The Ducks came out on top today against the Texas Longhorns today, winning 2-1 in their second game of the Oregon Nike Tournament. On Friday, Oregon fell to Wisconsin 2-1 in their first game of the tournament.
“There were some really good moments and some moments we need to continue to improve on,” said first-year head coach Kat Mertz.
In the first 10 minutes of the match, the Longhorns were able maintain possession of the ball.
However, with a solid pass from defender Achijah Berry, Bri Pugh rushed down the right flank with speed and put the ball in the net, giving Oregon a 1-0 lead with about 36 minutes left in the half.
“It’s fun to get a goal…and it gives me more confidence in later games to get more goals,” said Pugh.
Pugh’s goal gave the Ducks momentum throughout the rest of the half. Just minutes later Pugh had another opportunity to give Oregon another goal, missing the post just a tad wide.
“Anytime we have the speed that we do other teams are very cautious and nervous of that,” Mertz said.
Oregon’s goalkeeper Abby Steele had three saves for the half. Two came from the booming kick of the Longhorn’s keeper, Abby Smith, who was able to rocket the ball off of free position kicks straight to Steele in goal.
With just under 12 minutes to go in the first half, speed once again gave the Ducks an advantage. Junior midfielder Kiyomi Cook passed to freshman forward Shaylee Miner. Miner’s end line shot bounced off Smith in the goal to give the Ducks a 2-0 edge over Texas heading into the locker room at half.
“She (Miner) is scrappy, she works hard,” Mertz said. “We need people that are going to work and we need people that are going to fight for anything and we need half-chances and that’s what she does for us.”
At the start of the second half the Longhorns came out strong on offense. Steele got help from the post twice in the second half and had a total of six saves for the game.
With seven minutes left, a foul called on Oregon set up Texas for a penalty kick. Brooke Gilbert of Texas shot in the right coner of the goal just past Steele to give the Longhorns their first goal of the game.
The goal put more pressure on the Ducks, as they now were only ahead one goal with seven minutes left to play. Mertz stated that finishing games is something the team needs to improve for their upcoming games.
“We still need to get better on learning how to win the game and not giving it back to them,” Mertz said. ”It was a bit unfortunate to give up that goal in, but awesome job and we closed out a win,” Mertz said.
In the end, the Ducks were able to hold on in the final minutes to earn the win, bringing their overall record to 2-2.
“After losing against Wisconsin on Friday, it is nice to come back and win against a big name school,” said Pugh. “I think it is a statement for us.”
Oregon’s next match is against Hawaii on Friday at Papé Field. Game time is set for 4:00 p.m.
“We have Hawaii coming up and they are a good side,” Mertz said. “It is important for us to build and learn, look at our film and than go to the next step.”