USC Surges Past Columbia for Third Straight Victory

LOS ANGELES USC (3-2) won its third straight game in a 9-8 victory over Columbia (1-3) on Monday, March 17, at McAlister Field. The Women of Troy used a 3-0 run to take a 9-7 lead after trailing, 7-6, and got a huge save from sophomore goalie Liz Shaeffer to seal the win down the stretch.

Sophomore midfielder Amanda Johansen grabbed five draw controls in the center circle and finished with two goals, an assist and two ground balls on the day. Freshman attacker Annie Ruland also scored twice for USC. Freshman midfielder Danielle Doherty had a goal and an assist to go with a caused turnover and a ground ball while freshman midfielder Michaela Michael had a goal and two draw controls.

On defense, the Trojans caused 10 of Columbia's 15 turnovers and were quick to the ball as they picked up 17 ground balls to the Lions' 11. Shaeffer recorded five of those ground balls to go with her seven saves but none was more impactful than her save with 55 seconds left in the game as she stonewalled Paige Cuscovitch and picked up the ground ball to preserve USC's 9-8 lead.

Sophomore defender Kelsey Dreyer had three ground balls and led all players with three caused turnovers. Dreyer also added a goal and a draw control to her final line. Senior midfielder Elizabeth Eddy caused two turnovers and had a pair of crucial ground balls for the Trojans. Despite going 0 for 3 on free-position shots, the Women of Troy capitalized on Lion turnovers and also got goals from sophomore attacker Caroline Cordrey and freshman midfielder Alex Moore to come away with the victory.

For Columbia, Maggie Sinzer and Jessie Ambrose led with two goals each. Caroline Joy had four draw controls for the Lions while four players picked up two ground balls apiece. In the goal, Colleen Packer had six saves and two ground balls. As a team, the Lions went 3 for 3 on free-position shots.

In a back-and-forth affair, Columbia and USC traded goals throughout the first half. Cuscovitch scored first at the 26:37 mark, but Johansen replied just over a minute later to knot the score at one-all. Ambrose went to goal unassisted to score and put the Lions up, 2-1, before Dreyer did the same for the Trojans to tie the score again at two-all with 17:08 on the clock.

Ambrose picked up her second goal on an assist from Ashley Rinere for Columbia's third lead of the game at 3-2 with 15:59 left, but like a mirror, USC had an answer as Doherty dropped a pass off to Ruland for the goal and a three-all tie just 40 seconds later.

Not more than 10 seconds had gone off the clock since Ruland's goal when Michael took a pass from Johansen's draw control and put a ball into the back of the net to give USC what it thought was a 4-3 lead, but an illegal stick foul call in which Michael retrieved her stick before the officials handed it to her negated the goal and brought the score back to three-all. Both sides played some stout defense for 10 minutes before the Lions went up, 4-3, on a free-position goal by Sarah Greenberg with 6:16 left in the first half.

The Trojans forced a turnover on a Columbia clear attempt that Dreyer picked up and dished off Johansen who hit Doherty in stride for a goal to tie the score for a fourth time at four-all. Sinzer had the answer though and put the Lions up for a fifth time at 5-4 on her goal with 24:19 left in the game. Shaeffer got one of her three second-half saves on a shot by Greenberg that resulted in a goal for the Trojans scored by Ruland to bring the game's fifth tie, 5-5, with 21 minutes left.

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