In what was a defensive struggle for most of the game, the Oregon women’s lacrosse team fell to No. 12 Dartmouth in overtime by a final of 8-7 on a wet Saturday afternoon in Eugene.
The game marked the opening of the new Pape Field for the Ducks lacrosse team, as they moved into a new facility on the opposite side of Autzen Stadium in front of a crowd of 287 dedicated fans to support the team.
After early goals from both squads, the first half proved to be a defensive struggle for the remainder of the time with no goals for the final 17 minutes and 31 seconds going into the break.
“I thought we were super patient on offense,” Oregon head coach Jen Larsen-Beck said. “When you have a top 20 defense against you, its just a nice confidence booster for your offense.”
Two minutes in, Dartmouth’s Courtney Bennett initially scored the game’s first goal, but the shot was called off as Bennett was called for a dangerous follow through during her shot. The Ducks took advantage with a goal from Nikki Puszcz to take the early lead three minutes in. Puszcz was the Ducks’ leading scorer in 2012 with 39 goals.
Five minutes later, Dartmouth was able to even it up with a goal from Hana Bowers, set up by quality passing behind the net. One minute later, Bowers struck again with another goal set up with passing from behind the net.
The Ducks answered back with a goal from Shannon Propst from inside the circle with 17:31 left to tie the game at two goals a piece. The goal would be the last of the half as both teams turned up the defensive pressure to prevent any further goals.
“I look at that as really good, strong defense on both sides,” Puszcz said. “We did have some shots, we didn’t produce on some good looks, but at the same time we made up for it on defense so I wouldn’t really look at that as a bad thing.”
Oregon ended the scoring drought five minutes into the half with an unassisted goal from Devon Frazer, giving the Ducks a 3-2 lead. Oregon added another goal just over a minute later with a goal from Sami Kiser to extend the lead to two goals. With 22 minutes left, Dartmouth ended their scoring drought off a free position shot from Lindsey Allard to cut the Ducks lead to 4-3.
Kiser added her second goal of the day with a shot that trickled past Dartmouth goalie Kristen Giovanniello to give the Ducks a two goal with 17:29 remaining in the game.
Two minutes later, Dartmouth’s Jaclyn Leto found the back of the net off a one-on-one chance against Federighi to bring the Big Green within one goal. Dartmouth would tie up the game with a goal from Bowers to give her a hat trick on the day. Liz Calby gave Dartmouth the lead with a free position goal, the Big Green’s third unanswered goal in just over 90 seconds.
After struggling to get the ball into the offensive zone during Dartmouth’s run, the Ducks tied it up with 11:38 to go off a goal from Puszcz, her second of the day. One minute later, Carly O’Connell gave Oregon the lead off a powerful shot from the twelve-meter mark. The goal was the first of the freshman’s career in her collegiate debut.
The Ducks were able to maintain possession for the final few minutes of regulation to hold for the last shot. Oregon caught a break, drawing a free possession shot with 25.8 seconds left. Haley Milner got off a hard shot on net, but was stopped by Giovanniello. Dartmouth had one final chance to score, but turned the ball over, sending the game into overtime.
The Ducks maintained possession throughout the first overtime, setting up for a shot from Puzcsz with 11.3 seconds to go that was stopped, keeping the game tied at seven goals each. 30 seconds into the second overtime, Liz Calby found herself on a breakaway coming off a foul, but the Oregon defense caught up to prevent any chance at a game wininng goal.
In the second overtime, after a turnover forced by Dartmouth’s Lindsey Allard, the Big Green maintained possession, setting up the game-winning goal from Liz Calby off an assist from Bowers with 1:03 remaining in the game, giving Dartmouth the 8-7 win.
“You know the pressure, but there’s no avoiding it,” said Federighi. “You either do it, or you don’t do it, and unfortunately I didn’t do it this time.”
The Ducks will look to rebound against Cincinnati on Sunday afternoon at Pape Field.