The last time she scored a goal with her left foot, Achijah Berry was in middle school.
Berry’s 25th-minute strike Sunday was enough to lead the Ducks to an upset victory over No. 18 Washington State, their first win over a ranked opponent since a 4-1 win over then-No. 21 Denver on Sept. 18, 2009.
It was Berry’s first goal of the season and her career in Oregon.
“We’re always practicing that weak-side far-post run,” Berry said. “And you just gotta keep making it and making it. Sometimes you get it, sometimes you don’t.”
Berry’s goal was created off an Oregon corner kick that led to sustained pressure near the Cougar box. Eventually Mo Fitzgerald curled a ball in that found Berry’s left foot.
“I got my shot blocked, and I really wanted to get it back,” Fitzgerald said. “I just wanted to get a cross in and I knew my teammates would be there to finish.”
Fitzgerald said she didn’t aim the ball for Berry, but she knew if she played a good cross and kept the ball away from the keeper, good things would happen.
In a season that has been defined in terms of “almost” for the Ducks, the win was a big step forward.
“It just shows the progress that our team has made,” head coach Tara Erickson said. “This was just another great step for our team.”
This weekend’s games were the first at Pape Field since a 2-0 loss to Utah on Sept. 23, and after five straight games on the road, the Ducks were glad to be back on their own field.
“The way that we played here as opposed to on the road, I think there was a really noticeable enjoyment for our team,” Erickson said.
On Friday night, the Ducks played to a 1-1 tie with Washington with both teams scoring in the last 10 minutes of regulation.
Erickson was proud of how the team played, even though the Ducks were 90 seconds away from coming away with the win.
“I thought we played well in both the overtime periods,” Erickson said. “We play to win, and I couldn’t have asked for more.”
Scout Libke scored off a free kick from just outside the 18-yard box to give the Ducks a 1-0 lead in the 80th minute, but the Huskies managed to tie the game up in the 89th minute and force overtime.
“That’s probably my favorite spot to hit a ball from,” Libke said. “It felt nice leaving my foot, so I pretty much knew it was going to go in.”
Washington controlled possession for most of the game, but the Ducks were able to create a few counter-attacking runs that eventually led to Libke’s goal.
“They were so high-pressure that it took us a while to figure out that we were good enough to keep the ball,” Libke said.
In the overtime period, the Ducks had several chances to take advantage of a tired Washington side, including one chance that may have actually crossed the goal line before it was cleared by a desperate Washington defender.
“Going into the second overtime, I had a good feeling already,” Libke said. “Then Bri (Pugh) hit the post, then we got two corners that almost went in, and I’m pretty sure one of them was actually in.”
The Ducks welcome the Bay Area schools to Eugene this coming weekend, with a Friday night matchup against California and a Sunday afternoon game against national powerhouse Stanford. The Cardinal are ranked first unanimously in the NSCAA coaches poll and have yet to lose a game this year.