If Friday is any indication, it was just the start of what looks to be an exciting season for Oregon lacrosse.
Four goals apiece from Shannon Williams and Jill Zubillaga — along with a myriad of contributions from the rest of the team — led Oregon (1-0) to a commanding 15-5 victory over UC Davis (0-2) in the Ducks first game of the 2018 season.
“I think the energy level from our team, especially opening up at home, was tremendous,” head coach Katrina Dowd said. “I was really happy with the execution of our gameplan.”
Just over two minutes in, the Ducks got off and running with their first goal of the season from Cambi Cukar to put Oregon up 1-0.
Shortly after, Natalie Modly gave Oregon a 2-0 lead with her first goal of the season. Friday was an encouraging start to the season for Modly, who only played in the first three games of the 2017 season before suffering a season-ending injury.
Following a goal by the Aggies’ Kate Felner , the Williams show began. Coming off a 51-goal campaign in the 2017 season, the junior found the back of the net for her first goal of the season to give Oregon the 3-1 advantage. Less than a minute after UC Davis cut the deficit to 3-2, Williams scored No. 2 on the season to give Oregon the 4-2 lead.
In its game versus UC Davis last season, Oregon fell behind 4-0 before coming back for an exciting 10-9 win. The Ducks knew better than to let their foot off the gas pedal following the strong start.
Leading the charge during the back-end of the first half was Zubillag, which gave the Ducks a commanding 9-2 lead at the end of the first half.
It was a chilly night at Pape Field, but Zubillaga stayed hot in the second half. Following a goal apiece from both UC Davis and Oregon, the senior gave the Ducks a 11-3 lead with her fourth goal of the night.
“[We] just need to go out and have fun out there,” said Zubillaga.
With the game well in hand, the Ducks closed out its season-opener without a scare. Williams scored two more goals in the second half to pull even with Zubillaga’s four goals on the night.
A pair of Louisville transfers made their impact felt immediately. Senior Brittany Reed made 11 saves in goal, while midfielder Lexy Biller contributed with two goals in the second half.
“Lexy Biller has made an impact already for us,” said Dowd. “Brittany Read shut the door there, and came really focused and played excellent for us.”
The Ducks’ seniors combined for eight of the team’s 15 goals, but perhaps no score drew a bigger reaction than freshman Claire Domshick’s first career collegiate score to give Oregon a 15-4 lead.
In their second year under Dowd, the Ducks offense picked up where it left off. After a 2017 campaign in which the team went 9-8 and scored 214 goals, Oregon’s offensive attack was a high-octane machine on Friday. Many weapons such as Williams, Zubillaga and Cukar kept the pressure on for much of the night.
They’ll need that type of efficiency — and more — on Sunday, when they travel up to Portland to face No. 7 Syracuse in what might turn out to be the Ducks toughest test of the season.
“I think it’s a great test for our team. When you see them on the schedule, you go a little bit harder,” said Dowd. “I think the opportunity is there for us to go up and really play well.”
Follow Cole Kundich on Twitter @ckundich