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Marquette Women's Lacrosse Preview: at USC

The Golden Eagles wrap up their Spring Break road trip in Los Angeles with a chance to move above .500 for the first time in program history.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

This is the best we've ever seen Marquette women's lacrosse play.

Well, maybe that's not accurate.  Maybe they've been better, just against much better opponents.  In any case, it's the first time in program history that they've won three straight games.  The first two, against Duquesne and UC Davis, came in overtime, as the Golden Eagles showed perseverance and determination.  The most recent one, the middle contest on their current three game California road trip, was a straight up kicking of Saint Mary's, as MU scored the first four goals of the game and 10 of the 11 in the first half on their way to a 15-4 victory.

So now they look to extend that program record winning streak to a fourth straight game.  If they manage it, Marquette will move to 4-3 in 2015.  If they can down the Trojans for the first time in three attempts, then Marquette will be over .500 for the first time in program history.  They've been right at level in the past: twice in their first season when they alternated losses & wins in the first four games, and three times in 2014 when they started 2-2, 3-3, and 5-5.  The losses always preceded the wins, so MU has always bounced back to .500.  On Sunday, they get the chance to move past it.

Game #7: at USC (4-2)

When: Sunday, March 15, 2015, at 2pm Central
Where: McAlister Field in Los Angeles, CA
Audio/Visual: Streaming video via Pac12.com, and live stats.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWLax

After starting 0-2, the Women of Troy have won four straight.  That's not entirely different than how Marquette's season has gone so far, so we'll be seeing two teams who might be playing their best lacrosse right now.  With that said, it's entirely possible that USC is a much better team than Marquette is.  In their season lidlifter, the Trojans fell to Northwestern in overtime, 12-11.  That's the same Wildcats squad that clipped Marquette 13-6 in MU's home opener this season.  That game was a tightly contested affair for 51 minutes, but it was a nine minute stretch to open the second half that sent the Golden Eagles to a loss.

Three of the four straight USC wins have been at home, and the Trojans have outscored their opponents 55-17 in the three games at McAlister Field this season.  Two of the wins came in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play, which isn't surprising.  USC was picked to finish third in the MPSF this season, and both of the wins came over teams that were picked to finish in the bottom half of the league this season.  This will be the fourth game against MPSF competition for Marquette this season, and they're already 2-1 in the league.

Junior midfielder Amanda Johansen might have led USC against Cal on Friday night with five goals, but she's only second on the team in that category after that outburst, and third in points.  Junior attacker Caroline de Lyra leads the Trojan attack with 25 points this season on 15 goals and 10 assists, and it's sophomore attacker Michaela Michael who leads the Women of Troy with 17 goals on the season.  17 different players have scored for USC this season, but that might have more to do with the lopsided wins that they've been posting at home as of late.

Freshman Gussie Johns has taken over the cage for USC, playing all but 43 minutes this season.  She's allowing just 7.41 goals per 60 minutes, but that might be a function of USC's team defense.  Johns is only stopping 29% of shots on goal, so if Marquette can get free to get shots off, there's a pretty good chance that they'll go in.  Getting to that point might be difficult, though, as USC is credited with nearly 10 caused turnovers per game and the USC opponents are averaging 14.7 turnovers per contest.