The University of Portland women’s soccer team was defeated by the University of Oregon Ducks 1-2. The winning goal was scored by the Ducks at the end of the second half. The loss came after a successful weekend for the Pilots at the Nike Invitational.
“I think with this whole game in general we were just going to have to grind out a win,” head coach Michelle French said. “We gave ourselves enough opportunity to get some goals.”
The Friday afternoon game started with Pilot possession, but the ball was soon lost to the Ducks. Oregon came out faster and more aggressive than Portland, making quick passes that had the home team chasing the ball.
Within the first few minutes, the Ducks had pushed play over to the Pilot side, but the Portland defense kept its opponents from entering the penalty box. The Pilots were able to move it back to the other end of the field for a corner, and later again when junior forward Kimberly Hazlett took the ball up the side at a speed that had the crowd cheering, but lost it at the 18-yard line.
Spurts like these where Portland was able to gain some momentum, along with deep sweeps made by the defensive line and nail-biting saves by senior goalkeeper Rachel Lusby, helped keep the Ducks from scoring in the first half.
“Everyone got behind the ball and just defended for each other, which was super important for us,” said junior midfielder Larkin Russell.
Oregon had an early shot only seconds into the next half. But Portland came out with more energy and maintained possession on their opponent’s side. About 10 minutes in, Oregon’s goalkeeper made a save and tipped the ball out over the goal, resulting in a corner kick for the Pilots.
The kick was taken by Russell, who sent it to the back post. Sophomore Taryn Ries headed the ball into the upper right corner of the goal, giving her team a 1-0 lead.
“The fact that we got a goal...I think was a positive thing,” French said. “While I think Oregon had much of the ball, we put ourselves in a position to actually either get a tie or maybe even a win.”
The lead was lost when a foul in the penalty box resulted in a penalty kick for the Ducks. Oregon senior Marissa Everett slid the ball into the lower left corner, leveling the score 1-1. After that, game intensity increased, with a yellow card given to Hazlett and two yellow cards given to the opposing team.
But the Ducks ultimately found success in getting to the ball first. At the 79th minute, Oregon’s sophomore Chardonnay Curran scored her first career goal off an assist from Everett.
“Us fighting to the end is going to be valuable throughout the whole season,” Ries said of the second half. “Because if we’re down, and even if we’re ahead, anyone can score in the last minute.”
The Pilots will next travel to Corvallis to face Oregon State on Sept. 16 at 5 p.m.