USC Upends Duke In Orange County Winter Invitational

Orange County rolled out the red carpet for No. 5 Duke and No. 19 USC last night in the Orange County Winter Invitational.  While 2,000 fans enjoyed the game from the stands, another 600 tuned in to watch the game on the live stream.  Foothill coach Kate Hick and St. Margaret’s coach Holly Reilly provided the play by play.

The Women of Troy jumped out to a 3-0 lead and never turned back. Junior attacker Kylie Drexel scored four goals to lead USC to its first win ever over a top-10 opponent.  Thanks to USC for providing the following game recap.

COSTA MESA, Calif. – The 19th-ranked USC lacrosse team (2-0) upended fifth-ranked Duke (2-2) in an 11-5 upset victory at Lebard Stadium on Saturday, Feb. 20. The Women of Troy earned their first-ever win over a top-10 opponent led by a four-goal performance from junior attacker Kylie Drexel.

Drexel finished with five points (one assist) and had two of the Trojans’ 15 ground balls. Despite being face-guarded for the entire contest, junior attacker Michaela Michael managed to score a pair of goals from the eight-meter arc and picked up seven of USC’s nine draw controls. Senior attacker Caroline de Lyra scored two goals, had an assist, and one ground ball. Senior midfielder Kelsey Dreyer and junior attacker Cynthia Del Core had the Trojans’ other two goals.

USC doubled up the Devils with a 22-11 edge in shots and won the ground-ball game, 15-10. The teams were equal on draw controls with nine each, but the difference was again in the Trojan defense. The Blue Devils turned the ball over 14 times; 10 caused directly by USC’s suffocating defense.

Eight different Trojans were credited with caused turnovers led by two each from senior midfielders Amanda Johansen and Kaitlyn Couture. Johansen also had a pair of draw controls and a ground ball. Sophomore netminder Gussie Johns picked up her second win of the season and came away with two saves to go with one caused turnover and a ground ball.

For Duke, Kyra Harney and Olivia Jenner each scored a pair of goals. Kelci Smesko had the other bell-ringer. Maddy Acton and Maura Schwitter each had a pair of caused turnovers. Acton also collected two draw controls while Schwitter had one and a pair of ground balls. In goal, Kelsey Duryea had eight saves but surrendered 11 goals in the loss.

USC dominated the time of possession in the game and was the aggressor nearly the entire way. Del Core took a pass from Drexel in the third minute to put the Trojans on the board first. Michael earned a free-position shot and put a second goal past Duryea for a 2-0 USC lead. De Lyra did the same at the 23:31< mark and pushed the Trojans out to a 3-0 advantage.

Harney scored back-to-back goals in the 14th and 15th minutes to bring the Devils within a point, 3-2, but Drexel used her signature dodge to get to goal unassisted and reclaimed a two-goal lead for the Trojans with 11 minutes to go in the first half. Jenner needed just 30 seconds to respond for the Devils and trimmed the lead back to one, 4-3, with 10:27 to half. Drexel had the answer and went to goal again for her second score just one minute after Jenner’s. Drexel did it once more to secure her hat trick and brought USC a second three-goal lead at 6-3 heading into the halftime break.

Out of the break, the Trojans continued to control the tempo and went ahead by four goals on Drexel’s fourth goal of the game four minutes into the frame. Michael scored her second goal on another free-position shot at 23:11 before de Lyra put one in the back of the cage at 16:08 for USC’s fifth straight unanswered goal and a commanding 9-3 lead. Jenner scored on a free-position shot and then Smesko put the last Duke goal on the board with 11:42 to play. USC showed its stick-work prowess to melt the clock down before de Lyra found Mawhinney who was uncovered for the Trojans’ 10th goal of the game. Dreyer put the final exclamation mark on the Trojans’ win with her goal at 2:24 left in the game.

The Women of Troy will now go two weeks between games and host Michigan March 4, Vermont March 6, and Stony Brook March 14 for a three-game home stand at McAlister Field when USC returns to action.