Oregon lacrosse easily beats Fresno State 21-4

The Oregon lacrosse team (8-4, 3-0 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) manhandled Fresno State (2-7, 0-3 MPSF) 21-4 Friday afternoon to extend its undefeated start to MPSF play.  The Ducks took the lead less than a minute into the game and never looked back.

Oregon was wearing special grey uniform tops in memory of Keely Imel, who recently lost a battle with brain cancer at 18.  Imel’s older sister Mo played for the Ducks in 2010 and 2011 before transferring to be closer to her family.

The Ducks have played a charity game for the St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital for the past two years in Imel’s honor.

“It’s been a tough week, but I know that the players enjoyed putting their efforts and their hearts and souls out there today,” said head coach Jan Larsen-Beck.

The Ducks’ season-high 21 goals came from 12 different players, including five players who started the game on the bench.

“We wanted to make sure we were scoring in different offenses,” Larsen-Beck said. “It wasn’t just the same thing or the same people all the time.”

Larsen-Beck said that having so many different players score also helps to build confidence across-the-board.

Senior Jana Drummond led Oregon with five goals, but she was quick to credit her teammates.

“I think we just played as a team,” she said. “It wasn’t just individuals going one-on-one, it’s assisted goals.  We really got each other pumped up to play as a team.”

Oregon outshot the Bulldogs 41-6, which defender Lara Bennett credited to Oregon’s attack and midfield preventing Fresno State from being able to set up their offense.

Fresno State was 7-18 on clear attempts, and on one of those missed opportunities Bennett had a rare chance at goal and did not hesitate in scoring her second of the year. Fresno State goalkeeper Katie Wilbur saw her clear attempt get only as far as the restraining line before Bennet easily won the groundball and fired it past Wilbur.

“It felt really good,” she said. “In my head the entire time I was thinking ‘please go in, please go in, please go in.’”

Bennett said she has previously played as a midfielder, so the idea of shooting on goal wasn’t completely foreign, but she’s spent most of her time this year as a defender.

The Ducks didn’t play a flawless game, Larsen-Beck said, but they were able to bounce back from the few mistakes they did make.

“What I really liked is when there were mistakes they were able to fight back,” she said. “That’s something as a coach that you keep saying, but they put into motion so now they believe it. “

That lesson is a valuable one for the Ducks to learn heading into the stretch run of their season, Larsen-Beck explained.

“It’s really important to have a game like that,” the coach said. “Because it makes them realize that after a mistake instead of being down on yourself, if you put in extra effort, you can get the ball back.”

Oregon returns to Pape Field this Sunday for an MPSF tilt with UC Davis.

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Isaac Rosenthal

Isaac Rosenthal