The Trojans exceeded expectations in their first year as a member of the MPSF. Picked to finish seventh, USC completed year one with a 5-3 mark in league games to claim the fourth and final spot in the federation’s postseason tournament.
Though everyone is a year older, the Women of Troy are still a squad dominated by youth. The Trojans welcomed 13 recruits to campus in the fall; a class touted as the 10th-ranked group by InsideLacrosse.
USC brings back a solid core of experience led by 2013 MPSF Rookie of the Year Amanda Johansen who set new single game (13) and single season (100) conference records for draw controls as a freshman. Johansen’s strength in the midfield is matched in the backfield by sophomore defender Courtney Tarleton who joined with Johansen for All-MPSF first team honors. Tarleton was among the league’s leaders for caused turnovers (32) and ground balls (40) as a freshman. On the attack, second-team All-MPSF attacker Caroline de Lyra returns for the Trojans after leading the team in points (93) on 51 goals and 42 assists.
In the goal, USC looks to sophomore goaltender Liz Shaeffer who put up 133 saves as a freshman (.393) and grabbed 24 ground balls. The Trojans will likely look for immediate contributions from its freshman class including attacker Kylie Drexel, midfielders Alex Moore, Michael Michael, and Danielle Doherty, as well as defender Nina Kelty.
LAST TIME OUT: Despite facing a last-minute venue change and inclement weather conditions, the Trojans came out of the gates firing and scored the first two goals against Marist. The Red Foxes had fight in them as they came back to tie the score, five-all, at halftime. USC had a balanced attack with four players scoring two goals apiece, and out-shot Marist, 28-22, but the Foxes were able to stave off the Trojans for a 12-10 win. USC also had more ground balls, 16-13, and fewer turnovers, but was outdone in the draw circle as Marist shined with a 15-8 advantage. Trojans fought to within two goals at 11-9 before one more goal by the Foxes put the game out of reach in the waning minutes of regulation.
SCOUTING BOSTON COLLEGE: Seventh-ranked Boston College (4-1) is coming off an impressive 15-3 road victory over Connecticut and dropped its only game to No. 2 Syracuse by a two-goal margin, 11-9, on Feb. 26. The Eagles earned a 15-10 win over an 11th-ranked Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., to open the season (Feb. 15) and also dominated New Hampshire, 17-8. Junior attacker Covie Stanwick leads the team with 24 points (11 goals, 13 assists). Junior midfielder Mikaela Rix tops all Eagles with 17 goals but is effective all over the field with nine ground balls (second on the team) and 13 draw controls (tied for first on the team). Senior defender Claire Blohm leads the team with 10 ground balls and has also nabbed eight draw controls. She paces the Eagles with five caused turnovers this season. Sophomore midfielder Sarah Manelly has scored 11 goals to go with six ground balls, five draw controls, and four caused turnovers. In goal, junior Emily Mata has produced 20 saves (.339 save percentage) to go with eight ground balls and holds a 10.04 goals-against average. This is the first meeting between USC and Boston College. Eagles head coach Acacia Walker matched a program record as she guided BC to 12 wins in her first year (2013). She was an assistant coach at Northwestern (2005-08) during USC head coach Lindsey Munday’s junior and senior seasons as a player and served alongside Munday as co-assistant coaches in 2007-08.