With Oregon lacrosse up by three with 15 minutes remaining, Cal’s Kristen Swanson nearly brought Cal back all on her own. Her first goal made it 8-5. A few minutes later, Sydney Lawrence and Gracyn Elliott got yellow cards, and Swanson took advantage with another goal.
“Honestly it was just taking a step back and taking a breath, and knowing that we shut them out for a while,” freshman goalkeeper Rachel Hall said.
Coming off it’s first-ever shutout in a 16-0 loss to No. 14 USC, Oregon (3-12, 1-7 Pac-12) won its first conference game by beating Cal (6-9, 3-5 Pac-12) 12-8 and broke its 10-game losing streak in the process.
Hall had another stellar outing. Already the program’s career leader, she had 12 saves, getting her to a nation-best 200 on the season.
“It’s something I’ve always been eyeing in high school,” Hall said. “But really, shoutout to my defenders for showing me the shots I want to see so I can save them.”
Claire Domshick posted a hat-trick, bringing her total to 13 goals on the season. Eight different Ducks scored in the game. Jamie Level and Lillian Stump each had two goals.
Hall racked up three quick saves in Cal’s first possession. But Eliza Christman finally penetrated from an assist from Swanson. Level scored to tie the game, using a fake spin move to lose her defender. At first, the Bears offense looked great, working a comfortable inside-outside offense. But Cal ended with 16 turnovers for the game, while Oregon had 13.
The Ducks scored again off a lazy turnover from Cal on an out of bounds play. Lillian Stump scored her 15th goal of the season as Oregon took a 2-1 lead.
Cal was able to answer with two quick goals of their own. Ashley Ward tied the game on a cut through the middle, and Swanson got the assist.
Oregon tied the game again with a goal from Madeline Reece. Then Domshick took the lead for good on a Cal turnover.
Oregon tightened the clamps midway through the first half, holding in the last 20 minutes. Twice, Caroline Corzel tried to spin away from her defender on the left side and score, but Hall read both plays all the way.
“She’s unreal,” head coach Chelsea Gamble said of Hall. “I think when she’s on, she’s on, and no one really knows how to stop her.”
Marlee Moon Gaddy scored with 40 seconds left to give Oregon a 7-4 lead into halftime. Then Level picked off where Gaddy left off, notching another goal two minutes into the second half, giving Oregon an 8-4 lead.
Swanson added some extra tension after scoring one goal, then another with two Oregon defenders out with yellow cards.
Up 8-6, Shannon Williams, the senior team captain and Oregon’s all-time goal scorer, found the back of the net for the first assisted Ducks’ goal all game. It gave Oregon a slight cushion, 9-6 lead.
Cal tried to stay competitive but never threatened after that. Though Susie Ropp scored with under 8 minutes, Domshick scored two more goals to keep the cushion.
Follow August Howell on Twitter @howell_august