Gabby Smith, Kylie Drexel take home weekly awards

Two Trojans were recognized this week with conference honors after dominating performances during the final week of regular season play.

Junior Gabby Smith was named Pac-12 Player of the Week for the third time this year for the women’s tennis team, while women’s lacrosse senior attacker Kylie Drexel earned MPSF Offensive Player of the Week honors for the third time in her career.

Smith, the most decorated Pac-12 women’s tennis player in 2017, earned her fourth career Player of the Week nod for her matches against rival UCLA and Pepperdine.

Smith and doubles partner, senior Zoë Katz, earned the doubles point against Pepperdine with a 7-6 (6) victory over Luisa Stefani and Ashley Lahey. Though the Trojans would go on to lose 4-3 to the Waves, Smith and Katz’s efforts staked USC an early lead.

In addition to Smith’s doubles performance, the former high school All-American out of Henderson, Nev. earned her 20th and most important singles win on Saturday on court two, where she has bested opponents eight out of nine times this year.

Smith defeated UCLA’s Terri Flemming 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-4 for the second time this season to seal USC’s 4-3 upset of the No. 22 Bruins on the road in Westwood on Saturday.

Smith, the No. 27 player in the nation, will now lead the Trojans into the Pac-12 Championships as the No. 6 seed against
No. 11 seed Washington State on Wednesday.

Smith’s award brings USC level with UCLA and Cal for most Pac-12 Players of the Week this season, with four recipients each.

Meanwhile on the lacrosse field, Drexel was named the MPSF Offensive Player of the Week for the third time in her career on Monday. Drexel, a
two-time MPSF All-America Second Team selection, earned Player of the Week honors thanks to her game-changing production against Stanford and UC Davis last weekend.

USC traveled to Stanford on Friday, where Drexel exploded for five goals, four assists, three ground balls, two draw controls and a caused turnover in a competitive 15-12 victory. Though senior attacker Michaela Michael tied Drexel for the team lead in goals with five, Drexel’s 9 points and four assists versus the Cardinal were team and career highs.

In USC’s 18-9 regular season finale victory at UC Davis, Drexel was not as potent, but she still managed to score four goals and add an assist, three draw controls and a ground ball to help the Trojans maintain their undefeated 8-0 conference record.

After earning Offensive Player of the Week, Drexel, a former High School First Team US Lacrosse All-American, gives USC its 10th award this season and 33rd award in program history.

With Drexel’s win on Monday, USC has also received an MPSF honor for the sixth straight week. Michael earned four consecutive Offensive Player of the Week nods before her streak was snapped last week, but junior goalie Gussie Johns filled the gap, taking home Defensive Player of the Week last Monday. Freshman midfielders Kerrigan Miller and Kaeli Huff were also named Rookie of the Week earlier this season.

The No. 8 Trojans (14-3, 8-0) are the defending MPSF champions and will host the conference tournament at McAlister Field this week, running from Thursday to Sunday. With the top seed in the tournament, USC will meet either fourth-seeded Oregon or fifth-seeded San Diego State in the first semifinal game at noon on Friday.