USC drops second straight game against top 20 opponent

The Trojans are 0-2 on their East Coast road trip after Friday’s loss to No. 13 Boston College.

BOSTON — No. 13 Boston College opened Friday’s matchup against No. 16 USC with a 6-1 run and did not look back.

The Trojans fell to the Eagles 14-8 in a game plagued by turnovers, unsuccessful clears and missed opportunities. In the first half alone, USC had 11 turnovers. According to head coach Lindsey Munday, these miscues kept the Trojans from gaining momentum.

“We did a great job on the draw, especially early on,” Munday said. “That’s where I think we probably could have set the tone earlier offensively. We had too many turnovers both in the clear and on the offensive end and against really strong teams like Boston, it’s going to be tough to win games when that happens.”

Graduate attacker Maddie McDaniel secured seven draw controls on the day for the Trojans. McDaniel also added one goal, her first as a Trojan after transferring from James Madison University, and two assists on the day.

But this slow start forced USC to climb uphill the rest of the game.

“During the game, we made some quick fixes based on how [Boston’s] offense was playing and how their defense was playing,” sophomore attacker Ella Heaney said. “I think just staying poised when we’re playing is really important, especially with such a competitive team.”

Heaney stressed the importance of the Trojans increasing their intensity and “amping up to” Boston’ energy. On the attack for USC, Heaney contributed two goals and a ground ball.

The Trojans did start to heat up after a timeout at the 20-minute mark when they were down 4-0. After that timeout, USC was able to cut into Boston’s lead. Winning draw controls and moving the ball quickly on attack allowed the Trojans to get a couple of easy scores. A goal by graduate attacker Izzy McMahon put the Trojans within two with eight minutes left in the first half.

Still, Boston had a response every time momentum seemed to be swaying toward USC and entered halftime with a 7-4 lead.

The Trojans continued to trade goals with the Eagles throughout the second half, including an even 4-4 scoring run for the first 23 minutes of the second half. During this run, freshman attacker Madison Waters scored her first career goal as a Trojan.

Despite limiting their turnovers to five in the second half, USC was unable to stop Boston senior attacker Charlotte North and graduate attacker Cara Urbank. Against a face guard from senior defender Lizzy Wagner, North still managed to post four goals and one assist. Urbank also added five points for the Eagles, coming from three goals and two assists.

In the last seven minutes of the game, it was all Boston. Senior goalie Riley Hertford jumped out of the goal circle and played defense in a final attempt to get the ball back for her team, but Boston was able to capitalize on the opportunity and finished the half on a 3-0 scoring run. Hertford posted eight saves on the day.

Still, Munday is proud of her players for responding constructively after their 3-15 loss against No. 3 Stony Brook on Tuesday.

“We had a lot of conversations about the mental things that we wanted to improve on [after Tuesday],” Munday said. “And I think the girls really got into that. But, we definitely still have a lot of things to work on. The silver lining is it’s about us. It’s our unforced turnovers that really kind of set the tone for the game. So we need to get back to basics, work on our stickwork, work our clearing and then go from there.”

USC will host UC Davis in its home opener March 7, hoping to get back into the win column.