Second half goals sink Oregon women’s soccer in shutout loss to Utah
An aggressive Ducks offense couldn’t find the back of the net on Sunday, as Utah pulled away in the second half for a 2-0 victory. Oregon out-shot the Utes 13-8 with six shots on goal, but was unable to convert on a number of good chances. The Ducks fall to 4-7-0, 1-2-0 in the Pac-12 with the loss.
“We came out strong and I thought we had some good services and energy,” head coach Kat Mertz said. “It just tailed off a little bit and we had people second-guessing themselves and being hesitant. We have to find that ‘We have to win’ mentality and gut it out.”
Coming off an upset win on Friday against Colorado, Oregon looked aggressive coming out the gate. Kira Wagoner led the charge with two quick shots on goal in the first four minutes, but neither yielded a score. Wagoner would strike again in the 15th minute of the game, once again to no avail.
“You always want to come out hard and set the tone and I was definitely going to make a statement in the first ten minutes,” Wagoner said. “It’s a Sunday game and games on a Sunday are really hard on everybody so if you get a team down in the first ten minutes, it’s pretty much over.”
Utah had several opportunities in the first half as well, but a solid back line for the Ducks kept the Utes at bay. The Ducks had one final chance in the half but once again came up short. The score going into halftime was tied 0-0.
The second half saw a rejuvenated and aggressive Utah team. Two minutes into the second half, forward Paola va der Veen fired a 30-yard strike into the back of the Oregon net, making the score 1-0. The goal did not bode well for Oregon, who is 0-7-0 when its opponent scores first.
Oregon needed to respond, but Utah had none of it.
In the 75th minute, more than 20 minutes after Oregon had its last chance at goal, Utah scored again; this time on a rebound shot from Natalie Vukic.
Down 2-0, the Ducks still wouldn’t quit. Their best and final chance to score came in the 83rd minute when Utah keeper Lindsay Luke, who had six saves on the day, snagged Kristen Parr’s shot in the box.
“Kristen Parr’s shot there at the end of the game could have changed the game,” Mertz said. “But what it comes down to is that it’s ‘Sunday soccer.’ In the NCAA Tournament, the championship game is on Sunday and we have to find a way to be able to compete on a Friday and on a Sunday.”
The Ducks were unable to win back-to-back games for the second time this season. They travel south to take on a couple of ranked opponents in the California Bears (23) and the Stanford Cardinal (5).
Follow Gus Morris on Twitter @xgasbus
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