CORVALLIS, Ore. -- The University of Oregon women’s soccer team gave a valiant effort in its season finale before falling to Oregon State in a Civil War battle at Paul Lorenz Field. The Beavers scored goals in the 42nd and 77th minute as the Ducks closed the season with a loss despite a strong showing on the road.
The Ducks (4-12-3, 2-8-1) took 11 shots and seven corner kicks. Sophomore Kristen Parr led the Ducks with three shots while Abby Steele and Lauren Holden combined to make six saves. With the win, Oregon State knots the series record at 7-7-4.
“I thought we started off with a bang but Oregon State settled in and took control,” said head coach Mat Mertz. “They scored a few good, opportunistic goals. I’ll give my girls credit. They did fight to the end.”
Oregon concludes Mertz’s first season at the helm with a 4-12-3 overall record and a 2-8-1 mark in Pac-12 play. The Ducks had a number of positives from the season, earning four victories at Papé Field, shutting out five opponents and defeating the second-highest ranked opponent in UO history with a 1-0 win against No. 12 California on Oct. 28.
While Mertz and the Ducks are looking for improvement, they hope the work put in during this season laid the foundation for futures success for the program.
“There are some really bright spots and great moments we can go back to from this season,” said Mertz. “Obviously, we need to improve and know that we need to get stronger. This season has been great for me as a coach to figure out what we need to do better in this conference. It’s been great to see all of the Pac-12 teams, and I know we can definitely build this program to the top of the conference.”
The Ducks started the contest fast, putting a shot on goal and taking two corner kicks from Lilly Archer before Oregon State registered an offensive statistic. The Beavers wrestled away control of the match midway through and forced the Ducks to withstand a lot of defending in its own half.
Junior goalkeeper Abby Steele made saves in the 16th and 25th minutes and the Duck defense stayed up to the task. Minutes before intermission, the Beavers finally found a way through and got past Steele. Brandi Dawson possessed a loose ball in the box and curled her shot far post, giving the Beavers a 1-0 lead.
Freshman goalkeeper Lauren Holden made her first career appearance for the Ducks, starting the second half for an injured Steele. The Ducks were also without one of their top offensive threats in junior Bri Pugh. Holden made saves in the 51st, 56th and 64th minutes, performing well in her debut.
The Beavers sealed a victory in the 77th minute as Natalie Meiggs played a through ball to Jenna Richardson, who’s far post shot made the score 2-0.
The Ducks took seven more shots in the second half compared to the first, pushing numbers forward in hopes of an equalizer. Mertz switched to a 3-4-3 with senior Achijah Berry moving up top. Freshman ShayLee Miner (53’) and Berry (75’) each put shots on target in the half. Despite pushing hard for a goal, the Beavers were able to play out to a 2-0 victory.
Reilley Moore, Kiyomi Cook, Kristen Parr, Riley Smith and Gabbie Lindeman went a full 90 minutes for the Ducks while Berry played 85.
The Ducks will say goodbye to seniors Lindeman and Berry, who were playing the final games of their impressive careers. Berry, a native of Seattle, made her 53rd career start. Lindeman, a native of Lake Oswego, Ore., started in her 47th career match. Both were co-captains this season and important contributors to the program.
“First and foremost, I have to give a big thanks to Gabbie and Berry,” said Mertz. “They’ve been great leaders in that backline. They did so much for us on and off the field and will be tough to replace. They laid the foundation for our future success this season.”
Miner led the Ducks in 2013 with seven points, followed by Pugh (6), Parr (6), Davie (5), Beutler (4) and Brooke Strawn (4). Steele closed the season with 91 saves, a 1.09 goals allowed average and a .812 save percentage.
The Ducks will return 16 letterwinners from this season for the 2014 campaign.