Women’s lacrosse team splits its East Coast series

After sweeping two home spring break matchups against Marquette, 11-4, and Saint Mary’s, 20-7, the USC women’s lacrosse team packed their bags and left the sunny fields of Southern California for their second East Coast trip of the season.

Looking to extend their six-game winning streak, the Women of Troy battled with a winless Dartmouth team on Saturday in Hanover, New Hampshire, before traveling south to face No. 2 ranked Boston College in Newton, Massachusetts, on Monday. The trip marked the second time that the Women of Troy have traveled east this year. They dropped a 7-4 affair to then-No. 16 Stony Brook on Feb. 21 before rallying to beat Marist, 11-7, the next day during a frigid New York trip earlier in the season.

On Saturday, USC found themselves in a close clash with a surprisingly resilient Dartmouth team that, although winless, was fairly battle-tested entering the game. Three of the Big Green’s seven losses on the season were to top-15 ranked opponents, and in two of those three games, the team managed to keep the score within five goals (a March 7 loss to then-No. 10 Princeton, 8-5, and a Mar. 21 loss to then-No. 14 Penn, 10-5).

Dartmouth jumped out to an early 1-0 lead on a goal from junior midfielder Jaclyn Leto six minutes into the game, but the Women of Troy responded with four straight goals en route to a 5-3 halftime advantage. The match was essentially even from that point forward, as USC’s four goal second-half output was matched by the Big Green.

The game became especially tense with 7:41 remaining, when sophomore Dartmouth midfielder Taryn Deck put home a shot past USC freshman goalie Gussie Johns, bringing the score to within one at 8-7. That tally would remain constant until just over four minutes left, when USC junior attacker Caroline Cordrey scored her second goal of the game to pad the lead for good at 9-7.

The victory marked the seventh in a row for the Women of Troy, the longest in the young, three-year-old program’s history. Sophomore attacker Michaela Michael once again stuffed the stat sheet for USC, winning four draw controls, scooping up three groundballs, forcing two turnovers, and a garnering a   hattrick with three goals scored. Cordrey’s two goals helped bolster the attack for the Women of Troy, and junior attacker and team points-leader Caroline de Lyra added a goal and two assists of her own.

In addition to Saturday’s victory being a seventh-straight win for the team, it also marked the eighth-straight game in which the Women of Troy’s defense held the opposing team to seven goals or less.

Monday’s matchup with         No. 2 Boston College provided a huge test for the Women of Troy before they finish out their MPSF conference play in April. And though the 16-12 final score tilted in the Eagles’ favor, the heart and fight shown by the Women of Troy served as an indication that good things may be to come in the coming weeks leading up to the MPSF Conference Tournament that begins on April 30 in Denver, Colorado.

USC game out of the gate firing in the first half, jumping to a 4-2 lead in the opening seven minutes on the backs of junior midfielder Amanda Johansen and sophomore attacker Cynthia Del Core, who each put home two goals during that time frame. Boston College’s 10th-ranked scoring offense (14.27 goals per game entering Monday) overpowered USC’s eighth-ranked scoring defense (6.78 goals allowed per game), however, as the Eagles put home 10 goals in the next 20 minutes to take a strong 12-7 lead into halftime.

The second half told a more balanced story, with the Women of Troy slightly outscoring the Eagles 5-4 and taking advantage of seven second-half Boston College turnovers. A goal from Cordrey with just under seven minutes to play cut the defecit to four for USC, but, neither team would score again in the game.

Johansen was huge for the Women of Troy, netting four goals while picking up two ground balls and draw control wins. De Lyra dished three assists and added two goals of her own, bringing her team-best season point total to 42. Del Core, Cordrey and Michael all added two goals as well, and Johns made six    second-half saves to keep hope for a full rally alive.

Boston College was lead by a talented trio of midfielders, as juniors Caroline Margolis (three), Sarah Mannelly (four) and senior Mikaela Rix (four) all recorded hat-tricks for the hometown Eagles.

Despite the Monday loss, the Women of Troy find themselves in a good spot heading into the final weeks of conference play before the MPSF Tournament at the end of April. The team’s only three losses this season have been to ranked nonconference opponents, with Monday’s competitive four-goal loss being the largest final-score deficit of the three.

The Women of Troy have shown resilience throughout the season and will look to continue their solid play Friday on the road against Oregon. The match will be the first of a remaining six conference games, and is scheduled to kick off at 1 p.m.

The game will be covered by the Pac-12 Networks.