Ducks fall to Colorado 2-0 on Senior Day
Oregon soccer ended its 2017 home schedule with a 2-0 defeat at the hands of the Colorado Buffaloes on Senior Day at Papé Field on Sunday.
The loss pushes the Ducks (8-10-0, 2-8-0 Pac-12) out of range of a 10-win season, a goal preached by head coach Kat Mertz since the start of the year. The defeat also ruins Oregon’s hope of making the NCAA tournament.
“Senior day is always emotional,” Mertz said. “Everyone wants to play hard for the seniors. They want to send them out on a good note. … Just a little unfortunate with the goals.”
Colorado’s goals both came in the second half. Tatum Barton struck first, firing a shot across goalkeeper Halla Hinriksdóttir and into the net in the 69th minute.
The Buffaloes second goal came in the 81st minute, when Taylor Kornieck headed the ball home, putting her team up 2-0.
Most of the match was an even affair. The first half, in particular, was a physical, defensive battle. The Ducks only managed three shots in the first half, while Colorado fired off seven. Thanks to rock-solid play and five saves from Hinriksdóttir, the Buffs were held scoreless through the opening 45 minutes.
The highlight of the first half came on a two-part save from Hinriksdóttir in the 37th minute. After diving to stop a Colorado free kick from Kornieck, the keeper managed to stop a follow-up attempt at point blank range.
Oregon delivered more of an offensive push in the second half, notching nine shots. Colorado keeper Jalen Tompkins stepped up with five saves to hold off the attacking Ducks.
For the Ducks, emotions ran high after the game as seniors Mia Costa, Abby Morrow, Caitlyn Wong, Michelle Rockey, Miranda Schulz and Jordan Fleming left the pitch at Papé Field for the final time.
“It’s bad of me to say, but it’s good to see the players sad because it means that we did our job as seniors,” Morrow said. “The emotions are definitely high. They’re good, they’re bad, they’re sad. They’re all over.”
Morrow also noted the amount of change the team went through in her four-year tenure with the Ducks, saying that the culture and closeness shared by her teammates was “awesome.”
The day proved bittersweet for Hinriksdóttir, who has one more year of eligibility due to a redshirt year despite being the same age as many of the seniors.
“I’ve got a lot of mixed feelings right now,” Hinriksdóttir said. “I’m happy I’m coming back. But they’ve had amazing careers — all of them.”
While a loss on senior day is a tough pill to swallow, the Ducks are already looking forward to their season finale clash with the Oregon State Beavers.
“The Civil War — it’s not so civil,” Morrow said. “There’s definitely that component of physicality. Just gotta be strong and get your body in there. Match the intensity, match the physicality and beat OSU.”
The Ducks will take on the Beavers on Nov. 2 in Corvallis at 1:30 p.m.
Follow Aaron Alter on Twitter @aaronalter95
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