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Michael and Miller Make Moves

pac-12player-michael.jpgYesterday, two members of USC women's lacrosse earned conference honors, as senior attacker Michaela Michael was named the MPSF Offensive Player of the Week and freshman midfielder Kerrigan Miller was named the MPSF Rookie of the Week.

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Michael earned recognition for scoring 11 goals in USC's three games last week: three against New Hampsire, four against Dartmouth and four against Cornell. By the end of the week, she had recorded her 31st career hat trick, the most in program history. She also boasts more MPSF weekly honors than any player in program history; this is her seventh. The Hillsborough, CA native also finished the week with six assists, 17 points and 14 draw controls.

While Michael earned her seventh weekly honor from the conference, Miller earned the second of her young career. The Bayport, NY product scored 10 goals and added one assist, eight ground balls, six draw controls, and four caused turnovers for the Trojans this week. Her 19 goals this season are second only to Michael's 22.

Michael and Miller's efforts helped USC top New Hampshire, 15-4, and Dartmouth, 19-8, but couldn't help the  No. 4 Trojans take down No. 11 Cornell.

The 6-2 Trojans hope to get back on track when they travel to face Stony Brook and Ohio State this week.

Follow the Women of Troy on Twitter to stay up-to-date on scheduling, scores and awards.


Home Sweet Home

USC women's lacrosse sets up for two home matches this week, looking to extend its winning streak at McAlister Field.

Tomorrow and next Monday, the No. 4 Trojans (3-1) square up with two teams they've never faced before.

USC has won 16 straight at McAlister Field, and will kick off its quest for 17 against Boston University (1-3) at 2 p.m. tomorrow. The game will be streamed live on

Next Monday, the Trojans host New Hampshire (0-5) at 4 p.m. on and Pac-12 Los Angeles.

USC's three Tewaaraton Award watch list members -- goalkeeper Gussie Johns, attacker Michaela Michael and defender Lydia Sutton -- will lead the Trojans into battle. After a five-goal loss at Florida last month, the Trojans are hungry to start a new win streak.


Three members of USC women's lacrosse were named to the Tewaaraton Award watch list, the organization announced this week.

The Tewaaraton Award is given annually to the top male and female collegiate lacrosse players in the nation, and the organization has tapped goaltender Gussie Johns, attacker Michaela Michael and defender Lydia Sutton as potential candidates.

Johns is following up an outstanding sophomore season by leading the MPSF in ground balls (4.5 per game) so far this year. In 2016, she led the nation in goals-against average and this summer, she'll compete with Team USA at the 2017 Women's Lacrosse World Cup.

Michael is on the watch list for the second straight year. So far this season, she leads the team with nine goals and is second in the conference in draw controls (8.25 per game).

Sutton, meanwhile, has forced 1.67 turnovers per game this season, which ranks eighth in the conference.

The Tewaaraton Foundation will announce 25 nominees on April 27. Before then, though, USC has 13 games to play, starting with next Wednesday's battle with Boston University at McAlister Field.

Sunshine State Split

USC women's lacrosse split its road matches against Florida and Stetson this weekend.

The No. 3 Trojans battled with No. 4 Florida in Gainesville, suffering their first loss of the season. USC trailed at the half for the first time since May 10, 2015, and ultimately dropped a 15-10 decision to the Gators. Cynthia Del Core led the Trojans with four goals, while Michaela Michael had 10 draw controls.

USC quickly got back on track with a win over Stetson in DeLand, FL, to move to 3-1 on the season. Freshman Kerrigan Miller (pictured) led all scorers with four goals, while Michael, Gabby McMahon and Alexis Kardias all netted three apiece to lift the Trojans to an 18-3 win. Michael's hat trick was the 28th of her career -- more than any Trojan has ever accomplished.

The Trojans enjoy a week-long break before getting back into action against Boston University on March 8. The match kicks off at 2 p.m. at USC's McAlister Field.


Early Season Studs

A veteran and a newcomer from USC women's lacrosse earned recognition

Junior goalie Gussie Johns was named the MPSF Defensive Player of the Week, while freshman midfielder Kerrigan Miller earned MPSF Rookie of the Week and ILWomen National Rookie of the Week honors.

Click here for the full release!

Both Johns and Miller played key roles in No. 3 USC's 11-10 overtime victory against No. 9 Northwestern.

Johns, who was recently named to the U.S. National Women's Lacrosse team, posted a career-high 17 saves against the Wildcats -- the second-most in program history. She allowed just 10 goals on 35 shots, and made a crucial stop on a one-on-one opportunity for the Cats in overtime. Last year's national leader in goals against average seems to be picking up right where she left off.

