After a long spring break trip to Hawaii, the Women of Troy get back to their home-pool today in a match against Long Beach State (7-10), the first of three games in a span of four days for USC.
The Women of Troy (12-3, 2-1), however, weren’t basking in the sun in the Aloha State — they were undergoing intense training sessions throughout the week.
“It was mostly to focus on what we haven’t been doing too well in games and to get in good shape,” sophomore two-meter Kaleigh Gilchrist said. “It was a pretty hard training camp, so we’re ready now for the second half of the season.”
No. 3 USC kicks off the last month of the regular season against the 49ers, a team the Women of Troy defeated 11-3 on Feb. 25 in the UCI Invitational.
“It was a close game at the beginning, but then we got it together,” sophomore goalie Flora Bolonyai said. “I don’t think it should be a hard game this time.”
USC is 33-0 all-time against Long Beach State, which is lurking just outside the top-20 rankings.
“We’ve practiced a few things for them,” Gilchrist said. “Hopefully we can perfect those and keep getting better for our bigger games this weekend like [Arizona State] and Loyola.”
USC is tied with No. 4 Arizona State (18-3, 2-1) in second place in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation along with No. 5 California, a team the Sun Devils beat 10-7 in their home-pool.
The Women of Troy don’t think they’ll trip up in Tempe on Saturday like their rivals from Berkeley did.
“[Arizona State] has a good two-meter and a couple of good outside shooters,” Bolonyai said. “But I don’t think we should be afraid of them. If we play our game, we should win.”
Senior attacker Alicia Brightwell leads the Sun Devils and the MPSF in scoring with 2.84 goals per game.
“Hopefully we’ll be able to counter their attacks and come out with the win,” Gilchrist said. “We have to be fully prepared and just play our game.”
After facing off against the Sun Devils, the Women of Troy will fly back home to wrap up the weekend with a home match against Loyola Marymount University (11-7) on Sunday.
USC is 22-0 all time against the Lions after beating them 8-6 last month at the UCI Invitational. The Lions are on a four-game winning streak after clinching the LMU Invitational last week.
“[Loyola Marymount] gave us a really close game last time, so we have to be ready for them,” Gilchrist said. “We just need to make sure that we don’t stop playing. We can’t get too comfortable with a lead.”
The Women of Troy clash against Long Beach State at 5 p.m. at McDonald’s Swim Stadium, then play Arizona State on Saturday at noon on the road before returning home for the match against Loyola Marymount on Sunday at 1 p.m.