The Oregon Ducks men’s basketball team matched up against Steve Alford and the UCLA Bruins at Pauley Pavilion on Saturday afternoon, and came up short in a 72-63 loss. With only about two weeks remaining in the regular season, both...
Fresh from their stunning defeat to the Arizona Wildcats, the Oregon Ducks head to Southern California this weekend to take on the UCLA Bruins (4-1, 1-1 Pac-12) at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. UCLA is also dealing with their first loss of the campaign after possibly overlooking the Utah Utes and falling 30-28 last weekend, in a defeat that knocked the Bruins out of the top 10 of the Associated Press Top 25. Head coach Jim Mora is in his third year with the University and has returned UCLA to the role of permanent contender in the Pac-12 South Division.
The Bruins entered the season with high expectations as the presumptive favorite in the South Division. The decision of quarterback Brett Hundley to wisely put off the NFL for at least another year gave UCLA 17 starters back for the campaign and the designation as the most experienced team in the Conference ahead of the Colorado Buffaloes. That and another useful round of recruiting had the Bruins widely tipped as a potential foe for the Ducks in the Pac-12 championship to be held this year at the new Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, the home of the San Francisco 49ers.
Hundley remains the focal point of the offense and has been ever since the redshirt junior first stepped onto the field in his freshman year. Touted by a number of NFL general managers as the top quarterback in last year’s draft had he chosen to come out, the youngster from Chandler in Arizona will now match up with Oregon’s own Marcus Mariota for that designation in the 2015 draft. Hundley reportedly considered Arizona, LSU, Oregon, Texas A&M and Washington before finally picking the Bruins over the Huskies – a decision new USC head coach Steve Sarkisian will rue now that he has to face the dual-threat quarterback in Los Angeles.
In retrospect UCLA’s blow out of last year’s South Division champion, the Arizona State Sun Devils, may have lulled Mora’s squad into a false sense of security before they welcomed in Utah to the Rose Bowl. Despite the 62-27 score line, the UCLA total was padded with both a kickoff return and an interception return as the Bruins took advantage of four Arizona State turnovers. Essentially the result was an indication of what UCLA could expect if everything went well for them and everything went wrong for the opposition.
But what happens when the opponent plays a relatively flawless game? Such was the case for the Utes who did not turn the ball over and had only four penalties as the pulled out the 30-28 upset last week. The result was not helpful to the Ducks as a win over the Bruins now means a little less than would a victory over what would have been a side in the top six in the country. Devontae Booker rushed for 156 yards and a touchdown on 33 carries against UCLA and that may well be a useful indicator as to how Oregon can get back to their winning ways.
After a tough loss to No. 12 USC the day before, the Oregon women’s tennis team stayed in Los Angeles for one more day to take on the No. 2 UCLA Bruins. Oregon came away pointless in a 4-0 loss. The match was the last of a nine-day, six-game road trip for the Ducks.
Oregon, facing a No. 1 and No. 5 doubles pair in two of the matches, struggled severely in doubles play.
In the first match, sisters Allie and Kadie Hueffner were defeated by UCLA’s Courtney Dolehide and Chanelle Van Nguyen, 8-2. The sisters’ loss was followed by another for Oregon from Nicole Long and Jasmine Minor. The two did not record a single point against the top-ranked paired of Robin Anderson and Jennifer Brady. It was the first time all season that the Long and Minor duo were shutout. The unfinished game was left in favor of UCLA, 6-2.
For singles play, a point immediately went to the Bruins when Sofia Hager defaulted the No. 6 spot.
The Ducks struggled from that point onward. Lina Åkesson lost 6-1, 6-0 to No. 55 Catherine Harrison in No. 4 singles and in a score that mirrored Åkesson’s, Allie Hueffner fell to No. 16 Jennifer Brady in the No. 3 spot. The loss in No. 3 singles clinched the win for the Bruins.
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After a 5-2 victory against UCLA the night prior, the three seed Oregon club hockey team took on the top seeded #15 Arizona State University Sun Devils where they fell 5-1. The loss meant elimination for the Oregon Ducks as ASU moved on to the Pac-8 Championship against the reigning champs, the #5 Utah Utes.
Near immediately after the game got underway, the first penalty of the game was earned. ASU forward Soloman Mabry committed a cross-checking penalty. 45 seconds later, Mabry was joined in the box by defensemen Frank Hughes on a delayed call for high-sticking.
Oregon had the two-man advantage for over a minutes 16 seconds, then the one-man for 45 seconds, but was unable to convert despite the high traffic in front of the ASU goal.
A few minutes later, the chippyness continued. After a scrum in front of the Oregon net following a shot by a Sun Devil, each team sent one of its own to the penalty box. 4-on-4 hockey ensued.