Miller, meanwhile, has established her presence in a short period of time. The nation's No. 1 recruit this year is tied for the team lead with five goals so far, including the sudden death game-winner vs. Northwestern. She finished the game with three goals, three caused turnovers, two ground balls and one draw control.

Johns, Miller and the Trojans are 2-0 heading into Friday's matchup with Florida in Gainesville. Follow the team on Twitter to stay up-to-date on scores and information!


Off to a Good Start

USC women's lacrosse came out strong in its first game of the 2017 season, delivering a 20-2 win over Saint Mary's.

Click here for the full recap!

The No. 4 Trojans built up a 14-1 halftime lead behind a Michaela Michael hat trick. Michael finished the game with three goals, 12 draw controls and an assist. The senior was one of 12 Trojans to score against the Gaels, whom USC has now defeated in all five meetings by a cumulative score of 95-24.

The resounding victory was USC's 18th straight at home and its second straight win in a season opener.

The Trojans hope to take their momentum into their next matchup, a Saturday clash with No. 9 Northwestern. That game kicks off at noon at McAlister Field.


USC_Lacrosse_San_Diego_state_mcgillen_1763.jpgUSC women's lacrosse kicks off its 2017 season tomorrow at McAlister Field against Saint Mary's.

Click here for the full preview!

After an undefeated regular season last year, the Trojans enter 2017 ranked No. 4 in the nation -- the highest ranking in program history and the highest a West Coast team has ever been slotted.

USC is familiar with the Gaels, having defeated them in all four matchups in program history by a total margin of 75-22.

The odds are in the Trojans' favor once again, as they have an impressive record at home over the last few years. Sporting a 23-8 all-time record at McAlister, the Trojans haven't dropped a match there since April 18, 2014.

USC returns core group of players who hope to continue to build the tradition of lacrosse at Troy. Michaela Michael, the 2015 MPSF Player of the Year, is the senior leader of a strong offense that includes Kylie Drexel, Gabby McMahon and Cynthia Del Core.

The Trojans have made their name on the other side of the ball, though, sporting the nation's best defense last year (5.8 goals against average). Goalkeeper Gussie Johns, who was recently named along with associate head coach Devon Wills to the U.S. Lacrosse Women's National Team, commands the defense.

USC also welcomes the nation's top recruit in midfielder Kerrigan Miller, who hopes to contribute immediately.

The fun starts tomorrow at noon at USC's McAlister Field.

New Heights

After a 2016 season that saw the Trojans go 20-1 with a trip to the NCAA Quarterfinals, USC women's lacrosse is ranked No. 4 in the IWLCA preseason coaches poll.

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The No. 4 ranking is not only the highest in the program's five-year history, but the highest a West Coast team has ever been ranked leading into the season. The three teams ahead of USC are defending national champion UNC, Maryland and Florida. Syracuse, which knocked USC out of the tournament last year, comes in at No. 5.

Last year, the Trojans far outperformed their preseason ranking. They entered the season as the No. 19 team in the nation, only to go undefeated in the regular season and in the MPSF, coming out on top of the conference. The Trojans boasted the No. 1 defense in the nation last year, and they return goalie Gussie Johns and defenders Nina Kelty and Lydia Sutton.

The No. 4 Trojans kick off the 2017 season at home vs. St. Mary's on Feb. 11.


High Expectations

USC women's lacrosse team, which finished the 2016 regular season undefeated and won the MPSF, was tabbed the No. 1 team in the MPSF heading into the 2017 season.

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The Trojans, who went 20-1 last season with a trip to the NCAA Quarterfinals, received each of the eight first place votes in the Coaches' Poll. It's the first time in the program's young history that the team has been the conference's preseason favorite.

This season, USC returns its top-notch goalkeeper, Gussie Johns, who led the nation in goals-against average last season and was recently named to the U.S. Women's National Lacrosse team. The USC defense is bolstered by Nina Kelty and Lydia Sutton, while Kylie Drexel and Michaela Michael will take hold of the offense.

The Trojans kick off their 2017 season on Feb. 11 vs. St. Mary's. Follow the team on Twitter for updates before the season opener!


Golden Goalies

USC_lacrosse_UC_davis_mcgillen_HR-3423.jpgBack in August, over 100 players tried out for the 2017 U.S. Women's National Lacrosse Team. Since then, three rounds have cuts have been made to whittle the team down to just 18 players. Of those final 18, only two are goalies, and both are members of USC's women's lacrosse program.

