Oregon lacrosse falls in overtime in NCAA play-in game

The Oregon women’s lacrosse team fell to Navy 10-9 in overtime in Saturday’s NCAA play-in game at Pape Field. It was the Ducks’ first-ever postseason appearance, capping off a season in which the Ducks (14-5) won the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation regular season and tournament title. @@[email protected]@ @@[email protected]@

Navy’s Jess Fellows started the scoring just over 30 seconds into the contest and the Midshipmen added three more goals in the first 10 minutes, prompting Oregon to take a timeout. Sophomore Nikki Puszcz said the Ducks used the timeout to shake off their early issues.

“We used that timeout to fuel our power,” Puszcz said. “That’s when we looked to each other and said it’s not going to be this type of game.”

The Ducks battled back after the timeout, scoring four straight goals of their own before Navy’s Aimee Genarro scored in the last minute of the first half to give Navy the 5-4 halftime lead.

Oregon gave up another two quick goals to start the second half before scoring five straight goals to take a 9-7 lead into the final ten minutes of regulation. With the score tied and the clock ticking down, Puszcz had the ball in her stick but elected not to shoot at the goal and risk turning the ball over.

“It was really intense,” Puszcz said. “And the last thing we wanted to do was throw the ball away. I didn’t want to risk hitting anybody and get a card to hurt my teammates.”

Puszcz said the Ducks were eager to play in the high-pressure environment of overtime.

“We were excited to be at that point,” she said. “We did nothing but give it our all. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out the way we wanted.”

Seconds before the halfway mark of the overtime period, Genarro fired a shot that hit the crossbar and bounced down into the goal, giving Navy the 10-9 lead.

“I just turned and hoped it would go in and lucky for me, it did,” Genarro said.

Oregon played much of the second half without Jess Drummond, who left the game after picking up a second yellow card. The senior midfielder was among the Ducks leading scorers entering the game, with 29 goals on the year.

“It was certainly hard, but we aren’t a team that’s just one person,” head coach Jen Larsen-Beck said. “I was bummed for her, and I wish she could have played more.”

Jasmine DePompeo led all scorers with four goals for Navy, but she said any of her teammates could have just as easily been in her position.

“We have seven people who can score and capitalize,” DePompeo said. “Today, I was getting good looks, but I think we are a well‐rounded offensive unit.”

With the victory, the Midshipmen advance to the NCAA tournament for the third year in a row. The Ducks’ season ends with the loss, the final game in the career of six Duck seniors. @@[email protected]@

The players who return, however, will open 2013 in a brand-new facility and because of the Ducks’ regular-season MPSF title, Oregon will also host the conference tournament next season. Armed with more big-game experience, the Ducks will look to make an even deeper postseason run next season.

“Now we know where we could get and that we can go further,” sophomore Shannon Propst said. “We are already looking forward to next season.”

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