USC tennis, lacrosse stars earn Pac-12 Players of the Week

Three Trojans — Gussie Johns and Kerrigan Miller of women’s lacrosse and Gabby Smith of women’s tennis — were honored as Players of the Week by their respective conferences after their play last week. Johns, a junior goaltender, was named MPSF Defensive Player of the Week, while Miller, a freshman midfielder, was named MPSF Rookie of the Week. Smith, a junior, also earned Pac-12 Player of the Week honors for the second time this season.

Johns and Miller were recognized after their stellar play over the weekend, leading the No. 3 USC women’s lacrosse team (2-0) to a big 11-10 overtime win against rival No. 9 Northwestern.

Johns, a junior goalie for the Trojans and current member of the U.S. Women’s National Team, made a handful of key stops against the Wildcats on Saturday, including a crucial one-on-one save early in the overtime period to keep USC’s winning hopes alive. The Washington, D.C. native led the nation in goals-against average last season (6.04) and has maintained that level of play in 2017. In the game against Northwestern, Johns recorded career-highs of 17 saves and eight ground balls to keep the Wildcats’ high-powered offense at bay. Those 17 saves (on 35 shots) accounted for the second most saves in a single game in USC history, while the eight ground balls tied the program record and was the third-highest total in MPSF conference history. The Defensive Player of the Week award is the third of Johns’ career and her fourth award overall.

Miller, the top-ranked recruit in the country coming out of Bayport-Blue Point High School in Bayport, N.Y., has lived up to the billing in this early part of the 2017 season. In addition to scoring the first hat trick of her career on Saturday, the freshman midfielder caused three turnovers and recorded two ground balls and one draw control in addition to scoring the game-winning goal with just four seconds left in overtime. For her efforts, Miller was also named InsideLacrosse National Rookie of the Week. This marks the freshman’s first career MPSF weekly award, and she is the school’s first Rookie of the Week since Johns was selected in March of 2015.

Johns, Miller and the rest of the Trojans will now head out east when they battle against No. 4 Florida in Gainesville, Fla. on Friday at 3:30 p.m.

In addition, Gabby Smith, a junior on the women’s tennis team, earned her second Pac-12 Player of the Week honor this season after extending her winning streak to 10 straight matches over the weekend. The Henderson, Nev., native is currently ranked No. 25 in the nation in singles play after gutting out a 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 win against Terri Fleming of UCLA on Saturday.

Smith has been USC’s most consistent contributor this spring, defeating five nationally ranked competitors over the course of the season. She is also currently ranked No. 47 nationally in doubles play with senior partner Zöe Katz. The nod is the third of Smith’s career all-time and her second weekly honor in 2017 after winning the same award on Jan. 23. Now, she and the rest of the Trojans will gear up for a big matchup against California in Berkeley, Calif. at noon on Saturday.