The Trojans split their road trip to the Sunshine State this weekend, dropping a season-first loss on the road to No. 4 Florida before bouncing back with an 18-3 hammering of Stetson.
The weekend began on a sour note for head coach Lindsey Munday’s third-ranked squad, as it faced off against a staunch Florida defense on Friday. The 15-10 loss stemmed from 24 USC turnovers, which the Gators took advantage of to maintain their lead throughout the game.
Four seniors stoked the offensive flames for the Trojans against the Gators, with senior attacker Cynthia Del Core leading the way with a season-high four goals, which also tied her career high. Fellow senior attackers Michaela Michael, Kylie Drexel and Gabby McMahon chipped in two goals each to round out USC’s scoring.
Defensively, the Trojans could not contain Florida’s attacker duo of senior Mollie Stevens and junior Shayna Pirreca, who combined for nine goals. Their offensive firepower handed USC its first halftime deficit since 2015, as the Gators took a 7-3 lead into the locker room. Florida extended the lead as far as six in the fourth quarter before a Michael goal trimmed the margin to the final score of 15-10. Michael also notched 10 draw controls on Friday, making her the first player in MPSF history to tally more than 300 in her collegiate career and adding a silver lining to the Trojans’ defeat.
USC then headed south from Gainesville to DeLand, Fla. to take on Stetson, where it rebounded strongly with an 18-3 drubbing of the Hatters. Four Trojans netted three goals or more: Freshman midfielder Kerrigan Miller led the scoring with a career-high five points (four goals, one assist), while Michael also pitched in three goals and two assists to grab her 28th career hat trick. McMahon tallied three goals and an assist, and junior attacker Alexis Kardias rounded out USC’s hat-trick heroes with three goals on the day. All in all, the Trojans outshot Stetson 27-11 and held a 13-9 edge on the draw.
Munday’s side also stifled the Hatters defensively, successfully executing a perfect 13-of-13 clear attempts. Junior goalie Gussie Johns didn’t have much to do guarding the USC cage, but she saved four shots while conceding one in the first half before making way for freshman Hannah Upshaw in the third quarter. Upshaw entered the game with a 13-1 Trojan lead saved two shots and picked up two ground balls as USC saw out its comfortable victory.
The Trojans enjoy a bye week next, so they will have time to recover from their East Coast swing before returning to the field. USC’s next opponents come on March 7, when Boston University makes the trip out west to try for an upset at McAlister Field. New Hampshire visits after the Terriers on March 13, and the Trojans will fly cross-country once again after that for a
four-game stretch in the Northeast.