Oregon lacrosse blows out Arizona State 21-8 behind 17-goal first half
Just before halftime, Oregon’s Jill Zubillaga scored six goals, matching her career-high. The score was 17-2. It was the most points the team had scored all season, and it came all in one half.
Oregon (7-5) posted seven goals in the first five minutes of the game, and Arizona State (6-9) was never able to match Oregon’s intensity. The first period blitz was too much for the Sun Devils, and the Ducks stormed away with a 21-8 victory.
“I thought it was a great team win,” head coach Katrina Dowd said. “We talked a lot about the draw and our shooting, and I think that was the difference for us to start out on fire and keep it rolling.”
Arizona State scored on its first possession when Oregon couldn’t capitalize on some defensive opportunities. Less than two minutes later, Oregon scored two consecutive goals to take a 2-1 lead.
Zubillaga had a hat trick five minutes into the game. In an effort to stop her, Arizona State made a goalie change after calling a timeout with the score 4-1 with 26 minutes, 3 seconds left to play in the first half. It did not make a difference.
Jojo Hesketh scored a career-high four goals, making use of sharp cuts, including one from a ricochet that bounced off the goal post.
With four draw wins, sophomore Lexi Biller set Oregon’s single-season record with 81 on the year.
“There’s a lot of technical aspects that come with a draw,” Biller said. “We’ve had a lot of room to improve on that this season.”
Oregon’s defense allowed the offense to get in rhythm. With 16:34 left to play in the first, a turnover in the midfield allowed Zubillaga to score her fourth goal on a fast break. Arizona State had just two shots on goal halfway through the first half.
Natalie Modly scored Oregon’s 16th goal of the game with three minutes left in the first half, but it was Zubillaga who scored the final goal of the record-setting half. It was the senior’s 39th goal of the season.
“We were pretty pumped,” Zubillaga said. “It felt really good.”
Arizona State finally scored in the last second of the first half, then again a few minutes into the second half.
The second half was much slower paced. Arizona State started to get in rhythm, scoring five more goals. The Ducks never quite managed to blitz like it had in the first half, but the lead was more than enough to hold on.
Dowd said she hopes the team continues to show the fire and energy it demonstrated today.
“We like to play fast, and we have to do that against all teams,” Dowd said. “I think they are starting to turn the corner, because it’s not just the coaches, it’s the leaders who are buying in and starting to have that chatter in the locker room.”
Oregon will finish the final home stand of the season against USC at 12 p.m. on Sunday.
Follow August Howell on Twitter @howell_august
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