MORAGA, Calif. -- The Saint Mary's lacrosse team hits the road to begin its 2013 campaign, with games against San Diego State and USC providing a challenging first weekend for the Gaels.
Play begins Friday in San Diego as the Gaels take on the Aztecs at 7 p.m. The road trip continues Sunday with a 1 p.m. game in Los Angeles against the Trojans.
Starting slow won't be an option for the Saint Mary's, as the Gaels play their first four games against Mountain Pacific Sports Federation opponents.
That starts with a San Diego State team that will enter its game against Saint Mary's with a 1-1 record. The Aztecs were picked by MPSF coaches to finish fifth in the conference, and return all-conference selections Meris Walsh and Madison Wallace.
San Diego State earned its first win of the year on Feb. 17, beating host Stetson 18-1. Sophomore Michaela Jarvis and freshman Katie Gill each scored three goals in the victory.
USC (1-2) recently recorded its first win as a program, beating Presbyterian 24-4 for the historic victory.
In the win, freshman midfielder Amanda Johansen scored four goals, recorded 10 draw controls and picked up two ground balls to lead the Trojans. Freshman attacker Caroline Cordrey also had four goals.
USC added lacrosse as its 21st intercollegiate sport this season, and MPSF coaches picked the Trojans to finish seventh.
Saint Mary's returns a veteran-laden team as it tries to continue steady growth as a program. Last year's leading scorer, Amanda Cross, returns after scoring 57 points last season. That mark was good for fifth all-time at Saint Mary's.
The Gaels return to Moraga for their home opener on March 1, as UC Davis visits for a 6 p.m. contest.