No. 13 USC lacrosse capped off a dominant week of competition with a win over Pac-12 rival Oregon, marking the third victory of the week for the Trojans, who also beat No. 23 Virginia Tech and No. 24 Colorado.
The two victories over top-ranked teams helped the Trojans jump the ranks from No. 22 to No. 13 this week. USC holds a four-game win streak, improving to 8-1 for a Pac-12 best.
The Trojans faced Virginia Tech over spring break and came out on top, 13-11. The teams traded goals for much of the first half, but USC established a lead and picked up momentum going into halftime by scoring 3 goals in the final four minutes of the half. This outburst came after a nearly eight minute-long scoring drought.
After halftime, the Trojans didn’t look back. Sophomore attacker Sophia Donovan scored the first 2 goals of the second half to put USC up 9-5. USC didn’t slow down, and Virginia Tech could not close the scoring gap.
Donovan led the team with 4 goals and one assist against the Hokies. She is currently the leading scorer for the Trojans, already matching her season-high record of 20 goals from last season — a feat she attributes to the entire team.
“Making plays and scoring goals is never a one-person process, and I consider myself lucky to be a part of this offense,” Donovan said.
Donovan is shooting markedly better than USC’s team average of .422 at .556, demonstrating her individual value to the team.
Following their matchup against the Hokies, USC won their fourth consecutive contest in a decisive 11-5 victory over No. 23 Colorado Buffaloes at Kittredge Field March 16. Despite a minor setback due to possible inclement weather conditions in the area, the Trojans improved to 6-2 all-time against Colorado.
The Women of Troy opened the game strong, with a 4-0 run on goals by senior attacker Emily Concialdi, who returned after a two-game absence. Concialdi dished out three assists to go with 1 goal, two ground balls and a caused turnover, making her the key player in the Trojans’ win.
Donovan recorded her third hat trick of the season against Colorado and picked up an assist to go with two ground balls and a caused turnover, earning her Pac-12 Player of the Week honors.
“We have focused since August on building an offense that plays to our strengths,” Donovan said. “One of our main focuses has been making simple plays and working to make each other look good on the field.”
USC’s 6-goal winning margin matches the largest in the series’ history with the Buffaloes, who entered the match on a two-game winning streak with a pair of Pac-12 road victories over Stanford and Cal. The Trojans last faced the Buffaloes in 2017 at McAlister Field, a match they won 11-5.
“I think the biggest thing we’ve done throughout the season is keeping a good morale,” Concialdi said. “We’ve developed such a good team culture and it makes the long hours worth it.”
The Trojans finished their Pac-12 road trip with a win against the Ducks that not only extended USC’s season-long five-game winning streak with a 14-5 victory over Oregon, but also avenged an 18-11 loss to the Ducks suffered in Eugene last spring.
With the Trojans strong, the team scored 5 unanswered goals throughout the first eight minutes of the game. But the Ducks answered by putting a stop to the run with a goal from sophomore attacker Lillian Stump.
Sophomore goalie Riley Hertfod racked up two saves against Oregon to lead the Trojan defense.
Concialdi added 2 goals for the Trojans before the match was minutes away from giving USC its fifth win. But USC took its foot off the gas and held the Ducks to 3 goals before the final horn for a 14-5 final score.
USC’s five-game winning streak is the longest of the season and the longest since it had 12 consecutive wins in the 2017 season. Although the team seems to be hitting a stride, its players always see room for improvement.
“Each and every day at practice is a chance to improve, and I think collectively, we have bought into that mindset,” Donovan said. “As long as we keep playing simple together there’s no limit to what we could accomplish this season.”