LOS ANGELES — The 19th-ranked USC women’s lacrosse team (0-0) opens its fourth season as hosts to Stetson (0-0) on Saturday, Feb. 13, at McAlister Field. First draw between the Women of Troy and the Hatters is set for 3 p.m. PT.
The Trojans have high expectations for 2016 following an unprecedented finish last season. USC took second place in the MPSF and advanced to the program’s first-ever NCAA tournament where the Trojans beat James Madison to move into the second round. Head coach Lindsey Munday was chosen as the MPSF Coach of the Year and attacker Michaela Michael was named the MPSF Player of the Year and became the program’s first-ever IWLCA All-American (third team).
Against Stetson, USC seeks its first season-opening victory in four years. The Trojans fell in season openers to Northwestern in both 2013 (18-5) and 2015 (12-11 in overtime), and dropped a 12-10 decision to Marist in 2014. Oddly enough, the Women of Troy will be playing their season opener on McAlister Field for the first time. Both of the team’s meetings with the Wildcats took place in the LA Memorial Coliseum while the opener with the Red Foxes was played on Cromwell Field under heavy rain due to flooding at McAlister.
The Trojans have started each of the previous three seasons 0-2 and will again face one of the toughest schedules in the nation. Among teams ranked in the IWLCA preseason top 20, USC will meet No. 4 Duke, No. 5 Northwestern, No. 8 Stony Brook, No. 11 Notre Dame, and No. 16 Stanford, for a total of five contests against ranked opponents. This time, for the first time, the Women of Troy are ranked to open the season. USC checked in at No, 19 in the program’s first-ever national ranking according to the IWLCA poll.
Michael led USC in goals (63), shot percentage (.562), points (112), game-winning goals (5), and draw controls (123) in 2015. Her 123 draw controls and her 15 draw controls in a game (vs. Fresno State, Feb. 24) are each MPSF records. The Trojans also return senior attacker Caroline de Lyra (38g, 30a), and senior midfielder Amanda Johansen (40g, 57dc) on offense as well as senior Courtney Tarleton (34gb, 18ct) and junior Nina Kelty (12gb, 10dc, 10ct) on defense. Sophomore Gussie Johns (47gb, 8.68 gaa) returns as goalie. All six Trojans were members of the MPSF All-Conference team. Michael, Johansen, and Tarleton were also IWLCA all-region.