The Oregon lacrosse team’s season has ended, but not without a few steps forward
The Oregon women’s lacrosse team wrapped up its season with a loss against San Diego State in the first round of the MPSF Tournament on Thursday, ending with a 9-8 record under first year head coach Katrina Dowd.
After being hired in June, Dowd said that her ultimate goal was winning a national championship. Although she didn’t accomplish that this year, she made many strides forward throughout 2016-17 campaign that can help inch her team towards that goal.
The Ducks’ ended its season with the same record as last year; however, unlike 2016, this year the Ducks took down some all-time records on the offensive side of the ball.
Attacker Cambi Cukar rounded out her junior season with an MPSF-leading 42 assists and broke the Oregon career all-time assists record on April 16 against UC Davis. She ended the year with 124 total assists, and still has next year’s eligibility remaining.
“The most amazing thing is that she’s done it in her junior season,” Dowd said. “That’s pretty incredible to know that she still has a whole season left to kind of build her own record.”
Cukar tallied 36 assists as a freshman, 46 as a junior and 42 this season. Next year, Cukar says that her goal is to get more assists than this past year.
“My goal every year is to improve. … I didn’t think about [the record] every individual game, but it was a goal of mine to be able to break it as a junior.”
Attacker Shannon Williams broke another record for Oregon in her second year as a Duck. On April 23, against Saint Mary’s, Williams set the single-season goals record with 51 total goals. She added another record to her resume against San Diego State University, when she set the Oregon single-season points record with 72.
“She’s hungry,” Dowd said. “She’s an exciting player and she leaves it on the field.”
Both Cukar and Williams will return for the Ducks next year, as well as about half of the rest of the normal starters.
There is one significant change to come for Oregon next year as they move from the MPSF to the Pac-12. The conference is adding women’s lacrosse for the 2017-18 season after announcing the addition of Arizona State’s women’s lacrosse program last year. The Pac-12 will now field six teams, the minimum number to qualify for a conference championship and a NCAA tournament automatic bid.
The Ducks have a lot of work to do in hopes of receiving that automatic bid, especially with back-to-back MPSP tournament champions USC returning half of its starting lineup.
“Clearly we still have a lot of room to grow and get better each day but it’s exciting,” Williams said after playing USC in April.
Follow Kylee O’Connor on Twitter @kyleethemightee
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