USC’s showing at Pac-12 Shootout a reminder the club is rebuilding

James Conway
Freshman James Conway had a goal and an assist for USC on Sunday.

Last week we wrote about USC’s return to the field. This week, we’re not sure what to make of the Trojans. No one ever said rebuilding a lacrosse club was going to be easy, and the season is still young, but USC looked shaky this weekend.

James Conway
Freshman James Conway had a goal and an assist for USC on Sunday.

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The Trojans beat Washington State 7-3 on Saturday at the Pac-12 Shootout, then lost badly to Washington on Sunday, 15-5, dropping their overall record to 2-2. That’s not bad for a rebuilding team, but it’s the way they lost that raises questions.

The Trojans had only 19 players dressed on Sunday from a roster that lists 34, and they were missing a couple of starting attacks. As a result, they struggled to get much offense going, falling behind the Huskies 7-0 before finally getting on the board. A number of those goals came with Washington on man-up, including two during a three-minute, locked-in penalty for an illegal stick.

Even Saturday’s 7-3 win over Washington State looks shaky when you factor in the Cougars’ 12-0 loss Sunday to UCLA. Wazzu had only 14 players dressed on Sunday; I don’t know how many were available the day before, but I can’t imagine there were many others.

So, a week after beating SLC rival Loyola Marymount for the first time maybe ever, USC was less than impressive — and apparently missing some key players — against two non-league teams. No harm in that, but no momentum or buzz, either. And if the absent players was due simply to unfortunate scheduling (previous President’s Day weekend plans?), then hopefully the rest of the season goes smoothly.

The good news for the Trojans is they don’t face another SLC opponent until March 16, with five more non-league games before then to continue putting the pieces together.