Junior goalie Gussie Johns and USC associate head coach Devon Wills made the final cut for the team that will compete at the 2017 Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) Women's World Cup from July 12-22 in Guildford, England.

Wills, a two-time world champion with U.S.A. Lacrosse already, has undoubtedly made an impact on Johns during her time at USC. Johns led the nation in goals-against average in 2016 (6.04 gaa) and was All-MPSF and IWLCA All-Region. She led the nation's No. 1 scoring defense (5.80 gaa) and was the team's leader in ground balls (49).

Johns becomes the first Trojan lacrosse player to ever make the World Cup roster. Before she sets her sights on the World Cup, though, she must take on USC's 2017 season. Wills, Johns and the Trojans get started on Feb. 11 vs. St. Mary's, with hopes to take the next step and win a national championship.


High Hopes

USC_Lacrosse_Stony_Brook_McGillen_9201.jpgHeading into the 2017 season, four members of USC's women's lacrosse team were named to Face-Off Yearbook Preseason Division I All-America teams as published by Inside Lacrosse (ILWomen).

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Senior attacker Michaela Michael, who was named a third team All-American at the end of last season, made the preseason first team. In 2016, she led the MPSF in points per game (3.80), goals per game (3.15), draw controls per game (6.15), and game-winning goals (5).

Junior goalie Gussie Johns earned second team preseason All-American honors. Johns led the nation in goals-against average in 2016 (6.04) was named All-MPSF and IWLCA All-Region last year.

Junior defender Lydia Sutton was named to the preseason All-American third team. Last year, she caused 28 turnovers and caused 37 ground balls en route to All-MPSF second team honors.

Senior attacker Kylie Drexel earned preseason honorable mention honors. She, too, was an MPSF second teamer last year, after posting 40 goals and 18 assists.

The Trojans enter 2017 with a No. 6 preseason ranking and the desire to take the next step as a program: winning the national championship. Their 2017 season starts on Feb. 11 vs. St. Mary's.

Stevens Center Academic Spotlight: Gussie Johns

USC's student-athletes are more than just champions on the field, court, diamond and pool --- they're champions in the classroom as well. Each week, we will get to know one of these scholarly Trojans a bit better in our academic spotlight.

Gussie.jpgName: Gussie Johns
Class: Sophomore
Sport: Women's Lacrosse
Major: Business Administration
GPA: 3.69

Aubrey Kragen (AK): So what is your major here and why did you choose it?

Gussie Johns (GJ): I'm a business major with a focus in entrepreneurial business, and I will be a sports media minor, I just haven't declared yet. I chose that coming out of high school, so I applied right into the business school. I grew up having two parents that were entrepreneurs, and I've always liked that side of the business industry: being able to create your own thing and follow that path. I love business just because it brings in so many different parts of society, because you can kind of take it where you want to take it, whether it be finance or accounting or marketing.

AK: So do you want to found your own company? Do you have an idea of what you'd like to do?

GJ: It's something I've always wanted to do, either start my own company or go into my family's business, just because I've been involved in it since I was a little kid. But from there, I would love to do anything involving sports or giving back as a philanthropic thing, because that's always been in my family and something I've always had a large passion for. I grew up in an environment that was surrounded so much by sports that I can't imagine leaving it right away, or really, ever. So that's definitely something I'll have to implement, whether it's in the actual business I do or outside, just still keeping it a part of my life as I get older.

AK: What did your parents do that inspired you to go into entrepreneurship?

GJ: My mom worked for Vogue right out of school and did consulting for a bunch of companies for a long time. And my dad started a company out of school. He sold that, and then in 2004 they came together and started a company called Bungalow, which later developed into a company called SCOUT, and they make tote bags and small accessories. They're known for their function, while bringing in the fun colors and patterns that my mom creates.

AK: How do you think competing in college athletics has prepared you to lead a company one day?

GJ: I think it definitely has a large impact on how I would act in the business world. I think being able to manage a team and knowing how to manage so many personalities and getting the best out of each person is something that I've learned throughout sports. I think that'll help me going forward in the business world, whether I'm the boss or just an employee. But being able to interact with so many types of people along with so many of the characteristics you learn in sports, like work ethic and time management --- the list goes on and on --- any college athlete is just that much better off once they get in the work world.

AK: Do you think being a goalie specifically --- the viewpoint you have of the field and your duty to make sure your teammates are in the right positions --- will help you be a leader in the business world?

