Oregon soccer team lost 2-1 to the Arizona State Sun Devils Sunday afternoon off a late go-ahead goal by junior defender Kaitlyn Pavlovich in the 84th minute of play. The loss sends the Ducks to 7-8-2 overall and 2-5-1 in the [email protected]@http://www.thesundevils.com/sports/w-soccer/mtt/pavlovich_kaitlyn00.html@@
The Oregon girls took the field with aspirations of sweeping the state of Arizona, hoping it could spark momentum that would be used to resurrect a season that started well but ultimately has been crushed by the talented Pac-12 schools.
On Sunday Oregon enjoyed an excellent start propelled by an early goal from sophomore Ryann [email protected]@http://www.goducks.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=500&ATCLID=205088911@@ in the first two minutes of play. The goal, her first as a Duck, came off a rebound two yards from the net.
The team used the momentum to control the tempo of the early minutes, rarely letting Arizona State push the ball out of their defensive third, but in the final fifteen minutes of the first half, Arizona State turned the tables by barraging goal keeper Abby [email protected]@http://www.goducks.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=500&ATCLID=205088865@@ with shots on goal. One of the shots came with Steele out of the net, but senior defender Lauren Thompson stepped in on the fly and blocked the shot.
Cali Farquharson,@@http://www.thesundevils.com/sports/w-soccer/mtt/farquharson_cali00.html@@ tied as the Sun Devils’ leading goal scorer with Devin [email protected]@http://www.thesundevils.com/sports/w-soccer/mtt/marshall_devin00.html@@ with seven apiece, fed off of the energy and netted a goal from just outside the box, assisted by Nicki [email protected]@http://www.thesundevils.com/sports/w-soccer/mtt/stone_nicki00.html@@ The goal came at the 38-minute mark and was the high point of the best offensive stretch for Arizona State the entire game.
Oregon goal keeper Abby Steele was one of the standout players of the game with nine saves off of the 20 shots on goal for ASU, but the offense for the Sun Devils proved too potent.
“They were very mobile,” Steele said after the game. “Their forwards kept on making crossing runs through our defense. We had trouble keeping up with them.”
One player intent on either scoring or assisting on a goal to tie the game in the late minutes was Ducks sophomore Bri Pugh, who had several brilliant plays advancing the ball up the pitch and providing Oregon with a scoring opportunity. One such opportunity came in the second half when Pugh shot down the sideline, splitting defenders along the way. She got to the baseline and sent a cross to Kira Wagoner who was waiting in front of the goal to head it in but couldn’t connect with the ball.
“We were planning on keeping the ball,” Pugh said of the game plan in the second half. “We kind of got into just hitting it in the first half, and we couldn’t just hold the ball so we wanted to get back to our possession and get back to our game. Keeping it, keep going at them, pressuring them, their back line, and just keep going forward and scoring goals.”
Pugh provided many easy opportunities in the second half but the Ducks forwards were not able to capitalize. One explosive asset that could have helped her is team-scoring leader Kristen Parr, who sat the game out due to a violation of team rules. Parr will be available to practice this week and play in the weekend games.
Turning point. In the 84th minute, Kaitlyn Pavlovich dribbled into the box and broke down Oregon defenders left and right, including Steele, and was able to tap the ball in the net with ease.
The Ducks fought a full 90 minutes and were great on the defensive end. The entire back line played hard with Nicole Bakke and Lauren Thompson in particular repeatedly executing textbook slide tackles to break up dangerous opportunities for ASU. In the end, however, they were unable to come back from the late goal.
“I thought we played well,” Said head coach Tara Erickson after the game. “It was unfortunate, probably disappointing, for our program and for our kids. As well as we played I think to come away with a loss, sometimes that’s soccer. It doesn’t always bounce the way that you want it to. I thought we played well, started off very well, getting the goal very early in the game. I don’t think Arizona State had even come off their half of the field. We pressed on for a good 25 minutes and then I think the last part of the first half we let off a little bit and then they gained a little bit of footing in the game and then they scored and I think that gave them confidence in the game.”
On the horizon. The Ducks will look to finish the season strong and get wins this weekend against Washington and Washington State in their final road trip of the season. Oregon has one final home game, the season finale, when they host state rivals OSU at Pape Field Friday, November 2 at 4 p.m.