USC women’s lacrosse fell short in a tough NCAA quarterfinal matchup against Boston College on Saturday, losing 20-14 in Newton, Mass. Despite travelling to New England riding a 11-game win streak, the No. 7 Trojans were unable to advance to the semifinals for the second year in a row. The No. 14 Eagles were able to figure out USC’s defense, which up until Saturday had been one of the best in the country, and for the first time all season, USC gave up 20 goals, getting outshot 38-25.The Trojans started the game slow, giving up three unanswered goals in the first seven minutes. Senior attacker Drew Jackson finally opened up the scoring for USC close to 10 minutes into the first half with her 25th goal of the season. But the Trojans slipped further behind as the half progressed, finding themselves down by five goals with about 10 minutes to go until the break.Coming out of the locker room trailing 10-5, freshman midfielder Kaeli Huff and senior attacker Cynthia Del Core each scored to trim the deficit to 3 less than two minutes after the second-half restart. But the Eagles’ offense could not be stopped, countering with three goals of its own. After exchanging goals, USC found itself three goals behind at 15-12, but that was the closest the Trojans would get. BC extended its lead with goals from junior attackers Kaileen Hart and Kenzie Kent.Senior attacker Michaela Michael brought the Trojans closer with a goal to make it 18-14, but the Eagles iced the game with goals from senior attacker Kate Weeks and freshman midfielder Sam Apuzzo, sending the Trojans home with a 20-14 loss. USC is now 0-3 all time against BC, and head coach Lindsey Munday’s squad has yet to make it to the Final Four in the program’s short, five-year history. For USC, Jackson and Del Core finished the day with hat tricks, while freshman midfielder Kerrigan Miller, Huff and senior attacker Gabby McMahon notched two goals apiece. Michael, the Trojans’ all-time leading goal scorer, was held off the score sheet until the final five minutes of the second half. Junior goalie Gussie Johns finished the day with eight saves, two ground balls and one turnover. Weeks was the catalyst for the Eagles’ offense on Saturday, leading the team with 9 points (three goals and six assists). In addition to Weeks, four other BC players contributed at least four points. Kent scored six goals, while Hart and senior attacker Kayla O’Connor each recorded hat tricks. Despite the disappointing loss, the Trojans finished the 2017 season with a program-best 18 wins, and in just half a decade of existence, the women’s lacrosse program has emerged as a contender in the MPSF and beyond. Eight seniors played in their final game as Trojans, including all-time points leader Michael, but the class of 2017 leaves the team stronger than they found it, boasting back-to-back conference championships. While USC has found immense success in the regular season in the past couple of seasons, Munday and company will look to take the next step in 2018.
Al Ain striker Asamoah Gyan will spearhead the Ghana attack against Burkina Faso tonight as he seeks to end the Black Star’s long wait for a fifth African Cup of Nations title.With their last triumph coming in 1982 there has been a series of false dawns for one of Africa’s most talented football countries.Ghana captain Gyan, who wears the PUMA EvoSpeed 1 FG football boot, was a runner-up in 2010 and tells Sport360° he is determined to take his nation one step further.Can you sum up the mood in the camp ahead of tonight’s match?We have had a good tournament so far and I am proud of what the team has achieved to this point. The spirit in our team is unbelievable and the attitude of the players towards each other has helped us perform on the pitch.This is the same spirit we had in South Africa three years ago during the World Cup and is the reason I love playing for my country – there is a unity I have not experienced with any other team, I truly believe it is unique.How would you describe the Cup of Nations to someone who has never seen it?It is like a tradition for us Africans and everybody is desperate to see the games and follow the teams. The fans love football with a real passion back home in Africa. During this tournament fans support their teams with all their heart, and they do everything for it, which makes this game so special to us. Do you remember the first time you were watching African Cup of Nations on television?Yes, I do remember it was in 1994. I watched Ghana play, but I think they lost against Ivory Coast. The tournament made a huge impact on me as a kid, to see what it meant to the people of Ghana was very inspiring for me.What did it mean to the people? What did it mean to you?It has always meant a lot to the Ghanaians, but back then I didn’t really know much about it, I didn’t follow the game as much. What I remember is that I watched great players like Abedi Pele and Tony Yeboah, who were amazing players at that time and I admired them a lot. Seeing them on television made people happy, and it made me happy.So it brought up a lot of positive emotions?Yes. That is why anytime I am on television, like when I play at the African Cup of Nations, I try to do it like them to bring back these positive feelings to the fans.You’re working with a new head coach now, James Kwesi Appiah, himself a former Black Star captain. How do you find working with him so far?He is a great man, everybody knows him as a gentleman. He has worked with the team for quite a long time and he knows the different qualities of the individual players. When he was appointed as the head coach, it seemed like a logical decision, as he has a great insight into what a player can achieve.He is a man who can take responsibility, which is basically what a coach needs. Since he took over everyone is happy and we are doing what he wants, in a tactical way, and we try to make sure we abide by what he says. How would an AFCON victory be compared with other highlights in your career?It would change a lot, maybe not for me personally, but in general it would change a lot of things in the careers of many players, because it has been a while since we lifted the cup and everybody in Ghana is expecting us to bring the trophy home. If we manage to win the cup, we are going to make history.