With her parents watching from the stands, Jessica Yu propelled the Oregon Ducks to a 1-0 victory over the Montana Grizzlies with her first career goal.
“It’s always fun to see your daughter play,” Yu’s father Jeff Yu said. “And in a big stage like this, to get her first goal, it’s a really exciting time for us.”
The goal came in the fourth minute. Yu took a pass from Marissa Everett and fired it past Montana’s goalkeeper Claire Howard into the bottom left corner of the net to score her team’s only goal of the match.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Yu said. “It’s just an amazing feeling, putting one away for the team finally.”
Oregon was electric out of the gate. While the Ducks outshooting their opponents is nothing new, the team looked especially dominant in the first half of the match, with 10 shots to Montana’s two. Oregon’s offense seemed to simply overpower Montana’s, preventing the Grizzlies from ever mounting a solid attacking effort.
Out of halftime, the Grizzlies attacked the Ducks with renewed vigor. The Ducks’ back line turned in another stellar defensive performance. The highlight came in the 57th minute, with Montana knocking on the door. Senior defender Mia Costa leapt through the air and headed the ball off the goal-line, stifling what would have been a goal for the Grizzlies.
“My job is to just drop for Halla, and make sure nothing goes in the back of the net,” Costa said. “I dropped on her line to make sure it didn’t go in, and it didn’t go in.”
The Grizzlies continued to press the Ducks, but goalkeeper Halla Hinriksdottir and her defense refused to allow their opponents to battle back.
“To get a goal in the first three minutes? Fantastic,” head coach Kat Mertz said. “Montana’s a good team. In the second half, I thought they put us under some pressure. It was a good way for us to solve and we were able to deal with that. I thought we closed out the game quite well.”
Next up, the Ducks will take on Idaho State at Papé Field on Sunday at 5 p.m. PT.
Follow Aaron Alter on Twitter @aaronalter95