LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Third-ranked USC used a five-goal scoring run to storm out of reach of visiting No. 7 Loyola Marymount under rainy skies on Sunday afternoon at McDonald’s Swim Stadium. Kaleigh Gilchrist stuck three of her career-high five goals during that surge, as USC worked its way to a 10-6 victory against the Lions. With their fourth consecutive win in the books, the Trojans improve to 15-3 overall on the year.
The first half of action was all Kaleigh Gilchrist on the USC scoring front. The sophomore went big for USC’s first goal of the day as she finished off a 6-on-5 setup from Nicolina McCall to answer LMU’s power play goal to start the game. The Lions took the lead again on a even score by Mackenzie Beck to put the pressure on the Trojans, who seemed to be hitting crossbars and posts on every try.
With two minutes to go until halftime, however, Monica Vavic found Gilchrist for a 6-on-5 blast that got it even 2-2, and the two young Trojans would hook up once again for a quick rocket from Gilchrist on the perimeter to bump USC into its first lead of the game, up 3-2 with 1:15 left in the half. On LMU’s final chance of the half, USC goalie Flora Bolonyai served up a stop against a Lion power play to preserve USC’s lead going into the break.
Bolstered by Gilchrist’s scoring boost and Bolonyai’s stand in the cage, USC rattled off three consecutive goals to open the third frame. Vavic delivered another assist — this one to Dominique Sardo — for a prompt crosscage strike that made it 4-2 on USC’s first possession. Nadia Dan would slice in a bar-in score next for a 5-2 lead before Gilchrist showed off her skill at set with a turn and score to make it a five-goal scoring run to a 6-2 lead for the Trojans.
A LMU 6-on-5 finish stopped the run with Whitney Delgado’s bar-in blast, but Gilchrist had more moves to flash in front of the cage for the Trojans. Her career-high fifth goal of the game came on a slick turn and switch for a left-handed push that made it 7-3 Trojans with 4:33 left in the third.
Three minutes later, Madeline Rosenthal set USC up with a 6-on-5 opportunity, and Vavic registered yet another assist when she hit Chelsea Silvers for another Trojan goal. And in the final minute, Gilchrist found Colleen O’Donnell on the post to tack up USC’s sixth goal of the frame, ballooning the Trojan lead to 9-3 on the way into the final period of play.
In the fourth, LMU was able to generate its first back-to-back goals of the day. Casey Flacks struck from set to make it 9-4 before the Lions would get a shot to cut in further on a 5-meter penalty shot with 6:15 on the clock. Alexandra Honny lined up for the shot, only to see Bolonyai go big for the save.
Two minutes later however, the Lions received another penalty opportunity, and that one Honny was able to sneak past Bolonyai, bringing the score to 9-5 USC. A searing shot from Patricia Jancso at 3:10 would stand as USC’s only score of the fourth, as LMU converted on one more 6-on-5 chance to wrap up the game as a 10-6 USC win.