In their final home game of the season, the Trojans defeated UC Davis 12-6 at Soni McAlister Field Saturday afternoon. The win gives the No. 15 Trojans a 13-3 record to close out the regular season, with an 8-2 record in the Pac-12.
“We’re feeling great,” USC senior attacker Finley Ueland said. “It was a great win. Not the prettiest, but a win is a win, and we’re going to celebrate that.”
Not only did the Trojans celebrate a win to end their regular season, but they also spent the afternoon celebrating senior day. The team recognized the positive impact their senior and graduate student athletes had made on the team.
“It’s a great opportunity to play for this group that has really led us all year, that has changed the culture of USC lacrosse and really leaves a legacy off the field,” head coach Lindsey Munday said. “Really focusing on the relationships, and going deeper than just being a teammate on the field goes a really long way to your experience, and to play for one another and fight for one another, and I think that’s the No. 1 thing that collectively [the seniors] focused on this year.”
The impact these seniors made is felt by everyone on the team.
“On the field they are obviously great leaders, they are good at communicating with us and helping us get the wins,” said junior defender Danielle Carson. “They helped the new members of the team, the freshmen, everyone, build great relationships, they led us through the season, and they are definitely leaving a legacy for the rest of our team.”
It was the younger Trojans, however, that stepped up to get USC on the scoreboard. The Trojans were led in scoring by redshirt freshman attacker and reigning Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week Isabelle Vitale with three goals, followed by sophomore attackers Maggie Brown and Claudia Shevitz with two goals each. They were joined on the scoreboard by junior attacker Ella Heaney (1), graduate attacker Maggie Root (1), graduate midfielder Kelsey Huff (1), senior midfielder Katie Ramsay (1) and senior midfielder Michaela McMahon (1).
“We just brought great energy from the start,” Carson said. “Everyone just played together, we were communicating a lot, we brought the energy, the hard work, and it really just showed.”
The Trojans not only outscored the Aggies, but USC also out shot them; the Trojans put up 46 shots (31 on goal) throughout the game, while UC Davis had only 19 shots (11 on goal). The Trojans also won both the turnover battle 24-15 and the battle for ground balls 25-11.
“It’s always about playing together,” Munday said. “We did take care of the ball really well today, which was great. We got a lot of shots, it wasn’t our best shooting day, but their goalie played out of her mind, and it just gives us more room to grow and things to focus on next week going into the Pac-12 Tournament.”
The Trojans will enter the 2022 Pac-12 Tournament as the No. 2 seed, ranked behind only the Stanford Cardinal, who won the tournament in 2021 and stole the crown from the 2019 champions USC.
“We know that USC is on a lot of people’s minds on who to beat, so we want to make sure that we are going into [the Pac-12 Tournament] strong and make sure that we are playing our game, and the wins should follow,” Ueland said. “For the four years that I have been here, the team looks the best that I have ever seen … We are as ready as we can ever be, and we are going to tackle it.”
For Ueland and the rest of the seniors, this postseason is gearing up to be the triumphant end to their memorable careers.
“We’ve been through the hardest things we’ve ever experienced with these people,” Ueland said. “This team has given me everything, of course I am going to miss them with my whole heart.”