The Oregon Ducks were able to rebound from a heartbreaking opening day 8-7 loss in overtime to No. 12 Dartmouth with a 16-5 win over Cincinnati on Sunday at Papé Field in Eugene. The difference between the two games was night and day. On Saturday, against Dartmouth, Oregon managed just two goals in the first half, and seven goals in 66 minutes of play. On Sunday, versus the Bearcats, the Ducks found the back of the net eight times in the first half alone and tallied another in the second.
“What’s nice is that you had back-to-back lefty goalkeepers, so we could take our experience from yesterday and not change too much,” Oregon head coach Jen Larsen-Back said.
Larsen-Beck hoped Saturday’s loss would put a fire in the belly of Oregon, which is exactly what happened.
“Because we played so well we wanted to bring that to today, and I think we did,” Kate Kathell said.
The Bearcats struggled to maintain possession in the first half, committing 16 turnovers. As a result, Cincinnati wasn’t able to get a shot off for the first 17 minutes. With 13:02 to go in the opening half, Megan Bell provided the Bearcats with their first shot which found the back of the net.
“I was proud of the ones (turnovers) we caused,” Larsen-Beck said. “It wasn’t just one person making a difference or one adjustment. It was just making sure we were hustling into place.”
By the time the Bearcats got off their first shot of the day, the Ducks had already built up a 5-0 lead. Oregon’s first four points each came from a different player as the Ducks showed good ball movement early against Cincinnati’s zone defense.
“We had to find the open player, and I think that was a lot easier than playing against a man-to-man defense,” Kate Cathell said. “Yesterday, Dartmouth was playing us behind and today they (Cincinnati) weren’t, so we were able to find the open player easy.”
Bell’s goal didn’t phase Oregon, who responded back with three consecutive goals, including two from Cathell to give Oregon an 8-1 lead. Cathell would go on to finish the day with four goals. The Bearcats were able to add one final goal with 4.7 seconds left in the half off a free possession shot from Kylie Ramsland as the Ducks went into the half with an 8-2 lead.
The Bearcats were able to cut Oregon’s lead to five with a power play goal from Marissa Pearson nine minutes into the second half. After a slow start, the Ducks were able to regain momentum with three straight goals to extend their lead to eight, including a 7-on-6 goal from Hayley Milner, putting the game out of reach for Cincinnati.
The Ducks had 10 players score at least one goal, including four from Cathell and a hat trick from Shannon Propst. Four Ducks scored at least two goals. Oregon outshot Cincinnati 38-10, with 19 shots in each half.
It could have been a much closer game if Cincinnati had been able to avoid the turnovers. As a result, the shots were few and far between for the Bearcats. When they could get shots off, though, the Bearcats made them count with half of their first period shots finding the back of the net.
The Ducks have the week off before facing High Point on Saturday and Vermont next Monday at Papé Field. Oregon will not have to take to the road until March 24 when they head east to face Marist in Poughkeepsie, New York.