It is said that success comes to those who wait, and for the newly formed USC women’s lacrosse team, this is undoubtedly true.
After more than two years of waiting following the announcement of its inclusion as a varsity sport, USC will host its first varsity women’s lacrosse game on Saturday, Feb. 9, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum against two-time defending NCAA champion Northwestern.
Leading the Women of Troy in their first match is USC coach Lindsey Munday, whose collegiate lacrosse career is among the most successful in the history of the sport. During her playing career at Northwestern, the Wildcats won the NCAA title in 2005 and 2006, becoming the first school outside the Eastern time zone to do so. Additionally, Munday twice earned first-team All-American honors and finished her career as the school’s all-time leader in assists.
“Everyone is excited to finally get this off the ground,” Munday told USCTrojans.com. “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.”
Women’s lacrosse will become USC’s 21st intercollegiate sport and 12th women’s sport.
The team’s 26-player roster comprises 17 true freshmen, seven sophomores and just two juniors. The group of young players was picked by Munday and her two assistants: Devon Wills, defensive assistant, and Hilary Bowen, offensive assistant.
Welcoming the Women of Troy into the Division I ranks will be mighty Northwestern, winners of seven of the past eight NCAA titles and a preseason favorite to contend for the 2013 championship. Munday’s excitement to start the season was only increased by the opportunity to square off against her alma mater.
“It is so special to have our first game be against Northwestern,” Munday told USCTrojans.com. “I think for myself and Hilary [Bowen, also an NU alum], it’s extra special to play against the Wildcats … For our players, I think it will be great, too, to open up against the team that has won seven of the last eight national championships. It will certainly give us a great test, right off the bat.”
After the opening game at the Coliseum, USC will play the remainder of its home games at McAlister Field during the regular season, the same site as the school’s women’s soccer team. Though the task ahead will be tough, the early season games against top opponents will provide the young players a chance to rise to the level of play that they hope to emulate as the women’s lacrosse program expands.
As a program, the team has taken a baptism-by-fire approach in formulating its schedule. USC will face tough teams from the eastern region of the country, where lacrosse is a more prominent sport. Early season games against Northwestern and Massachusetts will test the Women of Troy right out of the gate before conference play begins.
Other non-conference games include road trips to Bryant in Smithfield, R.I. and Brown in Providence, R.I. USC will then return home for games against Denver, California and Fresno State. On April 4 the team will square off against Oregon in Eugene for the first-ever live broadcast game for USC on the Pac-12 Network.
Players who are expected to lead the inaugural team include freshmen Caroline de Lyra of Brightwaters, N.Y., and Amanda Johnson of Glen Head, N.Y. De Lyra was named an Under Armour All-American during her senior year at Bay Shore High School and was a member of the U15 United States National Team. Johnson attended North Shore High School and was named an All-American during her senior year.
Additional players who are expected to be main contributors include freshmen Caroline Cordrey of Summit, N.J. and Courtney Tarleton of Ridgewood, N.J. Cordrey was ranked as the No. 24 player in the nation by ESPNRise and is Summit High School’s all-time leader in scoring with 224 career goals. Tarleton, who was named one of the team’s captains, was a two-time All-County selection in high school and was a part of three New Jersey state championship teams.
USC will compete in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, where it was picked to finish seventh in a preseason poll conducted by members of the media. The team’s first conference game is scheduled for Feb. 24th at McAlister Field against Saint Mary’s College. The historic season opener against Northwestern is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m.