The wait is finally over. On February 9, one of the oldest sports in North America will receive its place among the history books of the University of Southern California when the Women of Troy take the field at the historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for the first-ever varsity women’s lacrosse game.
USC announced it would make women’s lacrosse its 21st intercollegiate sport on Nov. 18, 2010. More than two years later, the dream has become a reality. To lead the program, the Trojans hired one of the most accomplished players in the history of collegiate lacrosse: Lindsey Munday.
Munday starred on the field for Northwestern where the Wildcats won their first two NCAA titles behind her contributions. NWU has since gone on to win seven of the last eight national titles. Fittingly, Munday and the Trojans will christen the USC program with a season-opener against Northwestern and Munday’s former coach and mentor Kelly Amonte Hiller.
“Everyone is excited to finally get this off the ground,” said Munday. “Especially the players we had last season. They’ve been training for a year and a half without a real game to play, so I think everyone’s really, really, anxious and excited to get the ball rolling.”
The Trojans will field a squad of 26 players in their first year; 17 of which are true freshmen, handpicked by Munday and her staff of highly touted assistants. Devon Wills–a star goalie from Dartmouth–will coordinate the defensive side of the field and carries a lofty list of credentials, not the least of which includes a selection to the 2013 US women’s national team. Hilary Bowen–an offensive standout for Northwestern–will coordinate the Trojan attack. Bowen herself has a mantle to be envious of with four NCAA titles and two NCAA finals MVP honors to boast of.
Munday’s list of accomplishments is unrivaled with two NCAA titles as a player, three more as an assistant coach, and twice finishing as a semifinalist for the prestigious Tewaaraton Trophy. USC’s first lacrosse coach also serves as the team captain for Team USA as one of 18 members of the 2013 national team. For Munday, the Trojans’ first game will be particularly special as she opens her career as a head coach against her long-time mentor Amonte Hiller.
“It is so special to have our first game be against Northwestern,” said Munday. “I think for myself and for Hilary [Bowen], it’s extra special to play against the Wildcats. Kelly [Amonte Hiller] has taught us everything and has been such a great mentor for me. For our players, I think it will be great, too, to open up against the team that’s won seven of the last eight national championships and to really see where we’re at. It will certainly give us a great test, right off the bat.”
The Trojans will call McAlister Field home during the regular season. Thanks to a generous donation from Hobart and Soni McAlister in 1998, USC has had a place to host fall home women’s soccer games for over a decade and a half. Now, the lacrosse team will share the space as tenants of the venerable home field. Before the Trojans play host to Massachusetts at McAlister, their game against Northwestern will take place at the Coliseum.