Despite Holding Early Lead, Zags Fall 4-2 At Oregon
EUGENE, Ore. - Despite scoring 44 seconds into the match and holding a 2-1 advantage late in the first half, the Gonzaga University women's soccer team dropped a 4-2 decision at the University of Oregon Sunday. The loss was the fourth-straight for the Bulldogs, who are now 5-5, while the Ducks improved to 5-2-1 overall with the come-from-behind victory.
It was freshman Lauren Luke, getting her third start of year, who got the Zags on the board in a blink-of-an eye. Pressuring the Duck defense down the right flank, the Bulldogs were awarded an always dangerous throw-in. Senior Morgan Manchester let a long throw go which freshman Heather Johnson flicked with her head towards the middle of the goal. Luke was there to hammer home her first collegiate goal with just 44 seconds gone in the match.
"I felt we came out strong with finishing that goal early," explained fourth year head coach Amy Edwards. "I applaud Lauren for her effort, not only on that goal, but her effort all match. I thought she was a spark for us up front."
Oregon roared back and tied the match at the 16:11 mark when Kristen Parr scored off a corner kick that Gonzaga wasn't able to clear.
It wasn't more than four minutes later that Gonzaga responded with another impressive goal.
With the Bulldog midfield playing a ball down the middle of the field, both Luke and classmate Sila Tuiofea pressured the only Duck defender. In the end, Tuiofea out-muscled and out-manned the Ducks for the ball and blasted in her third goal of the season to give GU the 2-1 advantage 19:20 into the match.
"We definitely scored two good goals today," stated Edwards.
Unfortunately with less than six minutes before the halftime whistle blew, Oregon was able to tie the match with a long-range shot by Duck Taylor Boyer.
"That goal right before half might have been the shift in the match," explained Edwards.
The half played out with the match tied at 2-2.
The second half belonged to Oregon as Gonzaga's defense, playing without its two starting outside fullbacks Katey Pennington and Anny Lund, faltered. Pennington left the match early in the first half, while Anna Lund only played the first half.
It was another corner kick that put the Ducks up for good. Scout Libke bent a kick towards the back of the net that Zag Danielle Simien headed away. Unluckily the ball landed at an open Achijah Berry, who scored her first goal of the season at the 53:11 mark.
Oregon's fourth and final goal of the match came at 69:20 and was tallied by Mariah Powers.
Gonzaga did have two good chances late in the second half but a Luke shot was pushed away on a diving save by Oregon keeper Abby Steele and Emily Eckmann's short-range shot hit into the outside netting.
"We definitely had chances till the end," Edwards said. "We had the ball in dangerous situations but we did not make Oregon pay like they did to us. That was the difference all day today."
Gonzaga now has 14 days to regroup and get healthy. The Bulldogs will next be in action on Sunday, Sept. 30 when they host the University of Nevada at 11 a.m.