Shannon Williams scores hat trick but Ducks fall to No. 9 USC, 17-7

It was always going to be a difficult game for Oregon lacrosse.

Oregon was slow out at the start — going scoreless for nearly six minutes to start the game — but USC scored two goals early that were answered by Mariah Gatti, who scored her 31st goal of the year for the Ducks.

Shannon Williams, a sophmore, notched her eighth hat trick of the season in the Ducks’ 17-7 loss.

“We knew we had to play a great game to come out with the result we wanted, and I think we made it a little too easy with our own errors,” head coach Katrina Dowd said. “There were too many turnovers in our clearing and in our offense to get going. They’re a good team so credit to them to come out to Eugene in a hard-fought win.”

Michaela Michael, USC’s best offensive player, was busy throughout the game whether she was carrying the ball up the field, taking the draw, creating room for her teammates or taking the shot herself. She scored six goals in the Trojans’ win.

“She’s a great player,” Dowd said. “I thought we contained her early. We did pretty well on the draw early, contained her on offense. And as great players do, they keep knocking till the door opens and they sure did. She buried her shots and kept her team on the draw circle. She’s a handful.”

USC (10-3) then went on a five-goal run, including two goals by Cynthia Del Core (three goals and three assists). The Ducks (7-6) responded with goals from Williams and Bella Pyne, but Oregon trailed 9-3 at halftime.

“I thought we had them at a point when it was 7-3,” Dowd said. “Love when you get a stop on D. It just gives you energy and I think it gets the attack’s attention and, ‘Hey let’s take care of this one and put it away.’ ”

USC struck first in the second half but Oregon responded with Williams’ second of three goals to keep the Trojans’ six-goal lead.

Williams then scored her hat trick-completing goal with 19:32 to play to cut the score to 10-5; however, USC scored on its next possession.

“Intensity wise it’s definitely stepped up,” Williams said. “Each practice I come out feeling like a better player. I’m constantly learning, constantly challenged, which is really nice.”

The goals kept coming for USC, which got a 16-5 lead at one point in the second half but two Oregon goals from Pyne and Gatti cut the Trojans’ lead back to 16-7. USC scored again with under 2:30 to play.

Neither side scored again.

“Clearly we still have a lot of room to grow and get better each day but it’s exciting,” Williams said. “It’s fun, I love it.”

Oregon takes on another strong team in Stanford on April 14 in Stanford.

Follow Shawn Medow on Twitter @ShawnMedow

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Shawn Medow

Shawn Medow

Shawn is an associate sports editor and reporter for the Emerald covering football, men's basketball, women's basketball, acrobatics and tumbling, track and field/cross-country and softball. He also hosts several podcasts, including a soccer podcast, on the Emerald Podcast Network. You can contact him at [email protected] or on Twitter @ShawnMedow.