Trojans Beat UCLA, Clinch First SLC Playoff Berth

Freshman Nate Galper scored in overtime Thursday night, lifting visiting USC to a dramatic 9-8 victory over crosstown rival UCLA and securing the Trojans a spot in the Southwest Lacrosse Conference postseason tournament for the first time in program history.

According to a release from the Trojans (8-7, 3-2), this is the club’s first postseason berth, first winning season since 2005 and first winning record in the SLC since joining the conference in 2009. The Trojans advance to the SLC tournament, April 22-24 at either Arizona State or Arizona.

USC (8-7, 3-2) trailed 4-3 at halftime but took leads of 7-5 late in the third quarter and 8-6 early in the fourth. UCLA (5-8, 2-3) wouldn’t go away, though, tying the score with 7:33 left on its third man-up goal of the game.

Junior Kevin Cuellar (Ashburn, Va.) led USC with three goals, and Galper (Palisades Charter) and sophomore David Ayscue (Exeter, N.H.) each scored two. Peter Hollen (Torrey Pines) had a goal and an assist, along with nine ground balls, and Clark Rothenberg (Saratoga, Calif.) scored one goal, assisted by Pat Swan (Orinda, Calif.). Sophomore goalie Dan Katzman (New York) recorded 18 saves, 12 in the first half.

Freshman Dino Renna (La Costa Canyon) scored two goals for UCLA, and senior Carleton Knisley (Lewisburg, Pa.), freshman Nate Mohler (Loyola), sophomore Jeff McGill (Danville, Calif.), freshman Drew Goodrich (Naples, Fla.) each scored one.