EUGENE, Ore.-- The Oregon Ducks women's soccer team lost a close game to Pac-12 opponent UCLA 1-0 on Friday night at Pape' Field. The #3 Bruins advance to 10-0-2 on the season and 3-0-1 in the Pac-12, while the Ducks fall to 5-6-2 and 0-3-1 in the conference. A new Pape’ Field record crowd of 944 people was on hand for tonight’s match.
Oregon started the game off looking strong and well prepared as they battled hard against the Bruins. The defense did a great job of preventing opportunities and controlling the back end until UCLA was able to penetrate the defense and score the only goal of the game in the 21st minute. Taylor Smith received a pass from Sam Mewis before firing a shot from 18 yards out that hit the back of the net.
“I thought again we played very, very hard and very well all over the field defensively,” said head coach Tara Erickson. “I thought we shut down their attack fairly well from what we saw on video and the chances that they’ve been able to create on other teams. We minimized a lot of those opportunities.”
While the defense has been on point lately, the Ducks are still looking for a way to create better opportunities and put points on the board. UCLA outshot Oregon 17-5 tonight and had six corner kicks to Oregon’s zero.
“We’re still looking for that magic piece to score goals,” added Erickson. “UCLA did a great job at the back of limiting our attack and our speed. I would have like to see us get behind a little more with more direct balls. I think our speed up top is a huge asset for us.”
Sophomore goalkeeper Abby Steele had a couple of great saves to help prevent the Ducks from falling behind any more. Oregon’s bench was deep once again as 19 players saw the field tonight and played significant minutes. Forward Brynne Konkel played for the first time this season after being out with an injury.
“My expectations are so high for this team and I don’t care that we’re going up against the third ranked team in the country. I still expect to come out here and win and that is the expectation for our kids. We’ll keep pressing. We’ll keep our heads high. We came out and had a good match. We played very hard against a very good team and now we can go out and take care of business on Sunday against USC,” added Erickson.
The Ducks take on the USC Trojans on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. at Pape’ Field.