The Pac-12 tournament has come to an end, with the USC Trojans crowned as the 2023 Pac-12 women’s lacrosse champions, earning their second-ever Pac-12 tournament title. The Trojans won both the regular season and the tournament for the first time since 2019.
The tournament opened with a tight game between the Bears and the Arizona State Sun Devils. The Bears ultimately fell short 5-7, marking the end of their season. Despite ending the season with a loss, Cal displayed immense improvement from the start of the season. This game was the closest matchup against the Sun Devils this season after losing to them twice with final scores of 9-13 and 6-15. The Bears outshot their opponent 30-28 and played a great defensive game.
Junior Kennedy Goss did it again, breaking Cal’s single-season record by finishing with 83 goals. Additionally, Goss passed Eliza Christman who previously held the title for single-season record at 81 in 2019 and moved past her own career high of 80 that she set last year.
Offensively, senior Maya Lawliss led the game with two goals followed by Kennedy Mason, Amanda Morse and Kate Rothman who contributed one goal each. Goalkeeper Riley Drullinger registered a save percentage of 58.8 with 10 saves. The Pac-12 goalie star Katie Vahle collected 11 saves with a 68.8 save percentage. Vahle ended the season as the goalkeeper with the highest saves in the Pac-12 with a total of 184 and the second highest save percentage at 46.1, just .2 below USC’s goalie who took first place. Vahle also made it onto the leaderboard with the fourth-place goals-against average with 12.13.
The Oregon Ducks and the Colorado Buffs followed with a 16-10 win for the Buffs. The following day the Sun Devils fell 5-9 against the Trojans. In an unexpected turn of events, the Stanford Cardinal lost 11-12 to the Buffs. The Buffs finished third in the regular season, while the Cardinal stood in second place. Additionally, during the last two seasons, the Cardinal won both the regular season and the tournament.
The final match to decide the Pac-12 tournament champion was between the Buffs and the Trojans, ending in a final score of 6-12. USC bested the Buffs in all aspects of the game, smothering their defense and outperforming them in offense. The Trojans outshot the Buffs 30-17 and kept them scoreless during the first and last quarter. Colorado scored the lowest amount of goals against the Trojans since the 2019 Pac-12 Championship title game.
The Trojans key offensive players were redshirt sophomore Isabelle Vitale with a hat trick and three assists and junior Maggie Brown with a hat trick and one assist. Junior Morgan Pence contributed the most for the Buffs adding a whopping five goals to the final score and the sixth goal coming from fifth year Charlie Rudy. Rudy finished the season as the leading offensive player in the Pac-12 with 65 goals and her teammate Sam McGee followed with 57.
Defensively, Buffs goalkeeper Grace Donnelly performed better, registering 11 saves with a 47.8 save percentage. On the other hand, the goalie for the Trojans collected four saves with a 40.0 save percentage.
USC received an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament and will be competing for the sixth time.