Women's Soccer Pulls Out 3-2 Thriller Over Arizona

Oct. 25, 2002

EUGENE, Ore. - The University of Oregon proved their meddle Friday night, overcoming a 2-0 deficit in the second half with three goals in the final 25 minutes of the game, en route to a 3-2 win over Arizona (5-8-1, 0-4-0).

'This was a tremendous test of our character,' Oregon women's soccer coach Bill Steffen said. 'We've been battling all year, and our players showed that again today, and it proved the difference. I give all the credit to them - we've been telling them if they play well, it'll take care of itself, and it did today.'

Sophomore Arlene Tuttle stepped up to spark the Duck offense, scoring her first two career goals at 73:29 and 81:16. The victory gave Oregon (2-10-1, 1-3-1) its first conference and second overall win of 2002 against a brutally tough schedule that has featured nine top-25 opponents already this season.

Tuttle's first score came on a header from eight yards left center, that spiraled over Wildcat keeper Natalie Juarez into the right corner of the net, and created on a 15-yard pass from the right side from sophomore forward Kelly Baird. Tuttle scored less than eight minutes later at 81:16 when she slid in the inside center edge of the goal box to meet a low cross from senior forward Sarah Denner, 15 yards away on the right side.

'Arlene gives us a strong physical player out front who hustles after everything, and she showed it on both of her goals,' Steffen said. 'Neither was easy, and she made the most out of each opportunity. She's good in the air and doesn't concede balls, and that spirit was reminiscent of our team as a whole tonight. We fought tooth and nail the whole way.'

Tuttle's two goals came on her ninth and 10th shots of the season (and sixth and team-leading seventh shot on goal attempt of '02).

'I was surprised to get two - I would have been happy with one,' Tuttle said. 'There was a point when an Arizona player got injured (not long before Sarah's goal) - we talked as a team that we had plenty of time to score, and we had to come together. They were a good team, but we knew we could beat them, and couldn't afford another mistake.'

After a scoreless first half when both teams had numerous chances 15-20 yards out that were foiled by aggressive goalkeeping, the Wildcats scored first at 46:36 on a Kelly Nelson goal from 10 yards left into an open net. Duck keeper Sarah Peters had raced out to the left edge of the box to intercept a 30-yard high-bouncing pass from Lindsey Greenwood from the right midfield line, and Nelson sidestepped to her left to create the opening.

Arizona added an apparent insurance goal at 55:58 when midfielder Naomi Chu headed in a shot at the right post from six yards out, on a near pass from Jennifer Jones who was immediately fed on a cross-field drive from Althea James, 30 yards away near the left midfield line.

However, 10 minutes later at 66:30, Oregon senior Sarah Denner helped swing momentum back towards the hometeam's favor as she curled a header in to the right side of the goal from seven yards out, left center. Denner's chance was created by an indirect kick into the box from junior Lindsey Werdell, from 25 yards out near the right box corner. Denner's score marked her second of the year, and the assist was Werdell's first assist of 2002 and second career-wise.

In goal for Oregon, senior Sarah Peters came up with an equally impressive effort with both of the goals allowed not from a lack of effort, as she hustled to the edge of the box on both open-field tries with limited Duck help in both instances. Otherwise, the Duck defense as a whole played one of its strongest efforts of the year, limiting Arizona to six shots (although all legitimate scoring attempts) and five shots on goal.

Friday evening, the Ducks added some new wrinkles to their alignment as sophomore defender Christine Mintz played a more forward role on the wing, and authored several long drives from midfield deep into enemy waters. Sophomore midfielder Elise Minvielle also played one of her biggest roles this season, entering the game in the 65th minute, and helped organize the Duck offense in the middle of the field.

'Christine can be a very dangerous threat for us offensively when she gets forward,' Steffen said, 'and Elise gave us very good minutes and helped stabilize us with her ball-winning and good judgment and ball distribution. Their's were just two of many great efforts by the whole team.'

Arizona's Naomi Chu led the visitors in shots (2) and shots on goals (2) and keeper Natalie Juarez came up with six saves in 90 minutes of play. Oregon and Arizona each attempted four corner kicks and also tied in fouls (13). The 'Cats came up empty on several fast break attempts early by starter Candice Wilks, the Pac-10 leader among frosh in scoring last year, who was held without a shot Friday.

Arizona received two yellow cards in the game - the first at 34:05 by Mallory Miller who caught Oregon's Valerie Mayer on a midfield surge from behind and locked arms with her for 20 yards before eventually stopping the Duck freshman froward. Arizona's other card was issued to Naomi Chu at 78:39 who sped to catch up to open-field aerial at the box's edge then intentionally struck the ball with her hand trying to push it past the charging Duck keeper. Chu was also whistled for an illegal touch earlier in the game in the 19th minute on a breakaway 19 yards out center that was subsequently booted into the left corner of the goal, catching Peters 12 yards out of the net rushing up to intercept the shot attempt.

Barely a minute later, Oregon frosh Carlie Ashcraft was whistled for her first yellow card of the season at 79:43 for a run-in, defending an Arizona striker five yards outside the left edge of the box.

Looking ahead, the Duck women host No. 20 Arizona State at Pape' Field, Sunday at 1 p.m., with tickets from Saturday's Homecoming football game vs. USC also good for entry into the Sunday soccer match. The Sun Devils, an NCAA qualifier two seasons ago, posted a 1-0 win Friday evening over Oregon State in Corvallis, and enter the match with a 2-2 conference record and 9-3-2 overall this year.


Oregon 3, Arizona 2 at Pape' Field (Eugene, Ore.). Scoring: UA- Nelson (Greenwood) at 46:36; UA-Chu (Klein, Jones) at 55:58; UO-Denner (Werdell) at 66:30; UO-Tuttle (Baird) at 73:29; UO-Tuttle (Denner) at 81:16. Shots: UO-11 (Ashcraft 3), UA-6 (Chu, Nelson 2). Shots on Goal: UO-9 (Ashcraft 3), UA-5 (Chu, Nelson 2). Corner Kicks: UO-4, UA-4. Fouls: UO-13, UA-13. A: 389. Conditions: 50 degrees, wind still, clear sky.

- www.GoDucks.com -

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