USC Repeats MPSF Championship

Photo courtesy USC
April 27, 2017

MPSF TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE

April 27-30, 2017

Host: USC

McAlister Field; Los Angeles, CA

MPSF Tournament Central

Live Tournament Video Stream (Flo Lacrosse)

Final Regular Season Standings & Tournament Pairings

MPSF Lacrosse Release 12

Thursday, April 27 (Quarterfinals)

Game 1 - No. 3 Seed Stanford 19, No. 6 Seed California 5

Recap by Stanford

Career-best performancesfrom Elizabeth Cusick with six goals and Areta Buness with five helped fuel the Cardinal's 19-5 rout of Cal in the MPSF quarterfinals Thursday afternoon at USC's McAlister Field.

With the victory, Stanford moves its win streak to 15 against the Golden Bears as well as a 14-0 record under Amy Bokker and advances to the MPSF semifinals for the 14th time.

The Bears (5-13) jumped out to a two-goal lead to open the game, but the Cardinal (12-5) had seen that deficit before in its first meeting with Cal this season. Stanford answered with eight consecutive goals though, while the defense stymied the Golden Bears for over 20 minutes to send the Cardinal into the break up 11-3.

Stanford kept up the offensive grind the second half leading to a season-high 46 shots. Cal opened the half scoring first, but the Cardinal shut the Bears down again and went on another eight-goal spree to finish posting the third-highest score of the season.

The Cardinal will face the second-seeded Colorado Buffaloes in Friday's semifinal for a chance to make its 20th straight appearance in a conference championship game. Game time is set for 4 p.m. PT at McAlister Field in Los Angeles, Calif.

Game 2 - No. 5 Seed San Diego State 18, No. 4 Seed Oregon 13

Recap by SDSU

LOS ANGELES -- Behind senior Ijeoma Ikpe's school record-tying seven goals, the fifth-seeded San Diego State lacrosse team posted its first-ever victory at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament in three appearances with an 18-13 triumph over No. 4 seed Oregon in the quarterfinals Thursday at McAlister Field. With the win, the Aztecs (10-7) advance to the semifinals where they will face host and top-seeded USC (14-3) on Friday, starting at noon PT. In addition, SDSU set a program standard with its 10th victory of the season and avenged an earlier 11-9 road loss to the Ducks (9-8) in its conference opener on Feb. 11. Ikpe's seven-goal outburst equaled the team's single-game record, initially set by Meris Walsh against Saint Mary's on March 2, 2012. Senior Kristen Hickey also contributed to the offensive bonanza with her second consecutive hat trick, while fellow classmate Kayla Deitz tallied five points on two goals and a career-high three assists. In addition, the Aztec cause was advanced by senior Erin Jeffery (2g, 1a) and sophomore Harlowe Steele (1g, 2a), who finished with three points apiece, while junior Mackenzie Lech and sophomore Jill Haight tied for game-high honors with five draw controls each. Not to be outdone, senior goalkeeper Katrina Reeves came up big in front of the cage for SDSU, posting 10 saves while matching her own school record of seven ground balls, originally set on April 30, 2015 against Colorado. The Aztecs jumped out to a quick 2-0 advantage on a pair of strikes by Deitz and Ikpe in the first two minutes of the game, before Oregon answered with three consecutive goals to take its only lead of the afternoon with 24:03 remaining in the first half. SDSU countered with four straight tallies over the next five-plus minutes to build a 6-3 advantage it would not relinquish. Ikpe and Hickey fueled the run with two markers apiece, chasing the Ducks' starting goalkeeper Becca Katzen by the 18:41 mark of the period. The pace of the contest slowed somewhat over the next 10 minutes and change, with Oregon receiving goals from Cambi Cukar and Shannon Williams sandwiched around a strike by the Aztecs' Jeffery. However, the Scarlet and Black crafted another 4-0 blitz over the final 7:42 of the half, capped by Ikpe's tally at the buzzer, to take an 11-5 lead into intermission. SDSU's 11 goals marked the team's highest first-half production of the season. The Ducks threatened to make a game of it in the first 12 minutes of the second period, fashioning a 5-1 run to pull within 12-10 by the 17:43 mark. Williams and Bella Pyne sparked the outburst with two goals each, while Cukar added a single marker during that span. However, SDSU responded with aplomb once again, as five different players found the back of the cage over the next nine minutes to put the contest out of reach. Freshman Marissa MacRae ignited the timely run with her first collegiate goal on a man-down situation, while Haight, Lech, Hickey and Ikpe followed with tallies in succession. Trailing 17-10 with 8:49 left, Oregon scored three of the game's last four goals, but those proved too little too late as Ikpe tied the Aztec record on a free position attempt with just 1:13 to go. Despite a 20-17 deficit in ground balls, SDSU outshot the Ducks 30-28, including a slim 24-23 margin on goal, while maintaining an 18-14 edge in draw controls. Oregon was led by Cukar, who recorded eight points on five goals and three assists, while Williams finished with four markers of her own. Reserve keeper Maddie Clark came up with five saves in nearly 40 minutes of action for the Ducks after taking over for Katzen, who re-entered the game with 8:49 remaining.

