As the Oregon women’s club soccer team took to a sloppy pitch last Sunday, trying to protect their unbeaten record of 3-0, it appeared that Oregon State University would not be the only opponent the Ducks would have to take into account.
The heavy rains and cold temperature seemed all too fitting for a late October morning in Eugene. But as the game got underway, the Ducks proved that nothing was going to slow them down as they overmatched the visiting Beavers by a score of 2-0.
Unfavorable conditions are something the Ducks players are accustomed to.
“We practice at six in the morning,” sophomore captain Alle Macleod said. “We’re used to the cold and wet (conditions), so we try to embrace the rain.”
The first five minutes of the contest proved to be just about the only scoring threats that OSU would be able to muster. They opened the game by placing three shots on the Oregon net, but none passed the goalkeeper.
Proving they would not be caught on their heels, the Ducks answered back with a number of scoring opportunities of their own.
During the early part of the first half, forward Rachel Micklas led a breakaway down the sideline. As the Beavers’ goalkeeper came out to contest the shot inside the penalty box, Micklas blistered the ball, soaring just wide of the goal.
However, this would not be the only scoring opportunity for Micklas.
Time of possession was most certainly in the Ducks’ favor as the majority of the game was played in the Beavers’ end of the field. This meant countless opportunities to put points on the board, which the Ducks took full advantage of.
Forward Emily Hay found herself involved in each of the two goals of the game.
She opened the scoring in the 11th minute by taking a loose ball just inside the 18 and sending it past the keeper and into the top corner of the net. The goal was scored during a several-minute stretch where the Ducks kept the ball right around the OSU net.
“We tried to move the ball around and work it between the forwards,” Hay said. “The midfielders were getting great through balls and playing the ball over the top of the defense real well.”
Oregon never took their foot off the gas pedal, and six minutes later, Micklas would make up for her early miss.
Once again inside the 18, Hay lofted a pass over a Beavers defender in the direction of Micklas. Micklas took to the air and was able to volley the pass into the back of the net with plenty of authority behind it.
As the whistle blew closing out the first half, the numbers said it all as the Oregon women dominated the scoring, 16 shots to five.
In the eyes of head coach Dave Peterson, escaping without added injuries was as important as winning the match. Heading into the game, the Ducks had already lost three players to injuries this season.
However, the Ducks continued to be bit by the injury bug, as two players were early exits in the contest.
First was defender Kat Bloomfield, who left with what was confirmed by Peterson as a knee injury.
The other injury note came from Hay, who left the game with a mild concussion, Peterson said. It is unknown how long either will find themselves off the pitch.
It is more important now than ever that the Ducks stay injury-free at this point in the season. The team is trying to schedule one final tune-up match for this week against Gonzaga, before they head to regionals next weekend where the quality of competition increases dramatically.
Though this becomes another obstacle the Oregon women will have to overcome, Peterson thinks the camaraderie of the players will allow the team to continue their winning ways.
“The chemistry between the girls is looking real good, which helps,” Peterson said. “It’s something you can’t quite measure. If they’re willing to leave their guts on the field for each other, that will give us an edge when push comes to shove.”