer of 2012, Bowen joined the organization in Uganda for a special summer mission. Visit her blog Laxin4Change.blogspot.com to learn more about her, and the organization’s mission.
VALID ID: The USC women’s lacrosse team helps the Trojans turn 21. The Women of Troy become the famed athletic program’s 21st sport. It is the 12th women’s sport among the Trojans’ 21. USC women’s teams have won 23 national titles (14 NCAA) and lay claim to 64 individual national crowns.
BEACH BUMS: The USC coaching staff has truly soaked up all that is Southern California life. Strap on your rollerblades or hop on your bike and you might just run into them on The Strand (a bike path that runs along LA’s trio of South Bay beach cities). Head coach Lindsey Munday lives in Manhattan Beach, assistant coach Devon Wills is just down the street in Hermosa Beach, while assistant coach Hilary Bowen and director of operations Regan Bosch are just a stone’s throw away in Redondo Beach.