Oregon loses heartbreaker to Oregon State 3-2 in final minutes
For 10 minutes in the second half of Friday night’s Civil War, the Ducks looked like they were well on their way to defeating No. 25 Oregon State. Unfazed, the Beavers regained momentum and netted two scores before the end of regulation and managed to escape Eugene with a 3-2 victory over their in-state rivals.
The Beavers (9-1-1) controlled play early in the first half, but did not score until the 36th minute when striker Chelsea Buckland put an uncontested shot into the net from just inside the penalty box. Going into halftime down 1-0 against a team that scores 80 percent of its goals in the second half, the Ducks (4-6-2) refused to lie down. Oregon head coach Tara Erickson reflected on the halftime discussion she had with her squad.
“I talked about body language,” Erickson said. “I thought in the first half they were thinking ‘woe is me’ in a few situations, but we really got after it in the second half and played good soccer.”
Just one minute into the second half, senior Jen Stoltenberg delivered the jolt Oregon needed. On an over-the-top pass from Kelsey Hones, Stoltenberg sped past Oregon State defenders and beat goalkeeper Colleen Boyd one-on-one. Stoltenberg saw an early second-half equalizer as necessary for the Ducks’ chances in the match.
“Down 1-0 at half, we needed to shift momentum and the early score kept us going throughout the second half,” Stoltenberg said.
The goal was her ninth of the season, and she now has half of Oregon’s scoring on the season, including a goal in each of the Ducks’ last five contests. In rhythm, Ducks’ senior Mercedes Walters put a shot into the upper right corner of the net in the 53rd minute, marking the first time all season a team netted multiple goals in the second half against Oregon State.
Then the Beavers took their turn to mount a comeback. Oregon State held a decisive edge in time of possession after the Walters goal. The Beavers unleashed a barrage of shots on junior goalkeeper Lindsay Parlee and eventually found the back of the net. Scores by Ashley Seal and Chelsea Buckland were a result of precision shooting, but also a shift in the Ducks’ mentality after getting ahead.
“We almost played not to lose,” Erickson said. “We became a little more tentative when we were ahead, and good teams can capitalize on those moments of indecisiveness.”
In several spots on the field, the Ducks made key personnel swaps coming into the Oregon State game. Parlee played the full 90 minutes in net, while sophomore Mo Fitzgerald and freshman Brynne Konkel both saw extended time on the field. Erickson went to great lengths in praising her junior keeper.
“It was an active 18-yard box for Parlee,” Erickson said. “The goals they had I wouldn’t put on Parlee by any means.”
The Pacific-10 Conference home opener was the first home match in more than a month for Oregon, which played in front of its largest crowd of the season. Almost 1,300 looked on as the Ducks erased a deficit in the second half only to relinquish their lead and fall on Buckland’s second score of the day in the 86th minute. In a loss, Oregon still found several positives in their play. Parlee looked at the duration of the Pac-10 schedule and saw eight remaining winnable games.
“We get better every time and we’re a good team,” Parlee said. “Every game is going to be a hard-fought battle like tonight, but we’re definitely going to win some.”
For Oregon, finishing has been a theme all season long. Through the end of September, the team had consistently outshot opponents but struggled to climb over the .500 mark. Now the Ducks must work just to get back to even for the season.
Oregon plays at Pape Field for its next two matches, with UCLA coming to Eugene on Oct. 15 and USC visiting on Oct. 17.
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