The seventh-ranked Women of Troy dodged two tough teams on the road against Colorado and Denver, prolonging their undefeated record. They are now one of two teams in the nation without a loss.
The Trojans (13-0, 7-0 MPSF) initially faced off against Colorado Friday and were triumphant in a long battle that ultimately came down to a game-winning goal by junior attacker Cynthia Del Core in the final 16 seconds, resulting in a 9-8 Trojan victory.
“We all just looked at each other and we have a lot of trust in each other and we know that even in a close game, if we stick together we can pull out a W,” senior defender Courtney Tarleton said. “I think the biggest thing is not over-thinking any play and just working together the whole time.”
Unlike previous contests in which the Trojans led their opponents by a high margin, this game remained neck and neck for the majority of competition with the score tied 5-5 at the half.
Five minutes into the second half, the Buffaloes sent a shot into the back of the net to give them a one-goal advantage. With 14:48 remaining, the Trojans countered and regained an 8-7 lead with a pair of goals from senior midfielders Kelsey Dreyer and Amanda Johansen. However, Colorado’s Johnna Fusco rebounded with her third goal of the game to tie the score at eight all. At this point it came down to confidence.
“The biggest thing was having confidence throughout and not getting away from the things that we’ve been doing all season and making sure that no matter what the score, to just stay confident and stick to our game plan and continue to do the things that we’ve been doing all season,” head coach Lindsay Munday said.
Following a thirteen minute defensive battle, Del Core executed for the Trojans sending a shot into the back of the net to grant the Trojans their 12th win of the season.
Despite the USC victory, the Buffaloes in fact recorded more draw controls and ground balls.
“Colorado is a really great team and they were really patient and had a good gameplan coming in,” Munday said. “They beat us on the 50-50 category in draw controls and ground balls so they had more opportunities because they had the ball more. That was something we really wanted to focus on going into Denver, making sure we win those 50-50 categories so we have more opportunities than the other team.
With 12 wins under their belts the Women of Troy faced another strong opponent in Denver, winning 9-6 to maintain their undefeated streak. Junior attacker Michaela Michael grounded the team on offense scoring 3 goals to go along with two assists, five draw controls and three ground balls. Michael has scored 3 goals for the seventh time in her career and had her 23rd career game with 3 or more goals. In addition to a forceful offense, the Trojan defense maintained a strong front, highlighted by a solid performance by sophomore goalie Gussie Johns who had five saves and a ground ball.
“The biggest thing was being in some uncomfortable positions that we weren’t in so far this season,” Munday said. “Both teams challenged us in really different ways and there were times where our confidence could have been tested. That’s really a testament to the girls that they stay true to the things that we’ve been doing and that they stay confident no matter what.”
The Trojans next hit the road Friday April 15th to face No. 13 Northwestern and No. 5 Notre Dame on Monday April 18th.