On senior day in Corvallis, Ore. the Oregon women’s soccer team couldn’t find a way to win its final home game of the season, losing to Oregon State 2-0.
The game meant a lot to several players on both teams, who were playing their final college soccer game. Oregon State had nine graduating seniors on the field while the Ducks had two: Achijah Berry and Gabbie Lindeman.
The Ducks played well for most of the first half before giving up a heartbreaking late goal with only 2:47 left before halftime. The Beavers, who had been steadily ratcheting up the pressure on the Ducks’ defenders, were able to cross the ball into Brandi Dawson. Dawson was able to slot the ball past Oregon goalie Abby Steele into the far post, her second goal of the season.
Concussions proved to be a costly enemy for the Ducks. Star forward Bri Pugh was held out from the match due to a concussion she suffered last week. The lack of Pugh’s speed was apparent on the field as Oregon seemed a step slow at times.
Coming out of halftime, Steele was benched in favor of freshman backup goalie Lauren Holden. Right before half Steele crashed into the post while trying to make a save. Both head coach Mertz and the Oregon training staff decided to hold her out from the rest of the game because she had started to exhibit signs of a concussion.
Oregon State was also playing a backup keeper, though its reasons were very different from those of the Ducks. Senior Audrey Bernier-Larose was given the nod by assistant coach Michelle Voiland because it was her last game for the Beavers. Voiland was filling in as head coach for Linus Rhode because Rhode was suspended for the game after receiving a red card in their previous game. Bernier-Larose completed the shutout in only her second start of the season.
While Holden played admirably in relief of Steele, she couldn’t prevent the second goal by the Beavers which sealed the game. Late in the second Jenna Richardson, who played well for the Beavers all game, received a pass at the top of the box which gave her an easy open shot. Holden couldn’t make the save as Richardson scored her team-high fifth goal of the season.
It was a quiet game for the Oregon offense. They were only able to generate three shots on goal.
With Pugh out Kristen Parr made the most of her extended role as the team’s number one offensive option. She used her strength up top to shield off defenders, holding onto the ball to maintain possession and allow her teammates to join her in the attack.
In the end, her efforts weren’t enough as the Ducks finished their disappointing season on a disappointing note (4-12-3 overall record, 2-8-1 in Pac-12).
Follow Chris Keizur on Twitter @chriskeizur