The USC women’s lacrosse team, needing to win its last two games in order to ensure a spot in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament, took care of business on Saturday as it trounced Fresno State 19-1 at McAlister Field in the final home match of the season.
Sophomore attacker Olivia Gerton scored four goals and recorded an assist for the Women of Troy (7-9, 4-3 MPSF), which had seven players score two or more goals each. Freshman midfielder Caroline de Lyra led USC with six points (two goals, four assists), while freshman midfielder Amanda Johansen finished with five points (two goals, three assists) and 13 draw controls, two away from tying the NCAA record. Freshman midfielder Paige Bonomi finished with a hat trick of her own.
“Offensively, we played really smart,” Gerton said. “We wanted to work hard and draw the double, then look for the open player. Personally, I just tried to keep my space, not cut to the ball and crowd it. We all worked as a unit to move the ball quickly and efficiently, and that opened up so many opportunities for everyone.”
The 19 goals were the third-highest scoring total for the Women of Troy this season and the most since scoring 23 against LIU Brooklyn on March 1. USC’s defense also turned in its best performance of the year, holding Fresno St. to just a single goal, the fewest any opponent has scored all season. Further, the 18-goal win was the team’s second-largest margin of victory (the first coming in a 24-4 win against Presbyterian on Feb. 15).
“We really played as a team,” Johansen said. “We all knew where the ball was, and every time we tried to get a goal, someone was there for backup.”
Midfielder Kara Concheck scored the only goal for the Bulldogs (2-13, 0-8 MPSF).
The Women of Troy took control of the match from the start, with USC scoring the first 11 goals of the match, including three in a 17-second span, and jumping out to a 13-1 lead at halftime. Bonomi earned her hat trick 13 minutes into the game, while Gerton, de Lyra and freshman midfielder Caroline Cordrey scored a pair of goals each in the half. Concheck’s unassisted goal with 6:18 left in the half eliminated the possibility of a shutout, but Cordrey’s two goals in the last 35 seconds of the half kept the momentum on USC’s side. The Women of Troy outshot Fresno State 18-5 in the first half, and won 12-2 on draw controls.
“On any given day, it’s just which team comes out there,” USC head coach Lindsey Munday said. “For us, starting slow has been an Achilles’ heel of ours. Our biggest goal is making sure we play a full 60 minutes. We’ve shown we can compete at the highest level, and it’s just a matter of whether we can do it consistently.”
The Women of Troy carried their momentum into the second half, shutting out the Bulldogs and forcing them to make mistakes. Fresno State committed 21 fouls in the second half to give them 29 for the game and picked up four yellow cards. They were only able to convert on three of their seven clear attempts and didn’t pick up any draw controls.
“It was a great win today,” Munday said. “It was a team win across the board defensively, at midfield and offensively. Everyone was working together, so we’re really proud of them, but we have a big week ahead of us in terms of preparation. San Diego State is a great team, so we have a lot of work to do.”
USC outshot the Bulldogs 29-7 for the game, also winning 10-5 in ground balls and 19-2 in draw controls.
USC will play its final game of the regular season on Saturday, April 27 at 7 p.m. at San Diego State.