Tyler Halverson came into the box for interference making it a brief 4-on-3 game in favor of ASU. Although nothing came of the ASU power play, it wasn’t long until there were consequences for the plethora of penalties.
Oregon defenseman Chris Stankeivicz committed a penalty for holding while an ASU forward was charging toward the net with the puck. On a shot that was debatedly made while offsides, Mabry put the puck in the back of the net for Arizona State, giving the Sun Devils a 1-0 lead.
The second period had a few legitimate scoring chances for Oregon, but otherwise ASU had control over the game.
Just over five minutes in, Ryan Schwarzer scored ASU’s second of the night and extended its lead to two. The goal was his third of playoffs.
Oregon once again earned an ill-timed penalty and found themselves on the penalty kill. Luckily for the ducks, chance was on their side this time. Sun Devils goaltender David Aman gave away a turnover that Alex Sulitzer immediately picked up and put in the twine for a shorthanded goal.
ASU didn’t allow its lead to be brought down to one. Later in the period, Connor McBride got his strick tangled with another player’s in a race for the puck, then shoved the ASU player back down as he was trying to get up. The move drew a roughing call, which the Sun Devils capitalized on to score the final goal of the period.
The period ended 3-1, Arizona State. The Ducks were being out-shot 38-20.
The final two goals were scored in the third and came in quick succession.
First Jake Morganstern logged an even-strength goal for the Sun Devils. Right afterward, Oregon freshman Nick Sciabarra delivered a late hit to the forward and sent him into the boards. It resulted in a small scrum to the side of Oregon net as well as a roughing penalty against Sciabarra.
In the play that followed, ASU’s Steven Casaceli scored the fifth and final goal of the game with a shot that went over the shoulder of Ducks goalie Danny Cockriel. Less than half a period remained and Oregon was down 5-1.
The score stayed untouched as the game ended and Oregon was eliminated.
The Ducks ended with a regular-season record of 13-9, with 8-6 in the Pac-8. They were 1-1 in the Pac-8 tournament.
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Three seed Oregon took on six seed UCLA for the first game of the Pac-8 playoffs held in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Ducks emerged victorious with a 5-2 win over the Bruins.
The win over the Bruins means that the Ducks will be facing the No. 15 Arizona State Sun Devils, the top seed in Pool B, tomorrow night for a spot in the Pac-8 Championship, where the Ducks had fallen to Utah the year prior.
It’ll be tough for the Ducks to get into the finals though. Yesterday Arizona State beat UCLA in a 13-1 blowout and the Sun Devils hold a perfect 12-0 Pac-8 record. Oregon ended the season 8-6 in the Pac-8.
The first period between Oregon and UCLA was relatively eventless. Despite outshooting the Bruins 22 to 5, the period was scoreless with a lone penalty against Oregon’s Michael Luke for holding and only a few solid hits from either team.
The second period was when the majority of the action happened.
After an early goal by Oregon forward Patrick Sgarlata on the rebound, the Ducks found themselves up with the lead they should have had in the previous period. The point advantage was short lived, though, as a Bruin quickly tied it up for UCLA.
35 seconds later, the Bruins committed a penalty for interference and found themselves heading to the box. The penalty was costly. Halfway through the UCLA penalty kill, Dan Sulitzer reclaimed the Oregon lead by picking up a rebound from a slapshot by Tyler Halverson.
After two tripping calls, one for each team, the Ducks found themselves back on the power play. The opportunity gave them their third goal of the night as Stephen Casey was able to convert their extra man into another point.
The Bruins had their chance with a power play of their own when Matthew Ackman was issued a slashing call, but they remained 0-for-4 on the PP.
Oregon got its final goal of the period a few minutes after returning to even strength. Connor McBride put one past the goalie after a beautiful pass from Trevor McCarty.
The period ended 4-1 in favor of the Ducks with Oregon once again quadrupling the number of shots on goal by UCLA.
As Oregon goalie Danny Cockriel seeing little action in his own zone, the Ducks decided to switch him out for alternate Trevor Peterson for the third period.
UCLA earned the first goal of the period on a breakaway. As Peterson came out of the net to poke check the puck from the rapidly approaching Bruins player, the Bruin swiveled around Peterson’s stick and lobbed it into the essentially unmanned goal.
UCLA had brought its goal tally up to two where it would stay for the rest of the game.
Soon the game was in its final minutes and the Bruins pulled their goalie to gain the extra man. It was useless, though, as Michael Luke finished off the game with an empty netter for Oregon.
The loss meant elimination for UCLA.
