Lacrosse hopes to keep hot start going against Duke

first_imgThe women’s lacrosse team will face Duke in Costa Mesa at 7 p.m. Saturday. The Women of Troy are off to a flying start after dismantling Stetson 21-2 at McAlister Field in the season opener.Junior attacker Michaela Michael bagged six goals in the game, consistently breezing by Hatters defenders en route to the net. Meanwhile, junior Drew Jackson attacked Stetson in the midfield all afternoon. Jackson scored a hat trick and also did her bits defensively, forcing a handful of turnovers.Jackson and Michael looked unstoppable, as did senior midfielder Amanda Johansen. During the program’s inaugural season in 2013, Johansen was named Rookie of the Year in MPSF. Three years on, Johansen has emerged as a veteran leader and an anchor in the middle for the Women of Troy.Johansen and Jackson powered the midfield in the blowout win over Stetson, but the defense played lights out.Senior Courtney Tarleton and junior Nina Kelty held down the fort and ensured that goalie sophomore Gussie Johns had a relaxing afternoon between the pipes. The defensive reinforcements, including senior Carley Horan, also stepped up and never lost concentration even once the team had built an unassailable lead.While Michael’s offensive dominance will be key in the upcoming fixture against Duke, the outcome of this game could very well come down to USC’s defensive performance. Duke is the No. 5 team in the land and is averaging more than 15.3 goals per game this season. The Blue Devils have played three games thus far, one of which was a home defeat to perennial powerhouse Northwestern.The Women of Troy fell just short in last season’s opener to Northwestern — a 12-11 overtime loss at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. In fact, this year’s opener, despite the lopsided score line, was a milestone for the program. USC women’s lacrosse was 0-3 in season openers, a statistic head coach Lindsey Munday certainly did not forget after the victory.Munday lauded her team’s positive spirit after the win and expressed her pride for a talented senior class that has built the program from scratch.“These girls bought into something that didn’t exist,” Munday said of the seniors. “They bought into sort of a vision, and so that’s really all you can ask for as a coach.”Nearly half the roster is composed of seniors. But it is Michael who will look to break her point total of 76 a season ago. Duke will undoubtedly need to craft an excellent game plan in order to slow — let alone stop — the dynamic attacker.Michael attributes her success to those around her.“I think it’s really all about my teammates,” Michael said. “They know what I’m good at, and they know what situations I want to get the ball in.”Before the Duke game, Munday will likely be doing shooting drills with the team.“I think offensively you can always work on your shooting,” Munday said.USC’s shooting against Stetson looked great, but an elite Blue Devils defense will really put the Women of Troy’s shooting accuracy to the test.Saturday’s game is part of the 2016 Orange County Winter Invitational.last_img

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