Four different players scored for the Trojans as the Duck lost their fourth straight on a frigid Saturday night at Papé Field in Eugene.
The Trojans got off to a fast start, getting on the board before the Ducks had even attempted a shot. A through pass from Morgan Andrews found a streaking Jamie Fink who put the ball past Oregon keeper Halla Hinrikdottir in the 12th minute for the first score of the evening. The goal was Fink’s fourth of the year.
Finding themselves in an early hole, the Ducks looked to answer. In the 14th minute Senior Kira Wagoner had a chance off a cross but her attempt sailed. The Ducks took five shots in the first half, thirteen total for the game but just could not find the back of the net.
“It’s good that we’re getting the shots because earlier in the season we weren’t even getting there so its good to see progression from our front line,” Wagoner said. “Now it’s just a matter of executing.”
Oregon had a number of chances later in the first half. A quick touch from freshman Marissa Everett off a good cross bounced just wide in the 15th minute. Everett, who is tied for first on the team in goals with two, was constantly on the attack. Tonight she led the team with four shots, two on goal.
Wagoner praised the aggressiveness of the freshman.
“It’s always nice to see some of the ‘babies'(freshmen) come out of their shell,” Wagoner said with a smile after the game. “This is the most competitive league in America, so seeing the ‘babies’ get in and get some hits off is awesome.”
As the first half came to a close, the Trojans struck again. In the 42nd minute, a corner from USC was bobbled by Hinrikdottir and a scramble for the ball in front of the goal led to another USC score. The ball was netted by Nicole Molen for her second goal of the season.
All night USC just seemed to be making the right plays at the right times.
“I thought the corner kick goal was a soft goal,” Coach Kat Mertz said after the game. “We need to be better than that.”
The second half saw more of the same for both sides. Despite being down, the Ducks stayed attacking but still could not find the back of the net. In the 54th minute, Miranda Schulz dribbled through the USC defense but her shot was saved by Trojan keeper Sammy Prudhomme, who had seven saves on the night. Several more chances in the following minutes for the Ducks either sailed wide or were saved by Prudhomme. The best chance of the night for the Ducks came late in the 2nd half when Kristen Parr received the ball on a breakaway, but her one-on-one chance against Prudhomme was saved.
USC on the other hand made the most of their opportunities. Following a foul just outside the box, a rocket of a free kick from Kayla Mills found the top left corner to make the Trojan lead now 3-0. In the 88th minute USC struck again, this time off a beautiful cross to Amanda Rooney who only had to chip it in to make the score now 4-0.
After the game, coach Mertz reflected on the mistakes the Ducks made.
“The Pac-12 is a beast. You can’t give goals away. You gotta let the teams earn it,” Mertz said. “Some of the defending was a little anxious and we weren’t entirely smart on defense.”
But as Mertz does, she found the positives in her teams hard play.
“Take some of those negatives away and you look at some of the shots we created,” Mertz said. “That’s the hard part when you walk away you think ‘Man if we get just one of those it changes the whole complexity of the game.”
The Ducks fall to 4-10-0 on the year, 1-5-0 in the Pac-12. They travel south to take on the Arizona schools next week.
Follow Gus Morris on Twitter @xgasbus