GJ: Absolutely. That's definitely a large part of it, because I see things that other players don't see, because like a quarterback, you have a vantage point that no one else has. And it's kind of like the safety on defense that can see everything in front of them. So yeah, I definitely think that's one of the reasons that I was subconsciously drawn to playing goalie and another reason why I'm drawn to being at the head of a company or starting my own company, is being able to see things like that.

AK: You're in the Trojan Athletic Senate, right? Can you tell me about what you do in that organization?

GJ: Yeah, I'm one of the executive members. I actually just went to San Francisco this weekend as a representative for it. They take two reps from all the Pac-12 schools and we met there and did roundtables and got ideas from other schools. Right now, we just restructured TAS into three different committees: community service and outreach, and then we have health and wellness and kind of equality and diversity, and then the last one is trying to get people to more games and trying to get athletes more involved. I'm on the health and wellness one and we're trying to form a campaign to promote diversity within the athletic department and on campus.

AK: I know you've recently been involved with the U.S. National Lacrosse team. Can you update me on that?

GJ: So in August we had the tryouts, and from there, 36 players made it out of more than 100. So I actually made the team along with two of my coaches: Devon Wills and Alyssa [Leonard]. So in September we had a meeting and an intra-squad scrimmage with the 36 people and there weren't any cuts after that. Then we got back together in October and they cut from 36 to 24, and Devon and I made it to the next stage of cuts. January is the last cut and it goes to 18. It's just funny because she's a goalie, I'm a goalie and she's the older generation while I'm the younger generation. It's been fun to follow in her footsteps in a way and experience lacrosse as her teammate and not just about her player, because I'd heard so much about how she plays and how she's a leader and impacts the players around her, but I had never seen it firsthand. It's been an awesome opportunity to be at that level and with those types of players.

Trophy Time

During the Trojans' game vs. Colorado on Saturday, USC's female student-athletes were presented their trophy and check for winning the 2015-16 Capital One Cup.

The Capital One Cup recognizes NCAA Division I athletics programs for their cumulative performance across multiple men's and women's sports. The Women of Troy earned their first ever Capital One Cup Trophy by winning two national championships (water polo and beach volleyball) and posting eight total Top-10 finishes (lacrosse, volleyball, golf, swimming, track and indoor track) last season. USC's spring sports helped catapult the program from 17th place at the end of the winter season to the top overall spot.

As part of the presentation, Capital One also presented USC with a $200,000 check for student-athlete scholarships.

Currently, USC's women's soccer, volleyball, golf, cross country and swimming programs are working to keep the Women of Troy atop the college athletics totem pole. Women's swimming heads to the SMU Classic on Friday, while volleyball faces Oregon in Eugene on Friday night. Women's golf will start play in the Stanford Intercollegiate tournament on Friday as well.

21 Pilots

Heading into the 2016-17 season, representatives from each of USC's 21 sports met on top of the AT&T Center for the annual "All 21" photo shoot. The AT&T Center, just two miles from campus, overlooks the skyline of downtown Los Angeles, where the Trojans call home.

Top row, from left to right: Nick Bell (men's water polo), Nina Kelty (lacrosse), Rebekah Ent (cross country), Anika  Apostalon (women's swimming), Eric Sloan (men's track & field), Courtney Jaco (women's basketball), Karen Chung (women's golf), Lucas Yoder (men's volleyball), Reed Malone (men's swimming), Brianna Daboub (women's water polo), Sara Hughes (beach volleyball), Jeremy Martinez (baseball)

Bottom row, from left to right: Zach Banner (football), Zoe Katz (women's tennis), Jordan McLaughlin (men's basketball), Amalie Iuel (women's track & field), Madara Strautmane (rowing), Nick Crystal (men's tennis), Collin Pollard (men's diving), Taylor Whittingham (women's volleyball), Savannah Levin (women's soccer), Sean Crocker (men's golf), Madison Witt (women's diving)

Cover Girl Kerrigan

Kerrigan Miller, an incoming freshman on USC's women's lacrosse team, is featured on the September cover of "Inside Lacrosse" magazine.

Miller was the top recruit in the nation coming out of Bayport-Blue Point High School in Bayport, NY.

Halley Quillinan, the editor of "Inside Lacrosse Women," spoke very highly of Miller. "She's a special type of player that a program can be built around for four years, and the type that doesn't come around often," Quillinan said. "She's the first No. 1 recruit that USC has been able to snag, but undoubtedly not their last and I think her commitment to the program and the coaches there legitimized the Trojans as 'having arrived,' so to speak."

Come February, Miller will have the chance to help the Trojans improve upon last season's outstanding 20-1 record.


