Women of Troy look for win in home finale

USC plays final home game of season against Fresno State.

The USC women’s lacrosse team hopes to make a late-season playoff run, as it prepares to take on Fresno State in the final home game of the season on Saturday at McAlister Field at 3 p.m.

The Women of Troy (6-9, 3-3 MPSF) control their own destiny in terms of making the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation championship in the program’s inaugural season. If USC wins Saturday’s game against the Bulldogs (2-12, 0-7 MPSF) and their final game of the season against San Diego State (8-5, 3-2 MPSF), they will clinch a playoff spot as the fourth and final seed in the tournament. A loss in either game would eliminate them from contention.

“Our first focus is Fresno,” head coach Lindsey Munday said. “We have to take one game at a time. Hopefully we can be in a position come the last game of the season where whoever wins will make it, but there’s still a lot to be determined with, if this happens then that happens. At the end of the day, we just need to focus on us and focus on winning out.”

USC’s previous contest was a hard-fought battle against playoff-bound California (9-4, 6-0 MPSF), with the Women of Troy ultimately falling to the Golden Bears, 10-7. After Cal jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the first five minutes, the Women of Troy fought back, tying the game at six halfway through the second half. However, another big run from the Bears put the game away, as Cal would score four unanswered goals to seal the win. Freshman attacker Caroline de Lyra led USC with five points (two goals, three assists), while freshman attackers Paige Bonomi and Caroline Cordrey scored two goals each.

Despite it being only their first season in Division-I lacrosse, the Women of Troy have shown they have the talent to hang with any team. De Lyra is among the nation’s leaders with 46 goals (T-No. 8), 36 assists (No. 8), and 82 points (No. 3), while freshman midfielder Amanda Johansen is ninth in the nation with 5.33 draw controls per game. Freshman defender Courtney Tarleton is tied for 10th with 1.87 caused turnovers per game.

“It’s definitely been a growing experience, both mentally and physically, but it’s not over yet, so we’re hoping to keep going and get better in these next two weeks,” freshman goalie Liz Shaeffer said.

The Bulldogs, who are in the middle of a six-game losing streak, are led in scoring by Kara Concheck and Paula Badali with 17 goals each, while Concheck is the team leader in points with 23. One of their two wins of the season came at McAlister Field, a 17-14 victory against Presbyterian on Feb. 17.

USC will conclude the regular season on the road against San Diego State on Saturday, April 27 at 7 p.m. If they win both of their final two games, they will earn a spot in the MPSF tournament in Eugene, Ore.. The first round takes place on Friday, May 3 at 4:30 pm, and the second round is on Sunday, May 5 at 1 p.m.