BYE-- 1 Seed USC and 2 Seed Colorado

Friday, April 28 (Semifinals)

Game 3 -- No. 1 Seed USC 18, No. 5 seed San Diego State 7

Recap by USC

LOS ANGELES -- The seventh-ranked and top-seeded USC lacrosse team (15-3) defeated fifth-seeded San Diego State (10-8) by an 18-7 count in the semifinals of the 2017 MPSF Tournament at McAlister Field on Friday, April 28. The win allowed the defending conference champion Trojans to advance to their third-consecutive title game where they will face the winner of a semifinal between Stanford (12-5) and Colorado (15-2) at McAlister Field on Sunday, April 30, at 1 p.m. PT. For the seventh time this season, three different Trojans scored at least three goals in the same game. Senior attacker Michaela Michael shared game-high honors with senior midfielder Drew Jackson. Each had four goals. Jackson's four goals matched her career high and was her fifth-career game over the three-goal mark. She also secured a draw control and caused a turnover. For Michael, her four goals marked her 39th-career hat trick game. She added nine draw controls and a caused turnover. The Trojans' third hat trick came from senior Gabby McMahon who scored her fourth-career hat trick with three goals. McMahon also had an assist and caused a pair of turnovers. Senior attacker Cynthia Del Core played the distributor role and dished out four assists to go with one ground ball. Freshman attacker Ashley Hill scored a pair of goals and picked up three ground balls. Freshman midfielder Kaeli Huff had two goals, two ground balls, and a draw control. Sophomore attacker Gabbi Klein scored a goal and handed out a pair of helpers while sophomore midfielder Allie Gershman scored a goal. On defense, junior goalie Gussie Johns had four saves, but was disruptive to the Aztec offense as she caused three turnovers and collected seven ground balls. Freshman midfielder Kerrigan Miller had five ground balls, three caused turnovers, and two draw controls but was also an offensive factor with a goal and an assist. Sophomore defender Avery Hogarth had a pair of ground balls. For San Diego State, Alex Watson scored three goals while four other teammates scored one goal each. In goal, Katrina Reeves had 11 saves, but was on record for the loss. She had five ground balls. The Aztecs scored the first two goals of the game; one each from Kayla Deitz and Ijeoma Ikpe. It took seven minutes for USC to get on the board, but it did when Huff scored off a pass from McMahon. The goal set off a 5-0 Trojan run that included one from Jackson and then three straight by Michael for a natural hat trick; all unassisted. The Aztecs snapped the run on a goal by Kirstie Greenlaw, but McMahon took a pass from Del Core to score the first of three straight Trojan goals with six minutes to halftime. Jackson scored the final two to give USC an 8-3 lead at the break. Del Core dished to Huff and McMahon for the first two goals of the second half and a 10-3 Trojan lead before Watson scored her first goal for SDSU. Klein answered but Watson sandwiched that goal with another one of her own. In a defensive struggle through the belly of the second half, the Trojans managed to score three straight with goals from Miller, McMahon, and Jackson to build a 14-6 lead. Watson completed her hat trick before Michael scored at 10:30 and then Hill scored back-to-back to put the Women of Troy up by 11, 17-6. Gershman scored one more on a free-position shot and then Sarah Dorl scored the final goal for the Aztecs with eight seconds left to make the final score, 18-7, for the Trojans.

Game 4 - No. 2 Seed Colorado 14, No. 3 seed Stanford 13

Recap by CU

LOS ANGELES - Miranda Stinson matched the school record with five goals, including three in the game's final 7:45 to lift the University of Colorado Buffaloes past Stanford 14-13 here Friday in the Semifinals of the MPSF Tournament.

With the Buffs down 11-10, Stinson tied the game at 11-11 with 7:45 left on her third goal of the game, and then at the 5:03 mark, she put the Buffs up by two at 13-11. She then pushed the Buffs up by three at 14-11 with 1:50 left in the game.

Stanford then had a furious finish, scoring at the 1:20 mark to make it 14-12 and then again at the 1:11 mark to pull within a goal. Colorado called timeout with 47 seconds left and then ran out the clock.

The Buffs improve to 16-2 on the season while the Cardinal falls to 12-6.

Katie Macleay and Johnna Fusco both recorded hat tricks with three goals apiece. Darby Kiernan, Cali Castagnola and Carly Cox each scored one goal apiece for the Buffs.

Next up the Buffs will face USC in the MPSF Championship. USC defeated San Diego State 18-7 in the other semifinal. The two will play Sunday at 2 p.m. MT.

Sunday, April 30 (Championship)

Game 5 - No. 1 seed USC 16, No. 2 seed Colorado 11

Recap by USC

LOS ANGELES - The top-seeded USC lacrosse team (16-3) won its 10th consecutive game in a 16-11 victory over second-seeded Colorado (16-3) to claim the 2017 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament title and secure back-to-back league championships on Sunday, April 30, at McAlister Field. By virtue of the victory, the Women of Troy receive the MPSF's automatic qualifier bid into the upcoming NCAA championships. It is the Trojans' third consecutive berth in the NCAA tournament.

