Ducks soccer feels “sense of relief” after 3-0 win over Air Force
The Oregon Ducks women’s soccer club (2-6) surpassed its season goal total with a definitive 3-0 win over the Air Force Falcons (2-3) on Friday at Papé Field.
The Ducks entered the match with just two goals through their first six games, in which they were shut out four times. They’ve outshot their opponents in their last nine games dating back to 2014, however, so their offense was bound to explode.
“We worked hard for those goals,” head coach Kat Mertz said. “It was nice to see that pay off.”
Marisa Everett put the Ducks on the board in the 11th minute with the first goal of her career. The freshman midfielder positioned herself near the penalty mark when Abby Morrow crossed the ball in her direction. Air Force goalkeeper Alex Kahalley dove to intercept the ball but it bounded off her arms toward the right foot of Everett, who poked it in the open net.
“I’m excited,” Everett said. “I want to put more in.”
The Ducks continued applying pressure on offense and winning the battle at midfield. Sophomore midfielder Miranda Schulz found herself in a one-on-one with the keeper after the ball ricocheted off a defender in front of the goal box. Kahalley made the diving save but the ball squirted out of the box to the foot of an Oregon attacker, whom an Air Force defender fouled immediately.
Redshirt senior defender Kelsey Foo took the free kick from 22 yards out and buried it into the upper 90, off Kahalley’s outstretched fingertips. Foo’s first career goal put the Ducks ahead 2-0 in the 27th minute.
The Ducks had plenty other scoring opportunities. In the 38th minute, Kira Wagoner drilled a shot off the crossbar from outside the penalty box. The ball bounced once and descended right in front of the crashing Zoe Higgins, who tried to volley it in but sailed it over the wide open net.
At the end of the first half, the Ducks notched 13 shots to the Falcons’ one.
Oregon increased its lead to 3-0 in the 62nd minute, when Schulz one-timed Abby Morrow’s pass across the penalty box into the back of the net.
Everett nearly scored her second goal when she handled a cross in the penalty box on a timed run and chipped it over the goalkeeper’s head. The ball bounced up off the crossbar and landed in front of Marlo Sweatman, who tried to volley it in but launched it high.
The Oregon defense remained stoic. The veteran defenders held their opponents to one shot in a half for the second time this season, and earned their second shutout.
The Ducks finished with 24 shots to the Falcons’ five. Air Force came into the match averaging 14 shots per game.
Woo, the leader of the defense, described the emotion of the win as a “sense of relief.”
Mertz improved to 6-0 all-time against Air Force. She won all five games against the Falcons when she was head coach of UNLV from 2005-2009.
“For us it was just recharging the batteries,” Mertz said. “It was just nice to be back at home.”
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