With ten minutes left in Sunday’s match against the Baylor Bears, it looked like Oregon would leave the Lone Star State with back-to-back wins.
Then, Oregon shot themselves in the foot with something they’re all too familiar with — fouls, its biggest knock this past calendar year. Sunday was no different.
In the 82nd minute, a yellow card and proceeding red card on Lexi Romero disrupted Oregon’s focus and from there, the floodgates opened. Baylor took advantage of Oregon’s lack of discipline by tying the game late and sneaking back into a game that they shouldn’t have.
After a pair of scoreless overtime periods, the game ended 2-2 and could be viewed as a substantial blown opportunity in the long run.
In last week’s victory against the Texas Longhorns, it took the Ducks 87 minutes to get on the board. On Sunday, they found the net in just under eight minutes. Mia Palmer sent a perfect cross to Ally Cook, who headed the ball off a Baylor defender and into the goal to give Oregon a 1-0 lead.
Zoe Hasenauer had a chance to give the Ducks some breathing room just five minutes later, but her shot missed wide of the net.
Fifteen minutes into the half, Baylor’s offense countered with three shots on goal, each falling off target. The Bears’ best chance of the half came at the 21st minute when Hasenauer recorded a foul in the penalty box. Ally Henderson took the penalty kick for Baylor, missing the goal completely.
As the Bears’ offense picked up steam, Oregon’s went silent. In fact, the Ducks didn’t record a single shot for the last 25 minutes of the half. Baylor had many opportunities around the Ducks’ net during that span, but Oregon’s defense came through with a few blocks to keep the lead.
The Ducks brought a 1-0 advantage heading into the locker room despite being outshot 12-3 and not having a single set-piece. Of the Bears’ dozen shots, just one of them was on goal, as Oregon’s defense and goalie Leah Freeman stood their ground when it mattered the most.
Cook almost recorded her second goal in the 58th minute, but Baylor goalkeeper Jennifer Wandt leaped and tipped the shot over the crossbar to deny the threat.
Instead, Kess Elmore got the Ducks back on the board just a minute later.
She slipped the ball past Wandt’s arm into the top right corner of the Baylor net after taking a perfect long bass from Hasenauer in the midfield. The pass from Hasenauer wasn’t credited, but it should’ve been her fourth assist of the young season.
Oregon was in firm control of the game until the last few minutes. Just a minute after Romero’s back-to-back cards, Baylor’s forward Olivia Mack found the bottom left of the goal to slice the lead in half.
The Bears’ immediately sniffed blood. They began pressuring Oregon’s defense persistently in a way that they hadn’t before until just two seconds before the 90-minute mark when Chloe Japic found the top right of the net.
Emotions for the Ducks began to unravel, as Cook was given a yellow card just before the end of regulation in frustration – the team’s second in the last eight minutes.
With nine fouls and three cards, Oregon continues to prove why they were the most highly penalized team in the Pac-12 last season.
The first 10-minute overtime period was relatively quiet, until the final few seconds when Freeman saved a low-bending shot from Lorelai Stamrood – her eighth save of the day.
Chai Cortez whizzed a shot past the Bears’ defense four minutes into the second overtime period, but the ball found Wandt’s hands convincingly. Minutes later, a Baylor foul set up a free-kick for Croix Soto, but her shot was deflected.
Both teams held each other scoreless in overtime.
With the tie, Oregon moves to 3-0-3 after leaving Texas with a win and a tie. They’ll be back in action on Friday, Sept. 17, against the Portland Pilots at Papé Field for a 7 p.m kick-off.