SportsWomen's Soccer

Oregon women’s soccer celebrates head coach Kat Mertz’s birthday with 1-0 win

Oregon women’s soccer broke through against Portland State in the 81st minute to score the game’s only goal in the teams’ final non-conference match of the season Friday at Papé Field.

It also was a nice birthday celebration for Oregon head coach Kat Mertz.

“I’ll take a win for a birthday every single year, so it’s awesome,” Mertz said.

True freshman forward Krya Fawcett scored the goal — the first of her Oregon career. The Bountiful, Utah native created space inside the 18-yard box on the right side, setting up her left foot to send the ball to the top corner of the far post.

Her feeling after the goal: “relief.”

“Once it hit the net, I turned and screamed,” she said of the goal assisted by Caitlyn Wong.

“I’ve seen that since I’ve recruited (Fawcett) two years ago, she has the ability to come inside and she has a great left foot,” Mertz said. “We’ve been working with her all week about starting strong.”

In the 68th minute Fawcett sent a shot off the post, just 48 official seconds after she debuted in the game.

“On the sideline I knew that, if I did get time in, I had nothing to lose, so I just went at it and tried to find the ball and it ended up in the net,” Fawcett said.

Fawcett’s goal was one of the Ducks’ 16 shots on the day, something Mertz spoke of after the game:

“I think some of (the shots) in the first half we were shooting from distance, they weren’t as dangerous as I would of liked,” Mertz said. “But we’re still putting the shots there and now we got to be smart with our selection — make sure they’re dangerous and make the goalkeeper make a save.”

The Vikings finished with 5 shots on goal, just one in the second half.

Yet the visitors nearly broke through in the first half if not for the diving effort from Oregon goal keeper Halla Hinriksdóttir. Responding to a free kick 19 yards out, her nick affected the ball’s trajectory to bounce off the cross bar.

“That was a game changer,” Mertz said of Hinriksdóttir’s save. “It’s huge to look back and know that your goal keeper kept one out.”

The 1-0 result improves Oregon to 3-5-0 on the young season.

“I’m really proud of the girls for not giving up, not quitting,” Mertz said.

Oregon is now 10-4-1 all-time against Portland State, and will open Pac-12 play against UCLA on September 25 in Los Angeles, a match Mertz thinks will be a “great opening test” for the team. Fawcett, too, is looking forward to playing the defending conference champions:

“I think that we’re going to go kick some Bruins butt,” the forward said.

Contact Andrew Bantly on Twitter @AndrewBantly

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Andrew Bantly

Andrew Bantly

Andrew is a sports reporter contributing to Oregon football and baseball. The Bay Area-native hit his first (and only) official home run at age 12. You may have recently seen him on pink crutches.