Oregon dominates LIU Brookylin, 16-6, in home opener

Oregon lacrosse returned to Papé Field for the 2016 home opener, beating LIU Brooklyn, 16-6, Saturday afternoon.

After a close first half, the Ducks (3-1) opened things up in the second with a flurry of shots on goal. They dominated in transition, keeping the Blackbirds (1-3) on their heels. The result was a positive sign for the home team after they lost a heartbreaker last week against William & Mary.

“Its so nice to be back home,” Oregon head coach Jen Beck said. “Its special for the players to be in front of the Duck fans and their families.”

Leading the way for Oregon was junior Rachel Steinberg, who scored four goals on eight shots.

The Ducks got off to a quick start with two goals in just over two minutes of play. First junior midfielder Bella Pyne scored a free position goal from the top of the key, followed by a scoop from senior Carly O’Connell to build a 2-0 lead.

O’Connell had a relatively quiet performance for the team’s point leader. She had one goal and one assist.

“That is the nature of our offense, our team is very selfless,” Beck said of the scoring spread. “They did a good job being balanced — it’s nice its someone different each time.”

Nine different Oregon players recorded at least one goal, and the Ducks outshot LIU Brooklyn 34-12.

The Blackbirds were able to answer with a goal of their own, courtesy freshman Kathryn Harvey.

Oregon was patient in its attack early, able to move the ball behind the goal and find open teammates for quality chances. Defensively the Ducks slowed the opposing attack with high double teams in the midfield. Those allowed the defenders to regroup and find their marks.

LIU Brooklyn broke through with a goal, cutting the lead in half through the efforts of lead scorer Jenn Peters. Peters launched the ball with speed into the top right corner. On the game Peters ended with one goal, bringing her total to 15 on the season. A minute later LIU Brooklyn added another to make it 4-3 Oregon.

The Blackbirds offense worked from the top of the key. They spread things out to force one-on-one situations where their players could generate their own looks. This put pressure on the Oregon defense to not overextend and operate without support.

The Ducks ended the half by outscoring the Blackbirds by two goals to build a 7-4 lead at the break.

“It was a gut check for us at halftime, we knew it could be better,” Beck said.

Oregon opened the second with an increase of pressure, which resulted in an early goal reminiscent of the first. A minute in O’Connell was able to find senior Holly Johnson for the goal. The next Duck possession saw junior Rachel Steinberg used her speed up the middle to net another.

Sophomore Cambi Cukar was an important piece in the Oregon offense. The attacker posted up behind the goal, serving as an outlet for her teammates. She spread the ball and ended with three assists. Cukar also applied pressure when on defense, forcing the Blackbirds into uncomfortable situations.

After the Ducks were able to open up the game in the second, they were able to bring in some bench players to spread valuable minutes and experience. With the subs in the Blackbirds were able to pull back a few late goals, but the end result was never in doubt.

Today’s game was the first of three that will occur in a five-day span. Next on the schedule is a March 7th showdown against High Point.

Follow Christopher Keizur on Twitter @chriskeizur

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Christopher Keizur

Christopher Keizur

Christopher is a senior sports reporter for the Emerald. His work has been published by the Moscow-Pullman Daily News, KVAL and Lane Today. He is a Tabletop games aficionado and amateur ghost hunter.