By Corey Buchanan
The Oregon Ducks women’s soccer team finished the season on top with a victory over in state rival Oregon State at Pape’s Field on a rainy day in Eugene, 2-0. The Ducks improved to 8-10-2 for the season and 3-7-1 in the Pac-12.
The game had an energetic vibe from the get go. Both teams seemed to leave it all on the field resulting in staunch aggressive defense and failed offensive attacks. The physical play resulted in head on collisions, falls and a near knockout suffered by Haley Shaw who endured a rocket straight to the noggin in the second half.
“I am not sure where it cam off of,” said Berry. “I didn’t even know what was going on. I turned around and it was rolling into the net.”
The goal at the end of the first half seemed to boost the Ducks confidence, because they played with a lot greater precision offensively in the second half. The second half was a much different game.
Where the first half was condensed and physical, the second half was wide open and defined by impressive offensive plays by both teams. The second half provided break away after break away leaving defenders scrambling to stop the attack. One of the highlights was Morgan Powers’ spectacular kick over a defenders head to herself which led to a wide open cross that was ultimately kicked cleared by an OSU defense.
In the 64th minute Ryann Davie attempted a shot on goal on the right side of the field. The goalkeeper deflected the ball right to Bri Pugh in front of a wide-open net for an easy goal. The good fortune and goal scoring in this game were an antithesis of what we saw from this team for most of the season.
“We really just played our soccer,” said head coach Tara Erickson. “Played our game and had goals fall on our side finally, for once”. The goals weren’t all luck though, coach Erickson added. The goals can be attributed to forwards Cara Wagner, Achilaj Berry and Bri Pugh pushing the ball up the field aggressively.
The game provided a great memory for seniors, Mo Fitzgerald, Kelsey Hones, Casey Wilhelm, Maddie Mercer, Nicole Bakke and Scout Libke. Captain Libke will be especially missed. Erickson described her as “an extension of herself”. Not only will her leadership be missed, but her production as well. Scout not only led the team in assists but also finished the season second in goals for the ducks this season.
Libke had a strong performance in this game as well, shooting countless shots from 30 yards deep which all seemed to sail just over the crossbar. One of them though, was on target but was barely tipped by the beaver goalkeeper.
The ducks definitely have hope for the future, partially due to two outstanding freshmen. According to TopDrawerssoccer.com scoring leader Kristen Parr is the number 74 ranked freshman in the nation and defender Mariah Powers is number 52. The rest of the ducks roster is filled with mostly underclassmen, thus improvement between this year and next year is expected for this Ducks team.
On the other side of the coin, OSU has to be disappointed in their performance in this game. They seemed to dominate possession early on, but their numerous failed offensive attacks gave Oregon belief that they could win the game. The ducks in this game effectively neutralized the number four and six goal scorers in the Pac-12 Chelsea Buckland and Jenna Richardson. The Beavers finished the season at 11-6-3 overall and 3-5-3 in conference play.
As for the ducks, this game gives a sense of optimism headed into the off-season and provided a life long memory for the seniors. It was definitely a successful night, despite the rain.