It wasn’t always pretty. But in the end, the result favored the Oregon women’s soccer team.
After having multiple scoring chances but never capitalizing on them due to sloppy play or miscommunication, the Ducks finally got the one goal they needed in the 75th minute.
Taylor Kuroda scored the first goal of her career when she rocketed a ball past the diving Marie Berwinkel-Kottman and into the left end of the net to give Oregon a 1-0 victory over Fresno State. With the win, Oregon improves to 1-3 on the season while the Bulldogs drop to 0-4.
Mia Costa got the assist on the goal when she stole the ball just past midfield and dropped a pass to Kuroda on her right. Kuroda took one touch that led her past the defenders before shooting the ball across the field and into the net.
“She (Costa) started dribbling in and I love to make those diagonal runs across, so I just went right in front of her, she slipped me through and then I just put it in the back of the net,” Kuroda said.
The Ducks outshot the Bulldogs 20-5 in the game, including an 11-2 advantage in the second half. Marisa Everett led the team with three shots while six other players had two shots.
The game got off to a good start for the Ducks as they controlled the tempo, creating many scoring chances. However, they were often unable to capitalize. The Ducks were consistently making runs off one another and finding the open person to get close to the goal, clearly outworking the Bulldogs.
Even with the missed opportunities, Oregon never lost faith in its ability to score.
“Everybody plays such a key role on this team and it showed today,” Kuroda said. “We were so positive that we just had to keep our mindset strong.”
Oregon returns to action on Friday when they face North Carolina State at 8 p.m. ET in the NC State Tournament. The game is also a homecoming for Mertz, a North Carolina State graduate.
Follow Ryan Kostecka on Twitter: @Ryan_Kostecka