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The Oregon women’s soccer team could not find enough to pull the upset over No. 2 UCLA, losing 2-0 on the road.
At the conclusion of the game, the Bruins rushed onto the field in celebration while they dumped Gatorade on head coach Amanda Cromwell after finding out they had clinched the Pac-12 title outright with the win. This was the 11th Pac-12 title for the school.
For the Ducks, the loss capped off a rough road trip where they also lost to USC in overtime 2-1.
Both of the Bruins’ goals came in the second half. First, Taylor Smith put the Bruins up by one in the 61st minute after finishing a volley that flew past the outstretched arm of Oregon goalie Abby Steele. The goal came on a long throw into the box that the Duck defenders were unable to clear away to safety.
Kodi Lavrusky scored the second goal in the 81st minute, which sealed the game for the Bruins.
While Steele did give up two goals, she played well for the Ducks despite the loss. She ended with three saves, including one where she was able to kick out her foot to deflect a low shot off frame.
For the game, Oregon seemed to be rattled by the UCLA pressure, having trouble connecting passes and getting the ball out of its defensive third. The Ducks had trouble generating scoring chances, ending the game with only three shots. UCLA had 21.
In the second half, the tempo slowed as Oregon looked to pack in defensively, trying to hold onto the scoreless tie for as long as possible. However the Bruins were eventually able to break through, scoring their two goals to claim the victory.
Oregon will look to rebound and end the season on a high note as they face rival Oregon State Thursday in Corvallis for their final game of the year.
Follow Christopher Keizur on Twitter @chriskeizur
The Oregon Ducks men’s basketball team (23-6, 12-4) have moved up five spots in the rankings to 19th. The jump comes after the Ducks beat Oregon State 85-75 last week. As of publication of this article, the USA Today Coaches poll has not been released.
Along with the Ducks, the No. 23 UCLA Bruins (22-7, 12-4) and No. 18 Arizona Wildcats (23-6, 11-6) round out the Pac-12 in the rankings. Also noteworthy, local Gonzaga takes the No. 1 spot in the poll following yet another week of pandemonium at the top of the rankings.
Oregon has two final Pac-12 games before the start of the NCAA tournament. With a three-game lead over the current No. 5 seed Colorado Buffaloes, Oregon is guaranteed a first round BYE in the conference tournament.
The Ducks are currently in a two-way tie for first place in the Pac-12 conference. While the difference won’t mean much as far is the tournament is concerned, the Ducks would like the resume fodder of being regular season conference winners. Just behind the Ducks and Bruins is Cal (20-9, 12-5).
In order to win the conference, Oregon would either need to win the conference outright or be in a tie with UCLA (giving the Ducks the tie breaker). Cal has the tiebreaker over Oregon.
On paper, the No. 6 Oregon volleyball squad’s 3-0 defeat of 7th-ranked UCLA at Matthew Knight Arena was not their finest hour. The neck-and-neck set scores from the game – 26-24, 25-23, and 25-21 – look rather lackluster when compared to the double-digit margins of victory the Ducks posted in several of their other wins this season, and their performance in the game was marred by multiple errors.
But coming as it does at the tail end of a difficult month which has seen Oregon lose three of its last seven matches, defeating UCLA may well prove to be one of the team’s most important wins of the season. After all, it’s one thing to annihilate a top-ranked opponent early in the season when you’re firing on all cylinders, but discovering that you have the talent and resilience to edge out a formidable adversary later on when you aren’t playing your best is the sort of confidence booster that turns great teams into championship contenders.
“This was difficult,” said Oregon head coach Jim Moore afterwards. “Driving back all [Saturday] night after Pullman [Washington] . . . we didn’t really do very much yesterday, just kind of handled the ball – no team stuff, we just talked about what we needed to do and just handled the ball a little bit. This was tough, and they pulled it off, so I’m happy for them.”
“We actually said ‘there’s no way we’re out of here in three,’ so we’re definitely excited,” said outside hitter Alaina Bergsma. “We knew it was going to be really close matches. They have a really good team, and we’re just happy to come away with a W.”
For the senior classmen on the team, the game was also the final regular season match of their college careers. To mark the occasion, Bergsma along with libero Haley Jacob, defensive specialist Kellie Kawasaki, and outside hitter Katherine Fischer were honored in a pre-game senior night ceremony in which each player was accompanied out onto the court by their parents and presented with a bouquet of Ducks-yellow flowers by coach Moore while the fans in attendance cheered their appreciation.
“I think we were all trying to not be emotional because of our senior night,” admitted Bergsma, “[so] we maybe relaxed a little instead of getting our same fight and energy that we normally come out with.”
