NCAA Women's Lacrosse Tournament: USC advances to quarterfinals in win over No. 3 Florida

2017 NCAA Women's Lacrosse Tournament Second Round: USC 15, No. 3 Florida 12


Drew Jackson and Gabby McMahon each scored two goals in the final seven minutes, Gussie Johns made two key saves late and seventh-ranked USC upset third-seeded Florida 15-12 Sunday afternoon in Gainesville, Fla., to win its 12th in a row and advance to the quarterfinals for the second consecutive season.

Trailing 12-11 with under seven minutes to play, the Trojans tied the game on a Jackson goal at the 6:06 mark and went ahead for good another Jackson man-up strike with 4:22 remaining. McMahon then scored two insurance goals over the final 3:30 and Johns stopped two point-blank Gator shots in the last three minutes to seal the deal for USC, who will face the winner of sixth-seeded Syracuse and Boston College next weekend for the right to go to the Final Four in Foxboro, Mass.

Johns was stellar in the net for the Trojans, amassing 14 saves and helping the second-best scoring defense in the nation to keep Florida, owners of the top-scoring offense in the country, to five goals below its season average and goal-less over the final seven minutes.

Senior attacker Cynthia Del Core scored four goals on four shots to pace USC, while MPSF Player of the Year Michaela Michael had two goals and seven draw controls and MPSF Rookie of the Year Kerrigan Miller added a hat trick. Kylie Drexel also added two goals to go along with two assists.

Defense carried the way for much of the first half in a battle of a stingy back line against a high-powered attack. After giving up a goal in the opening two minutes, USC held Florida to just two goals over the next 19 minutes. In the meantime, Del Core and Miller each scored twice to help propel the Trojans to a 6-3 lead at the 9:06 mark of the first half. Florida responded by finishing the half on a strong note, ending the frame with a Sammi Burgess goal with 44 seconds left on the clock to cut the Trojans' lead to 7-6 at halftime.

The Gators started the second-half scoring when Allie Pavinelli narrowly beat the shot clock at the 26:01 mark and raced out to a two-goal lead after Shayna Pirreca cashed in on a free-position shot to give Florida the 10-8 edge, but back-to-back free-position goals from Miller and Del Core drew USC level at 10-10 with 16:44 to go. The teams then traded goals until Caroline Benitez's strike with 7:07 remaining gave Florida a 12-11 lead.

This is the first time in program history that USC has won two NCAA tournament games in the same season, while the Big East champion Gators have lost a second-round game on their home field for the second year in a row.

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