Oregon soccer starts strong and defeats ASU for second straight victory
Consecutive shutouts have given back Oregon’s soccer team’s confidence.
On Sunday afternoon at Papé Field, the Ducks (8-8-1, 2-6 Pac-12) came away with a 4-0 victory against Arizona State (6-9-2, 1-6-1), giving Oregon its second straight win in Pac-12 play after going winless through the first half of conference play.
“It was nice to be able to get some players in there, and I thought all around it was a great team effort,” head coach Kat Mertz said.
After jumping out to a 1-0 lead in the first 45 minutes of play, Oregon came flying out of the gates following the intermission. The Ducks recorded three goals in the opening five minutes of the second half from Bayley Bruner, Abby Morrow and Sofia Chambers to put to the match away. The win gives the Ducks their second consecutive victory.
Goalkeeper Katelyn Carter tallied a shutout in 65 minutes of action, before giving way to Lauren Holden, who kept the shutout intact. Midfielder Marissa Everett also contributed, being involved in three of the Ducks’ goals. It was an all-around effort by the Ducks, with many players from both sides of the ball contributing to the dominant win.
“It’s rewarding for me to have [depth], and to know that when we put someone in, we’re going to be OK,” said Mertz.
Although ASU doesn’t carry the same prestige in the conference as Stanford, USC or UCLA, the Ducks won’t let that keep them from being encouraged by their overall effort.
Through the first half of conference play, Oregon never had the lead at the end of the first half. In each of their last two games against Arizona and ASU, the Ducks were the ones to jump out to that early lead and used it to control the tempo and go with their style of play.
Said Mertz: “If we can continue to start that way, and understand that you can’t take the foot off the gas pedal” the Ducks will continue to win.
Back-to-back wins put the team in a position to have a successful end to the season. The Ducks started 0-6 in the Pac-12 portion of their schedule.
“We’re coming out hot right now and playing like a team,” said Bayley Bruner. “We have a lot of confidence.”
Oregon hopes to extend its winning streak to three games when the team travels to play Washington in Seattle on Thursday at 7 p.m.
“I knew this team had the ability to do something special,” said Mertz.
Follow Cole Kundich on Twitter @colesportsUO
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