EUGENE, Ore.— The Oregon Ducks women’s soccer team pulled out a fantastic 2-0 victory over the Arizona Wildcats thanks to some late-game heroics from senior defender Nicole Bakke and sophomore forward Bri Pugh.
“It was great just to come home and get a win,” said head coach Tara Erickson. “I thought it was well deserved and it was a close-fought battle. A gamechanger for us was Achijah Berry coming onto the field, she didn’t start the game but she was fantastic and created a lot of opportunities. I liked the overall enthusiasm from the team, both players on the sideline and on the field. You could hear the excitement growing as the game went along. That’s something we talked a lot about this week, just showing your passion for the game. We saw that in big hits tonight, celebrations for little things and goals. You could feel that energy across the entire team and it was great to see the end result.
After an intense battle that kept both teams scoreless throughout most of the game, senior midfielder Scout Libke took a free kick from just inside the half pitch, and fellow senior Nicole Bakke put a head on it about ten yards from the goal, giving the Ducks a 1-0 lead. Bakke’s goal came in the 84th minute, and Oregon wasted little time securing the win as Bri Pugh dribbled the ball from midfield and beat the Wildcat goalkeeper for her first goal of the season with twelve seconds left to play.
“Playing wise, it was awesome for Nicole Bakke to get her first career goal. It was very well-deserved. Defensively, sometimes our backs don’t get as recognized so for her to get that game-winner was huge. For Bri to finally get that goal that she has been working on so hard this year, I think that will be a sign of good things to come. Overall, I think we played well as a team. We had good possession, we combined well with our forwards and it was all a good sign of things to come,” added Erickson.
Before the goal, both teams had some good opportunities to score as Oregon’s Kelsey Foo and Kira Wagoner fired shots that just missed the goal. Arizona also had an extremely close call as they fired a shot from inside the box that bounced off the crossbar.
Oregon ended the game with the advantage in shots (14-5) and shots on goal (6-3), while Arizona led the Ducks in corner kicks (8-4). 625 people were on hand at Pape’ Field even through the rain.
The Ducks stay at home to take on Arizona State on Sunday at 1:00 p.m.