Oregon lacrosse lost 13-11 against USC at Papé Field Friday afternoon. The Ducks were unable to overcome an early deficit in the penultimate match for the Oregon seniors in Eugene.
Oregon was unable to hand USC its first loss in the Mountain Pacific Sports Ferderation (MPSF) this season. The loss evens the career series between the two schools 2-2.
The game ended up being a tale of two halves for the Ducks, with all of the momentum shifting their way in the second. One of the main reasons for this was the improvement on the draw controls.
“Certainly the most important thing was the draw, and we talked about that at halftime,” Oregon coach Jen Beck said. “I was very excited about the changes we made.”
In the first half USC led the draw differential 12-3. In the second Oregon flipped things around, controlling it 10-1. This meant the Ducks got more possessions after a team scored a goal.
Oregon opened with the first goal of the contest, courtesy junior attacker Courtney Valdez. Her goal came via a nice pass from teammate Katie Marlatt.
USC was able to answer quickly, watching as sophomore Cynthia Del Core sliced through the defense for an easy goal and the tie.
Oregon was aggressive in the midfield, placing pressure on the Trojan players and forcing turnovers early in the game. On offense they were content to slow things down and work the ball around, refusing to settle for low-percentage shots. As a result they were able to jump out to an early lead after the quick exchange of goals.
The Trojans began to pick up the pace thanks to the efforts of Core, who made an impact in the first and helped her team go on a four goal run. She finished with four goals in the game.
Oregon sophomore midfielder Rachel Steinberg was able to score an unassisted goal off a reset, finally breaking the Trojan streak. Her score broke a 13:53 scoring drought for the home team.
Heading into halftime the Trojans went on another scoring streak with another 4-0 run. They led 10-4 at the break.
USC opened the second with an early goal, though redshirt captain and senior Hayley Milner was able to answer.
“We drove through the ball and got into better batting position,” coach Beck said of what changes her team made.
Things picked up late as Oregon began pushing the ball, putting together a late run. The home team went on a scoring tear, cutting the deficit to just two. They outshot the Trojans 16-6 in the second.
Despite the late push the deficit proved too much to overcome, as USC was able to claim the victory.
The referees were involved throughout the game as there were plenty of fouls on both teams. The abundance of whistles killed the flow of the game, preventing either side from building momentum.
“We talked about our ability to use our hands and not our feet on the fouls, and really made some adjustments that way,” coach Beck said.
USC finished with 30 fouls, while Oregon had 36. The Trojans also collected several yellows, allowing Oregon to play with the advantage for long stretches of the match.
The Ducks dedicated Friday’s game to the One Love Foundation to help raise awareness about domestic relationship violence. All money raised from t-shirt sales and raffles went directly to the foundation.
Oregon will next take the field Sunday afternoon to face off against Cal. The match will be senior night.
Follow Christopher Keizur on Twitter @chriskeizur