Women’s lacrosse to face tough test in Boston

USC likely wouldn’t be undefeated without junior midfielder Kerrigan Miller, whose 7 goals are tied for second on the team. (Michelle Mankoff/Daily Trojan)

The women’s lacrosse team travels east to Boston this weekend to face off against elite opponents in No. 1 Boston College and Boston University. No. 17 USC is at an all-time record of 12-12 in games on the East Coast.

The Trojans played Boston College last season in a nail-biting match in the team’s home opener at McAlister Field. USC put up a hard fight against the Eagles but was ultimately defeated in overtime, 13-12.

Following their match against the Eagles, the Trojans will play a follow-up match against Boston University. It’s been two years since USC last played the Terriers, a historic first meeting from which the Trojans came away with the win. USC looks to improve its overall record against the Terriers to 2-0 with a win on Sunday.

In last weekend’s games, USC defeated San Diego State 20-16 and Jacksonville University 15-10, improving to 3-0 on the season. In the first half, the Trojans led the San Diego State Aztecs 16-7. USC was able to weather the Aztecs’ comeback and hold on to their victory. 

The game against Jacksonville told a different tale. Going into halftime, the Trojans held just a 1-point lead in the back-and-forth game. The offense exploded in the second half to take over the game. Junior midfielder Kerrigan Miller scored 3 second-half goals to help propel the team to a win. 

Miller said she is not satisfied with the team’s 3-0 start to the season.

“We still have a long journey to go in order to get to where we want to be and reach our full potential,” Miller said.

This weekend brings the Trojans’ first ranked opponent of the season, making it a chance for the team to establish itself among the elite of women’s lacrosse. Miller scored a team-best 5 goals the last time USC played Boston College and will need to put up a similar performance for it to beat the dominant Eagles.

“If we place more focus on our development as a team, striving to play to our full potential, our record will take care of itself,” Miller said. 

Perhaps the biggest challenge for the Trojans will be slowing down Eagles senior attacker and last year’s Tewaaraton Award winner, Sam Apuzzo. Apuzzo scored 3 goals and assisted on the game-winning overtime goal against the Trojans last season.

Miller had nothing but good things to say about Apuzzo, her former teammate on the USA National Team. 

“She is by no means a player any team can underestimate,” Miller said.

This year, Apuzzo is averaging 4.5 goals per game, tied for fourth in the NCAA. 

With wins this weekend, the Trojans could extend their win streak to five and likely leapfrog in the NCAA rankings. Wins would also help down the road in May for tournament seeding. Securing the program’s first win against a No.1-ranked team will also boost team morale and confidence. 

“At the end of the day, the season is long, and the teams that are still playing at the end of May are the ones that are constantly getting better,” Miller said.

First draw is set for noon Friday at the Newton Campus Field.