With 12 minutes remaining in the game, freshman Jamie Level made her way to the front of USC’s net. She spotted an open Shannon Williams to the left and passed her the ball. Williams reached forward trying to collect the pass as the ball bounced off the top of her stick and found its way into the net for an Oregon goal.
The funky play was a too-late attempt at a comeback as the Ducks were already down by 12 to the No. 22 USC Trojans at this point in Sunday’s game.
In their second home game of conference play, the Ducks (2-7, 0-4 Pac-12) lost 14-5 to the No. 22 USC Trojans (8-1, 3-0) at Papé Field.
USC dominated the field and improved its win streak to five games. However, the game marked the Ducks’ worst loss of the season and kept them without a win in Pac-12 play.
“I honestly think we were just a little scared to get hit and that was unfortunate,” Oregon head coach Chelsea Gamble said. “The early minutes of a game gives you a sense of ‘Are you going to get a call? Are you not going to get a call?’ A couple of our girls ending up on the ground and not getting a call, I think maybe shocked them a little bit.”
Both Williams and freshman goalie Rachel Hall helped propel the Ducks to make a slight comeback in the second half by ending the game on a three-goal run.
Williams’ goal gives her the top spot on Oregon’s all-time career goal list with 147 goals. She tied the previous record holder, Jana Drummond (2009-2012), on Friday when she scored four in Oregon’s 18-10 loss to Arizona State.
On Oregon’s defense, Hall (2-8) kept her sights locked on every Trojan attacker. She saved 17 of USC’s 31 shots on goal, which improves her to 118 saves over her eight games this season.
“Rachel has really stepped up this year, and she just has an awesome mentality going into every game,” Williams said. “She is relentless. She’ll see the ball and if one goes in, she’s got the next. She’s a great energy for our defense and for our team as a whole.”
Opening the game with five straight goals, the Trojans only allowed Oregon to score just once in the first half, which ended 8-1. After running down the shot clock to its final seconds, Williams passed the ball to sophomore Lillian Stump, who ran in front of USC’s net and released the ball for the Ducks' first goal of the game at 5-1 at the half’s 21:13 mark.
As USC collected turnovers and ran the field, the Ducks fell into trouble earning fouls every which way — the team collected a double-digit count within the first seven minutes of the game. Physicality on both sides of the ball earned Oregon 23 fouls to USC’s 11 over the course of the game.
Hall halted the Trojans multiple times at the net, yet, Oregon’s fouls led itself to eight free possession shots for USC as it was able to find open pockets of the net and outscore the Ducks 6-4 in the second half.
“Their goalie played phenomenal,” USC head coach Lindsey Munday said. “So, it was really just making sure that we continued to stick to what we’re doing even if they make a stop or make a save, which she did.”
Oregon will next travel to Boulder, Colorado, to take on the No. 23 Colorado Buffaloes this upcoming Saturday at noon.
Follow Maggie Vanoni on Twitter @maggie_vanoni