March 17, 2014

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USC Earns Hard-Fought Victory over Columbia

from press release

LOS ANGELES – The USC women's lacrosse team (3-2) won its third straight game in a 9-8 victory over Columbia (1-3) on Monday, March 17, at McAlister Field. The Women of Troy used a 3-0 run to take a 9-7 lead after trailing, 7-6, and got a huge save from sophomore goalie Liz Shaeffer to seal the win down the stretch.

Sophomore midfielder Amanda Johansen grabbed five draw controls in the center circle and finished with two goals, an assist and two ground balls on the day. Freshman attacker Annie Ruland also scored twice for USC. Freshman midfielder Danielle Doherty had a goal and an assist to go with a caused turnover and a ground ball while freshman midfielder Michaela Michael had a goal and two draw controls.

On defense, the Trojans caused 10 of Columbia's 15 turnovers and were quick to the ball as they picked up 17 ground balls to the Lions' 11. Shaeffer recorded five of those ground balls to go with her seven saves but none was more impactful than her save with 55 seconds left in the game as she stonewalled Paige Cuscovitch and picked up the ground ball to preserve USC's 9-8 lead.

Sophomore defender Kelsey Dreyer had three ground balls and led all players with three caused turnovers. Dreyer also added a goal and a draw control to her final line. Senior midfielder Elizabeth Eddy caused two turnovers and had a pair of crucial ground balls for the Trojans. Despite going 0-for-3 on free-position shots, the Women of Troy capitalized on Lion turnovers and also got goals from sophomore attacker Caroline Cordrey and freshman midfielder Alex Moore to come away with the victory.

For Columbia, Maggie Sinzer and Jessie Ambrose led with two goals each. Caroline Joy had four draw controls for the Lions while four players picked up two ground balls apiece. In the goal, Colleen Packer had six saves and two ground balls. As a team, the Lions went 3-for-3 on free-position shots.

In a back-and-forth affair, Columbia and USC traded goals throughout the first half. Cuscovitch scored first at the 26:37 mark, but Johansen replied just over a minute later to knot the score at one-all. Ambrose went to goal unassisted to score and put the Lions up, 2-1, before Dreyer did the same for the Trojans to tie the score again at two-all with 17:08 on the clock. Ambrose picked up her second goal on an assist from Ashley Rinere for Columbia's third lead of the game at 3-2 with 15:59 left, but like a mirror, USC had an answer as Doherty dropped a pass off to Ruland for the goal and a three-all tie just 40 seconds later.

Not more than 10 seconds had gone off the clock since Ruland's goal when Michael took a pass from Johansen's draw control and put a ball into the back of the net to give USC what it thought was a 4-3 lead, but an illegal stick foul call in which Michael retrieved her stick before the officials handed it to her negated the goal and brought the score back to three-all. Both sides played some stout defense for 10 minutes before the Lions went up, 4-3, on a free-position goal by Sarah Greenberg with 6:16 left in the first half.

The Trojans forced a turnover on a Columbia clear attempt that Dreyer picked up and dished off Johansen who hit Doherty in stride for a goal to tie the score for a fourth time at four-all. Sinzer had the answer though and put the Lions up for a fifth time at 5-4 on her goal with 24:19 left in the game. Shaeffer got one of her three second-half saves on a shot by Greenberg that resulted in a goal for the Trojans scored by Ruland to bring the game's fifth tie, 5-5, with 21 minutes left.

USC's defense stepped up again as Eddy batted a pass down and picked up the ground ball to set up Michael for her goal with 15:26 left. The goal put the Trojans up for the first time at 6-5 with just over 15 minutes left to go. For USC's two goals, Columbia had a two-goal answer. First, Taylor Quinn scored from a free-position attempt (14:44) to tie the score at six-all before Sinzer earned a foul on Shaeffer to set herself up with an open goal free-position shot. Sinzer made good on the shot to put the Lions back on top, 7-6, with 12:34 left in the game.

Minutes later, the Trojans showed their defensive prowess again as sophomore Courtney Tarleton caused the turnover and picked up a ground ball. Tarleton passed the ball up to Moore who drove all the way to the goal to score for a seven-all tie. The teams traded turnovers on possessions before Johansen took matters into her own hands and scored unassisted to put USC up for good at 6:44, 8-7. Just a minute and 20 seconds later, Cordrey, who had been quiet most of the day dodged her way to the Lion cage and put the game-winning goal past the Packer to give USC the 9-7 advantage.

Another USC turnover put the ball into Columbia's hands which led to a goal by Rinere and cut the Trojan lead to one at 9-8, but the Trojans stood fast down the stretch and sealed the victory on Shaeffer's save.

USC is back in action on Wednesday (March 19) against Princeton (2-3) at 1 p.m. PT on McAlister Field. The game is the last of a six-game home stand by the Trojans to open the season. Last year, the Tigers defeated USC, 18-13, in Princeton, N.J., on March 3. Fans can watch the live stream via USCTrojans.com.


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