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Ducks Midfielder Morgan McCarthy (5) searches for a pass to Ducks offense. Oregon Ducks Lacrosse take on the USC Trojans at Papé Field in Eugene, Ore., on April 4, 2021. (Maddie Stellingwerf/Emerald)

The USC Trojans defeated the Ducks 14-8 on Sunday afternoon in front of a lightly packed crowd at Papé Field in Eugene.

Oregon got on the board first when a USC foul set up a free position shot for Oregon’s Hanna Hilcoff just 56 seconds into the game.

Two minutes later, it was Morgan McCarthy’s turn. After zooming past USC’s midfielders, McCarthy found a seam within the Trojan defense and ripped a laser past USC goalie Riley Hertford to make it 2-0 Ducks. 

Over the next few minutes, USC blew multiple opportunities. Three missed shots, including one on a free position attempt, kept the Trojans scoreless.

Ten minutes into the half, the Trojans finally struck. A save by Hertford led to a Delaney Sweitzer goal to cut the lead in half.

Three minutes later, an Oregon foul set up a free position attempt for Erin Bakes and USC. Bakes sent a frozen rope to the top right corner that was too hot for Oregon goalie Alle Dunbar to handle. With the goal, USC tied it up at two. 

Later in the half, Lillian Stump  meticulously navigated the USC defense and fired a shot just past Hertford’s reach to give Oregon a 4-3 lead. 

USC finished the half on a 4-0 run. Goals by Michaela McMahon, Madison Waters, Kelsey Huff, and Maddie McDaniel grew the lead to 7-4 USC. Three of the four goals during the span were free position attempts which USC capitalized on.

“They found our weakness in the zone,” head coach Chelsea Hoffmann said. “They deflated all the momentum we’d created in the beginning.”

Out of halftime, Oregon controlled the draw and within just 42 seconds, McCarthy scored to cut the lead to 7-5. McCarthy led the team with three goals and an assist on the day. 

USC responded beautifully just a minute later. With McDaniel cutting to the goal, McMahon found her quickly, as McDaniel received the pass and shot it past Dunbar all in one motion to make the score 8-5. 

Five minutes into the half, two USC goals by Sweitzer and Huff in a three-minute span gave USC some breathing room, as they grew the lead to 10-6.

Both teams went scoreless for the next 11 minutes. Sloppy passes, dropped passes, turnovers, and unforced errors were plentiful for both teams in the span.

“The turnovers were disappointing,” Hoffmann said. “You can’t expect to turn the ball over 21 times and win.”

Finally, with 9:36 left in the game, Huff broke the scoreless streak with a free position goal to push the score to 11-6. 

Oregon responded quickly and impressively with two goals in the next 50 seconds by Alli Bateman and Stump. The surge energized the small crowd and cut the lead to 11-8.

Despite the sudden momentum shift, Oregon couldn’t capitalize, as they failed to score for the remainder of the game. In that time, Katie Ramsey scored two goals and Claudia Shevitz added another to give USC the 14-8 win.

With the loss, Oregon falls to 1-8 on the season. They’ll have an opportunity to snap their five-game losing streak and get back on track on April 9 when they face the California Bears in Berkeley, CA.