Lacrosse aims to climb national leaderboards

Graduate attacker Emily Concialdi was named Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week after scoring 6 goals in two games for USC. (James Wolfe | Daily Trojan)

The No. 10 USC women’s lacrosse team improved to 4-0 for the first time since 2016 with wins over Boston College and San Diego State this past weekend. The Trojans’ strong performances led two players on the roster — junior goalie Riley Hertford and graduate attacker Emily Concialdi — to earn Pac-12 Defensive and Offensive Players of the Week titles, respectively.

The Trojans defeated Boston College 18-9 on the heels of a 10-8 win over No. 14 Michigan State to improve to 2-0 over ranked opponents and hand the Eagles their worst loss since February 2017.

USC traded goals with the Eagles early as the game was tied 3-3 before the Trojans rallied off 6 straight goals in the span of three minutes and 42 seconds. Head coach Lindsey Munday said the week of preparation beforehand translated to the game. 

“We know B.C. is a really strong team,” Munday said. “So, we had to battle [and] really compete every day in practice so that we were as prepared as possible.” 

Seven different players contributed to the Trojans’ season-high 11 goals. Munday attributed the success of the attackers to the chemistry between them. 

“The attack really trusts one another,” Munday said. “[They did] not settle for a good shot but [waited] for a great one and [I am] really proud of the way the attack did that today.” 

Concialdi credited her highlight play early in the first half — in which she stole the ball from the goalkeeper and found the empty net — as a spark for her big afternoon. 

“Getting a snag from the goalie really hyped me up,” Concialdi said. “From there, [I] just wanted to keep it rolling … My teammates set me up for success.” 

Despite the energy from the win, things started slow for the Trojans against SDSU Sunday as clock problems led to a prolonged delay just seconds into the game. SDSU was able to jump on top first with a 2-0 lead, which would mark the Trojans’ third-straight game giving up the opening goal at home and their second time in three games falling behind 2-0. 

“I think we lost our discipline all over the field and we lost with some decision making in the clear and offensively,” Munday said. “Just making sure that we are playing within ourselves and not giving them opportunities.”

The Trojans answered back by rattling off 13 goals in a row and took a commanding 13-2 lead with just under 12 minutes to go in the second half. Junior midfielder Kelsey Huff recorded her first hat trick this season, her 15th as a Trojan.

“For me, I just wanted to work well with my teammates,” Huff said. “I feel like once we did get into our rhythm, we were able to help each other, and I think that’s how I got my openings.”

The Trojans would close the afternoon with a 14-6 win, and once again had eight different goal-scorers. Although it seemed like a solid win on paper, both Huff and Munday felt the Trojans could have played better.

“I think we had to fight today,” Munday said. “I don’t think it was our best day. San Diego State really pushed us. They are a really physical, gritty team and so we had to get back to basics and trust the game plan and trust each other.”

USC had a season-high 19 turnovers against SDSU. 

“We want [to be] more dynamic,” Huff said. “I feel like at points we got a little close and clustered a little bit and just being able to react off each other instead of being more confused.”

USC will get ready for Pac-12 play as it faces Stanford on March 6 at Soni McAlister Field at 3 p.m.