Lacrosse notches second win in OT thriller

On Saturday, No. 4 USC women’s lacrosse (2-0) posted its second victory of the season — the first against a ranked opponent — with an 11-10 overtime triumph over No. 9 Northwestern (2-2). The win improves the Trojans to 2-3 in their all-time series against the Wildcats. The victory, capped off by freshman midfielder Kerrigan Miller’s game-winning goal in overtime to complete her first career hat trick, was USC’s second in two seasons against Northwestern.

The Women of Troy faced numerous issues against the Wildcats, including adverse weather conditions that caused the game to be moved from McAlister Field to nearby El Camino Community College. The rainstorms, coupled with a solid Northwestern defensive effort, caused the Trojans numerous ball handling issues. USC turned it over 20 times, including seven failed clearances.

The Wildcats also outshot USC and outdueled the Women of Troy on the draw by a 16-7 count (13-4 in the first half). Despite this, USC went into halftime with a 9-7 lead. However, Northwestern outscored the Trojans in the second half by a score of 3-1 to force overtime.

In overtime, the Wildcats’ formidable defense continued to frustrate the Trojans, forcing turnovers that led to a pair of scoring opportunities for Northwestern. Both times, junior goalie Gussie Johns was there to deny the Wildcats on her way to a 17-save effort, the second-most in USC single-game history. Johns also picked up eight ground balls to tie a program record and tie the
third-highest single-game total in MPSF history.

In addition to Johns, junior Lydia Sutton and senior Nina Kelty posted solid defensive efforts, combining for eight ground balls and five caused turnovers. Kelty secured one of USC’s seven draw controls, while Miller also added a draw control, three caused turnovers and a pair of ground balls to go with her hat trick. Ultimately, the Trojans’ solid defensive play in the ground ball game (29 to Northwestern’s 23) was enough to overcome their turnover struggles.

Offensively, senior midfielder Drew Jackson led the team in goals, scoring her third career hat trick and finishing with four points (one assist). Jackson also contributed a pair of ground balls and a caused turnover. Senior attacker Kylie Drexel scored two goals and recorded an assist, while senior attackers Gabby McMahon and Cynthia Del Core each scored a goal apiece and combined for three ground balls. Senior attacker Michaela Michael, the Trojan’s primary faceoff specialist, came away with four draw controls in addition to a ground ball, a caused turnover, an assist and a score in a well-rounded effort.

Coming off this quality win, USC heads to the state of Florida for games at No. 3 Florida and at Stetson. The Trojans will play the Gators for the first time on Friday in Gainesville, Fla. at 3:30 p.m., hoping to post another victory against a ranked team. The Trojans defeated Stetson at home last season, and they will face the Hatters again on Sunday at 9 a.m. in DeLand, Fla.