Gussie the Great

Fresh off a remarkable season for USC women's lacrosse, junior goalie Gussie Johns has been named to the 2017 U.S. Women's National Team. 

Johns, who hails from Washington, D.C., was one of just five goalies named to the 36-woman roster.

The 2016 MPSF first-teamer was 19-1 as a starter in 2016, and her 6.04 goals-against average led the nation.

While Johns is the first Trojan player ever named to the national team, she joins USC associate head coach Devon Wills and assistant coach Alyssa Leonard on the roster. The 36 players will compete for the final 18 spots on the squad for the 2017 Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) Women's World Cup.


Spring Smarts

After a phenomenal spring seasons in the water and on the court, beach, track and field, six USC teams closed the book on a successful academic semester as well, collecting postseason academic awards at both the conference and national levels.

Announced last week, eleven members of the conference-winning USC women's lacrosse team, five men's volleyball players and five members of the women's water polo team, which posted it's third-highest team GPA this semester, earned MPSF All-Academic recognition. 

After winning the program's first-ever NCAA national championship, four members of the USC beach volleyball team - Nicolette Martin, Jenna Belton, Jo Kremer and Sophie Bukovec (pictured) - secured spots on the first-ever Pac-12 Beach Volleyball All-Academic teams. Martin received First Team honors, Belton and Kremer were named to the Second Team, while Bukovec garnered honorable mention. 

Three women's rowers, Sara Bilimoria, Kaelyn Ibold and Ida Gortz Jacobsen, received Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association National Scholar-Athlete recognition

And rounding out the group of talented USC spring student-atheltes, USC senior Jaide Stepter, now headed to the NCAA Championships in the 400m hurdles, earned CoSIDA Academic All-District honors for her combined success on the track and in the classroom.


Stepping Stone

USC women's lacrosse took its first loss of the season on Saturday, ending the Women of Troy's historic campaign in the NCAA Tournament Quarterfinals at Syracuse. The Trojans clawed back from a three-goal deficit to tie the game and send it into overtime in the Carrier Dome, where the Orange delivered the sudden-death blow to win 12-11.

Click here for the recap.

The Women of Troy finish the year 20-1, setting nearly every program and conference record along the way. In her final game, senior Amanda Johansen led the team with four goals and six points. Junior attackers Cynthia Del Core and Michaela Michael combined to add five goals, while junior Kylie Drexel delivered a team-high three assists.


Very First First-Teamers

Continuing the trend in USC women's lacrosse's year of firsts, Michaela Michael and Courtney Tarleton were named the program's first-ever First Team IWLCA All-Americans on Wednesday. The pair forms somewhat of an offensive and defensive yin and yang on the field, complimenting each others' efforts on either half, and helping to lead their team to a perfect 20-0 record and berth in the 2016 NCAA quarterfinals this season. USC senior midfielder Amanda Johansen also joined the duo, receiving third team honors.

Tarleton, the 2016 MPSF Player of the Year, is a four-year All-MPSF performer and four-year team captain. She leads the MPSF and ranks seventh in the NCAA for caused turnovers (2.50 ctpg) and will forever be cemented in USC lacrosse history as one of the program's first All-Americans.

Sharing Tarleton's spotlight in history is Michael, the 2015 MPSF Player of the Year, who is second in the nation for total points and fifth in total goals. The team's scoring leader by a wide margin, the junior attacker was a third team All-American last season. 

All eyes will be on both USC captains on Saturday at 12 p.m. PT when the Trojans take on Syracuse at the Carrier Dome live on ESPN3. Be sure to follow @USCTrojansLAX for in-game updates, photos and more!


Defensive Guru

As USC women's lacrosse prepares for its first-ever NCAA Quarterfinal this week (Saturday at Syracuse), the Women of Troy know that the old adage, "Defense wins championships," applies to their sport as well. In its undefeated run this season, USC has held 18 of its 20 opponents under 10 goals.

Devon Wills is Lindsey Munday's associate head coach and defensive coordinator. She also happens to be one of the best goalies in the world, backstopping Team USA to World Cup titles in 2009 and 2013.

Click here for ESPNW's new profile on Wills.

While most coaches tell stories about back when they used to play, Wills practices everything that she preaches. No Trojan would dare challenge her prowess in goal.

"I can be pretty competitive and pretty aggressive," Wills told ESPNW.

While she continues her playing career as the first draft pick of the Long Island Sound in the newly formed United Women's Lacrosse League, she is also bucking the notion that great players do not make great coaches. Wills has passed her passion down to her pupils, fortifying USC's defense, and building the foundation for a championship run.

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