Ducks defeat Sun Devils 3-0 for first Pac-12 win
After losing its first five Pac-12 games, Oregon Soccer exploded for a 3-0 win over the Arizona State Sun Devils on Friday night.
The win gave the Ducks their first conference win of the 2017 season, and pushes Oregon (7-7-0, 1-5-0 Pac-12) closer to head coach Kat Mertz’s goal of at least ten wins on the year.
The Ducks began their offensive onslaught in the third minute. Marissa Everett took the ball in from the left corner and had her first shot deflected. Bayley Bruner followed the deflection with another shot, only for that one to be saved as well. In characteristic style, Everett was in position and played the rebound into the back of the net.
“The way we started, that’s what Ducks soccer is about,” Mertz said. “Get a goal in the first three minutes of the game, it makes me smile. Obviously, it’s a good start for us.”
Everett was just getting started. Bruner was streaking up the left side of the field in the 26th minute when she played the ball to Everett, who fired it home in stride for her second goal of the game. The score was Everett’s fifth of the season, making her the Ducks’ leading goal-scorer, passing the injured Kyra Fawcett.
“It felt great,” Everett said. “I wanted to get as many as I could. I know Bayley [Bruner] really well, and when she’s in we’re always in sync.”
The Ducks struck again, this time in the 74th minute. Miranda Schulz threaded the ball into the bottom left corner of the net from the top left corner of the box for her first goal of the season.
“It feels amazing, especially where our team’s been at,” Schulz said. “I love this team to death. I owed it to my team. I knew I needed to score for my teammates.”
The Ducks finished the match with 23 shots — a stark change from the five they notched against Washington last week. The offense was fierce and fast, and the Sun Devils were unable to hold the Ducks back.
“It’s really just a testament to our players and the hard work they put in this last week,” Mertz said. “Everyone across the board was frustrated with the U-dub game. Only ‘X’ amount of shots against U-dub wasn’t our style, so it was definitely nice to get 23 shots today.”
Equally dominant was goalkeeper Halla Hinriksdottir, who finished the day with five saves, good for her fifth clean sheet of the season.
“I think we’ve had, as a team, more clean sheets this year than we’ve had the last couple of years,” Hinriksdottir said. “So it feels great to get three and concede none.”
While the win marked the Ducks’ first conference win of the year, the team had something more personal to play for after junior defender Brianne Parsons lost her home to the wildfires raging in California. Mia Costa, whose high school was lost in the blazes as well, wore Parsons’ number 22 in support of her teammate and friend.
“Before this game, we just decided to come together and play for Bri,” Hinriksdottir said. “It’s been very important for us gain perspective of what real hardships are, and this game was definitely for Bri.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up for donations.
The Ducks will travel to Palo Alto to face No. 1-ranked Stanford on Oct. 19th.
Follow Aaron Alter on Twitter @aaronalter95
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