Women of Troy split weekend series with East Coast foes

USC ended its East Coast road trip on a high note Sunday after defeating Marist College, 11-7. Their win came just a day after they fell to No. 16-ranked Stony Brook, 7-4.

The weekend’s games were the Women of Troy’s first action since dropping an overtime thriller to a perennial powerhouse program in the Northwestern Wildcats on Feb. 7 at the Coliseum.

The trip not only provided the Women of Troy with their first opportunity to play in two weeks, but also gave them quite a test in terms of the conditions they faced.

“We had a lot of time in between our game against Northwestern, so we were able to get a lot work done on things that needed it,” said head coach Lindsey Munday. “We still have things to tweak obviously but we felt pretty good coming into this weekend about the work we put in over the last two weeks.”

The long East-Coast-to-West-Coast flight, frigid weather and four-hour drive between Saturday’s game in Stony Brook and Sunday’s morning matchup in Poughkeepsie gave the team its share of obstacles to face this weekend, in addition to two opponents looking to open up their seasons with wins on their home fields.

The first on-field test came Saturday in the form of the Stony Brook Seawolves, who came out firing.

The Seawolves jumped out to a 5-1 first half lead over the Women of Troy led by two goals from sophomore attacker and last year’s America East Rookie of the Year Dorrien Van Dyke.

For any number of reasons, the Women of Troy could not find their offensive stride in the first half, mustering just two shots to Stony Brook’s 13.

The lone goal for USC came off the stick of sophomore attacker Michaela Michael with 13:31 remaining in the half.

The second half painted a different picture, as USC rallied behind two early goals from sophomore attacker Cynthia Del Core and Michael — both within the first five minutes of the half. Stony Brook was able to slow USC’s momentum, however, and responded for two goals of their own.

They held a 7-3 lead until the final four minutes, when junior midfielder Amanda Johansen put home a goal for the Women of Troy, resulting in what would be the final score of 7-4.

“We weren’t as aggressive offensively as we would have liked, particularly in the first half,” Munday said. “They are a very good team but it’s tough to win a game in which you only shoot 10 times, so that was something we definitely were aware of heading into Sunday.”

Though the loss was disappointing — particularly offensively — the team was clearly more active in the second half, outshooting Stony Brook 8-6 and winning five draw controls to Stony Brook’s one.  USC hoped to carry whatever small momentum it built up in the second half of Saturday’s game with them on the bus ride to Poughkeepsie for their Sunday matchup with Marist.

They did exactly that: despite the 34-degree temperature, the Women of Troy came out of the gates hotter than a blowtorch, outshooting Marist 17-3 in the first half and 27-10 for the game.

Michael once again led the way offensively for USC, scoring four goals and collecting an assist for a total of five points during the game.

However, standout junior attacker Caroline de Lyra was able to match her teammate’s point total, dishing out two assists and scoring a hat trick of her own.

Michael and de Lyra were offensive catalysts for the Women of Troy, scoring or assisting on every one of the team’s first eight goals en route to a 7-2 halftime lead and an 11-7 victory, the first of the season for the team.

“We played hard and were super aggressive on all ends on the field. The girls really dug in and we were able to put the Stony Brook loss in the past behind us,”Munday said.

While it undoubtedly felt good to end the weekend with their first victory, the Women of Troy won’t have much time to rejoice.

The team faces a quick turnaround upon arrival back in Los Angeles, with their first conference game of the season on Tuesday at home against Fresno State.

“As we look down the road, whether it is conference games on Friday and Sunday or if we have to travel a fair amount, we are going to have to be tough and ready to deal with whatever is thrown at us so I think a trip like this helps prepare for that and make us tougher and stronger,” Munday said.