No. 13 USC lacrosse splits homestand with win over Cal and loss to No. 22 Stanford

The Trojans showcased their offensive prowess over the weekend.

USC junior midfielder Sloane Murphy has the ball in her crosse and she is being closely guarded by a Cal defender. Murphy is wearing red and the Cal defender is wearing blue.

The No. 13 USC lacrosse team had a two-game homestand over the weekend against the Cal Golden Bears and the No. 22 Stanford Cardinal. The Trojans started the weekend off with a 20-11 victory over Cal and followed that up with a 23-17 loss to Stanford on Sunday at Soni McAlister Field.

The Trojan offense was firing on all cylinders during the homestand, scoring a combined 37 goals across two games.

In their first game against the Golden Bears, USC’s offense led the way for a dominant victory. The Trojans scored at will, notching 10 goals by halftime and 20 for the game. This was only the second time this season that the Trojans have scored at least 20 points.

Head coach Lindsey Munday was impressed by the team’s offensive production.

“As we get later in the season, I think they get more and more confidence individually, as a group,” Munday said. “I’m proud of how they are playing and excited about the growth that we can see on that end.”

USC started off slow during its Sunday matinee, conceding two early goals to Stanford. However, the Trojans quickly responded with a 9-3 run and established firm control of the game until the 11-minute mark in the first half.

After USC went up 9-5, Stanford went on a game-altering 11-2 run. The Trojans were held scoreless for approximately 11 minutes before they finally found a goal with 13 seconds to go in the first half.

Stanford’s run changed the tone of the game. Suddenly, after lighting up the scoreboard for most of the first half, USC struggled to generate any clean looks nor could they stop Stanford’s offense which racked up seven goals in the last 11 minutes of the first half.

A big reason for the Trojans’ struggles was the absence of rover Olivia Dooley who suffered an injury during USC’s match against Cal. Losing Dooley was a huge blow to the Trojan defense as she currently ranks seventh in the country in turnovers caused per game with 2.36.

“We had to make some tweaks, some quick tweaks on our defense, so I think that also hurt our team,” graduate defenseman Lizzy Wagner said.

USC was also without graduate midfielder Kelsey Huff who leads the team in scoring on the season.

USC struggled to recover after Stanford’s game-changing run to end the first half. At the beginning of the second half, it was more of the same, with the Cardinal outscoring the Trojans 9-4 in the third quarter and taking complete control of the game.

In the second and third quarters, the Trojans were collectively outscored 17-8. USC’s showing in those two quarters would ultimately secure the Cardinal victory.

USC’s vaunted defense, which entered Sunday’s game ranked No. 1 in the Pac-12 with a 10.06 goals-against average, was carved by the Cardinal attack in the Trojans’ worst performance of the season.

Stanford’s 23 goals were the most scored against USC in the team’s history. The 40 combined goals also set the program record for total goals in a game.

The Trojans had been rolling, winning six of their last seven games. Their last loss also occurred at the hands of this Stanford team.

Despite their lopsided loss, Munday focused on how well USC played outside of the massive Cardinal runs.

“We wanna look at the positive,” Munday said. “There were good moments. It’s just in the moments where they’re stringing together a couple of good plays, how can we shift that momentum back to our side? We struggled with that today.”

USC will play the Colorado Buffaloes Saturday at Kittredge Field in Boulder, Colo. at 3 p.m.