Senior attacker Gabby McMahon was selected as the tournament's Most Valuable Player and was joined on the all-tournament team by senior attacker Michaela Michael, junior goalie Gussie Johns, and freshman midfielder Kaeli Huff.

McMahon scored a career-high four goals and secured her fourth-career hat trick. Michael scored four goals including a pair from free position and had a game-high seven draw controls. Johns put up 13 saves and set a new school record with nine ground balls to go with two caused turnovers. Huff scored three goals for her second-career hat trick and picked up a ground ball.

Senior attacker Cynthia Del Core also scored a hat trick; the 12th of her career, and added two assists for five points. USC's other two goals came from senior attackers Kylie Drexel and Drew Jackson. Drexel added a pair of draw controls and Jackson had an assist and a draw control. Freshman midfielder Kerrigan Miller dished out two assists and grabbed four draw controls. Junior defender Lydia Sutton caused a pair of turnovers.

For the Buffaloes, Johnna Fusco had four goals including four from free position and added a pair of ground balls. Miranda Stinson scored three goals with two from free position, and Carly Cox scored two goals to go with an assist. In goal, Paige Soenksen had five saves and three ground balls. Kelsie Garrison picked up five ground balls and caused four turnovers. Darby Kiernan secured six draw controls, caused two turnovers, and handed out a pair of assists.

Just two minutes into the game, Michael worked her way into the arc and earned a free-position shot, which she turned into a quick 1-0 lead for USC, but Colorado responded when Cox went to goal unassisted to even the score at 26:46. Del Core put the Trojans in front for good when she scored at 23:29. It took another six minutes, but the goals came in bunches as McMahon took a pass from Jackson and went low to high to score at 17:35. 45 seconds later, Miller dished to Huff for the goal and then did it again 25 seconds after that to get Michael another clear shot at the back of the net. When the dust settled, USC led Colorado, 5-1, with 16:23 to play.

The Buffaloes remained patient and stopped the scoring run when Fusco scored from free position at 15:21. Colorado was able to hold off the Trojans for another two minutes, but McMahon put her second goal into the back of the net from free position and then scored again off a pass from Del Core before Jackson bounced a shot past Soenksen for an 8-2 USC lead with 11:33 until halftime. Colorado didn't falter however, and responded with three straight goals of its own--one each from Marie Moore, Fusco, and Stinson--to close the half down just three goals, 8-5.

The Buffaloes' stampede to end the first half had little effect on the Trojans in the second as they reeled off a 5-0 run to push the lead to eight goals at 13-5. The 13th goal marked the highest goal total (at the time) that either team had ever scored on the other in the all-time series history. Huff started off the Trojans' second-half story with a free-position goal, but McMahon and Del Core hooked up again for a 10-5 lead to double up the Buffs. Michael and Del Core scored back-to-back free position goals before Drexel wheeled around the crease before firing a shot high over the Buffalo goalies' shoulder for the 13-5 lead.

Down eight goals, Colorado clamped down on defense and forced the Trojans into turnovers to preserve the Buffaloes' chances. Despite stellar saves from Johns, the Trojans couldn't hold off the CU attack, which opened up a 4-0 run with goals from Cox, Fusco, and a pair from Stinson. Stinson scored her last goal with 8:25 to play to close the gap to four goals at 13-9. The Trojans battled back and won the draw and Huff snapped the Buffalo run with her goal at 6:51. A minute later, Michael scored her fourth goal of the game to put the Trojans back on top by six, 15-9. Fusco and Katie Macleay did their best to keep the Buffaloes in it and scored two more goals, but Del Core's goal at 1:49 put the exclamation mark on the 16-11 win as the Trojans bled out the clock to secure the win.

The Trojans now await selection, seeding, and the determination of their opponent in the first round of the NCAA championship tournament. USC will receive one of the 13 automatic bids into the tournament as the MPSF champion. The balance of the 26-team bracket will be formed out of at-large selections made by the NCAA committee. NCAA.com will stream the selection show on Sunday, May 7, with play set to begin with first-round games on Friday, May 12.

2017 MPSF LACROSSE ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM

Jr. Defense California #7 Meredith Haggerty

Jr. Attack Oregon #22 Cambi Cukar

Sr. Goalie San Diego State #21 Katrina Reeves

Sr. Midfield San Diego State #39 Ijeoma Ikpe

So. Midfield Stanford #18 Julia Massaro

Sr. Attack Stanford #21 Kelsey Murray

Sr. Attack Colorado #16 Johnna Fusco

So. Midfield Colorado #17 Miranda Stinson

Jr. Defense Colorado #24 Sarah Brown

Sr. Attack USC #2 Michaela Michael

Jr. Goalie USC #3 Gussie Johns

Fr. Midfield USC #37 Kaeli Huff

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER

Sr. Attack USC #32 Gabby McMahon

mpsf-lax