Four years ago, the Women of Troy made their debut as a program, finishing the 2013 season with an 8-10 overall record. In just four seasons, the Trojans have made tremendous strides as a team and as a program, ending their 2015 run with a 14-6 record and a Round of 16 appearance in the NCAA championship tournament.
With 15 seniors on the roster this year and ten returning starters, USC’s 2016 campaign appears promising.
“[The seniors have] been in it from day one,” head coach Lindsey Munday said. “They’ve really bought in from top to bottom; every single person in the senior class is just all in and I think that’s all you can ask for as a coach, to have that level of buy in and for them to translate it to the younger players.”
Among the members of the senior class are All-MPSF First Team attacker Caroline de Lyra, who notched 38 goals last season and midfielder Amanda Johansen, who scored 40 goals of her own in the team’s 2015 season. Junior attacker and MPSF Player of the Year Michaela Michael will also be a key asset to the team’s offense, tallying 63 goals and 13 assists last season.
On defense, the team will look to senior Courtney Tarleton and junior Nina Kelty who recorded 34 and 12 ground balls respectively. To protect the net, sophomore Gussie Johns returns as the Trojan goalie with an 8.68 goals allowed average.
With a plethora of experienced upperclassmen and five new members to the squad, the Trojans look forward to beginning their 2016 season, kicking off their schedule with Stetson on Feb. 12th.
“It’s just time to get after it. We’re excited for our first game and to see our growth on the field,” Munday said. “We’ve seen it outside of lacrosse, in terms of leadership, and bonding and having fun and being able to compete at practice, but to see it now on the field is going to be the last step.”
In addition to the team’s experience on the field, the Trojans’ team chemistry will be beneficial, as the girls have gelled and gotten to know each other both on and off the field.
“We have a huge senior class and the chemistry has been really great this season. We’re all best friends on and off the field so that really helps,” Johansen said. “The chemistry is definitely there and it’s really improved season to season so I’m excited to see how the chemistry looks out on the field this year.”
After weeks of hard work in practice, the girls are looking forward to Saturday’s opportunity to translate their efforts into conference play. Looking ahead to the remainder of the season, the Women of Troy have a tough road in front of them, facing Duke on Feb. 20th, Stony Brook on Mar. 14th and Northwestern on Apr. 15th. Yet the Trojans are focusing on taking it one step at a time and one day at a time.
“We’ve faced our hardest obstacles growing to the point we are now so I think the next step is really playing to our potential and playing to the hype and really showing everyone how good we are,” Johansen said. “So we have to be pushing it every single day.”
For the seniors, this season provides an opportunity to leave their mark. Munday emphasizes that the girls have an ongoing legacy and that their commitment and dedication to the team began the moment they first put on that red and gold uniform.
“With such a big senior class, there’s always that feeling of wanting to leave a legacy and wanting to leave it the best you can possibly be,” Munday said. “But we are just trying to convey to them that they’ve already done all that. They left their legacy, they’ve already put so much into this program, so now it’s just time to enjoy it.”
The contest between USC and Stetson is slated for 3 p.m. Saturday Feb. 13th at McAlister field.