Revenge: a dish best served at home
The Oregon women’s lacrosse team will play its Mountain Pacific Sports Federation home opener tonight when they match up with the California Golden Bears in what is sure to be a down-to-the-wire thriller.
The Ducks (5-7, 1-0 MPSF) are coming off a big road win over the Fresno State Bulldogs last weekend, a game in which Oregon exploded for 18 goals, prolonging FSU’s winless season. The 18-6 victory turned around a four-game losing streak for the Ducks.
“We really focused on keeping ourselves accountable,” Oregon head coach Jen Larsen said. “And just gave them really small things to focus on and one sort of big one as we went along.
“So I think they were excited to have the big challenge, which allowed them to focus on the little things, which is what you have to do.”
Last year Oregon finished with a 4-2 record during conference play, with the two losses coming via Stanford in the season opener and then to Cal in the final week of conference play. That game, a 13-12 triple-overtime win for the Golden Bears, featured a monstrous comeback by the Ducks.
Oregon outscored Cal 7-1 during the final 20 minutes of regulation, taking the game to overtime with the score knotted at 11 all. Each team scored one goal during the first overtime period, but when the format switched to sudden death in triple overtime the Ducks weren’t able to keep Cal out of the goal. The Bears’ Molly Everett nailed a free-position shot with 15 seconds to play to seal the victory.
“Last year we lost twice to them, so we’re kind of out for blood right now,” Oregon sophomore Jana Drummond said.
Drummond set the single-game school record with seven goals in that contest — including Oregon’s lone overtime goal — and has continued that hot scoring this season. She leads the Ducks with 33 goals and 38 total points and is only one goal shy of matching her season total from last year.
“I think the ball is in her hands a lot more so she’s able to have that (scoring opportunity).” Larsen said. “She’s really good in transition and she pushes that, so not only is she scoring goals but she’s getting assists.”
Following closely behind Drummond in the offensive categories this season is junior Alex Breiner with 34 points on 26 goals and eight assists. Leading the squad in assists, however, is sophomore Bina Barrett with nine — three coming against Fresno State.
While Oregon experienced some newfound success over the last weekend, Cal failed to pick up a win as it dropped to 3-8 on the year and 0-3 in MPSF play. Its first loss of the weekend was an 11-10 double-overtime loss to Denver, which was followed up by a 12-7 defeat to then-No.11 Stanford.
Similar to Oregon, Cal features a pair of dangerous scoring threats. Sophomore Allie Welsh leads the Bears with 29 points on 15 goals and 14 assists, and senior Alyse Kennedy has chipped in 27 points and 23 goals this season.
Larsen and Drummond both reiterated the importance of keeping the ball out of the opposition’s hands in order to control the pace of the game.
“When we have the ball they don’t have a chance to score,” Drummond said. “So that’s kind of been our main thing this year is just keeping possession and holding on to it so they’re not able to score … Kill time when need to, score when we need to.”
Cal has the 5-4 advantage in the all-time series with Oregon as well as a 2-1 mark in Eugene. The Ducks, however, have put up a 3-1 mark at home this season. Game time is set for 7 p.m. at Papé Field.
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