Whatever the reason, the Ducks got off to a sluggish start, which the Bruins took full advantage of by jumping out to a quick 3-8 lead. However, after one of Coach Moore’s patented back-to-back timeout talks with his players (“I’ve got a little program that tells me to do that,” joked Moore), the Ducks soon fought their way back to an 11-11 tie.
From that point on, the set became a back-and-forth brawl featuring no less than five lead changes and eleven tie scores, the last coming at 24-24. Bruins outside hitter Tabi Love, who made life difficult for the Ducks all night long with her hitting prowess, had the dubious honor of being the lead scorer for both teams in the first set, earning 11 points for UCLA and giving away 5 to Oregon via errors.
Love and her teammates kept up the pressure in set two, but this time a strong hitting effort by Bergsma kept the visiting team from securing an early lead. Her assault was soon bolstered by scoring attacks from outside hitters Fischer and Liz Brenner and middle blocker Ariana Williams, but the Bruins gave as good as they got. The Ducks held the lead more often than their opponent, but not by much and rarely by more than two points before they were finally able to take the set thanks to a trio of kills by Fischer.
By contrast to the first two sets, UCLA never once held the lead in the third, but nevertheless still managed to keep the score close throughout largely on the strength of attacks by Love, outside hitter Rachael Kidder, and middle blocker Zoe Nightingale. Unfortunately for the Bruins, their best efforts were unable to match up to those of Bergsma, who appeared to have identified a weakness in visiting team’s defense just in front of the rear line of defenders and attacked it relentlessly. UCLA was able to tie the score late at 19-19, but was ultimately unable to prevent Oregon from taking the set not long thereafter.
Next up, the Ducks will travel up I-5 on Friday to face Oregon State in Corvallis for their regular season finale. After that, the games for the first round of the NCAA Division-I Tournament will be held between November 29th and December 2nd, but the brackets (and therefore who and where the Ducks will play next) have yet to be determined.
Alex Shoemaker, EDN Sports Editor
You’ve heard and read it time and time again, but there is no week off in Pac-12 conference. Each team you’ll face has the skills and potential to be you in any given series.
The 18-8 (6-3) Oregon Ducks baseball squad is just a game out of first place in the Pac-12 conference (behind Arizona and UCLA) and have climbed all the way to No. 14 in the College Baseball rankings listed on the NCAA website.
Following a 2-1 series victory against Utah at home, the Ducks went 2-3 during spring break with two embarrassing losses to Texas State and an equally impressive sweep over then No. 14 Arizona State.
Starting Thursday night, the Ducks will begin a three game series against No. 4 UCLA who at 20-5 (7-2) has one off the top programs in the country. The winner of this series will likely take a hold of first place in the Pac-12.
How do these teams matchup?
Oregon has been led all season long by its incredible pitching rotation of Jake Reed (2-2), Alex Kuedell (3-3) and Brando Tessar (4-0) who make for possibly the best starting rotation in the entire conference.
Reed has a team best era of 2.22 with Kuedell (2.40) and Tessar (2.64) just behind him. Jeff Gold (3-1) has also excelled this season for the Ducks with a 4.09 era in 22.0 innings of work including a complete game.
An area of issue for the Ducks over the past few seasons, relief pitching, has taken a huge step forward in 2012 with the success of closing pitcher Jimmie Sherfy (3-1) and his 2.37 era.
Offensively, the Ducks are also appearing to be going in the right direction.
Outfielder Kyle Garlick, second season with the Ducks, has a team leading .351 batting average with four home runs and 13 walks. Even more impressive is Garlick’s 1.000 fielding percentage, one of only two Ducks who has yet to commit an error with at least 20 put outs.
In order to beat the Bruins, the Ducks will need to play solid defense. Oregon is 10-1 when going an entire game without committing an error and just 5-4 with one error. When two errors are committed their record drops to 3-3.
The Bruins are incredibly similar to the Ducks in that both are exceptionally athletic and use speedy players to get on base and score enough runs to rely on dominant pitching.
Players three and four years into the program were part of the Bruins team two years ago that lost in the College World Series South Carolina. This team has experience in post season, something that gives them advantage over the Ducks.
UCLA relies more on offensive production then does Oregon with six starters batting .321 or better on the season. Two even bat over .400, something quite rare in the college game.
Despite UCLA’s 4.36 era by its three starters, their combined record of 13-3 speaks for itself. Oregon cannot get into an offensive battle with the Bruins.
UCLA will look to get offensive production from Jeff Gelallch (.415 BA) and Tyler Heineman (.400 BA) who are two of the top-3 run scorers and RBI guys for the Bruins.
Look for a series recap this Monday on Eugene Daily News.