Soccer Ties No. 23 Utah

Sept. 15, 2002

EUGENE - The University of Oregon women's soccer team (0-3-1) improved its record Sunday with a 1-1 overtime tie against No. 23 Utah at Pape' Field.

The Ducks opened scoring at 30:24 into the first period on a two-yard header next to the right post by freshman forward Mele French -- the opportunity courtesy of a 25-yard line drive pass along the end line from freshman Carlie Ashcraft from the other side of the goal.

'Everybody was shifted to other side, so I moved back and just happened to be at the right spot at the right time,' French said. 'It feels good to get the goal, but there were plenty of other opportunities this season. As a group, we played more confidently offensively, and Coach had our center forward make some adjustments, such as holding the ball more so they could distribute to the other forwards. Now we have to keep making progress.'

Utah, however, answered 24 seconds later on a lobbed shot to the top right corner of the net by Ute reserve Missy Dennis. The Ute junior forward retrieved the ball near the top off the goal box off a deflection, and scored from 16 yards out from the center of the field.

By game's end, Utah held a 14-8 edge on shots, but only a 4-2 margin on shots on goal, while the Ducks owned advantages in corner kicks (6-4), fouls (16-13) and saves (3-1).

'We gave a solid effort, although I don't think the players were happy with a tie because we had chances to win,' Oregon head coach Bill Steffen said. 'We gave away the first 15 to 20 minutes of the game because we let them have a physical advantage, but after that we started winning challenges more and gained confidence from that. Altogether I feel a little better about ourselves, and the players showed a good effort level.'

French's goal marked the first of her career, and stood as the Ducks' second of the season after senior Sarah Denner's scored vs. then-No. 13 Florida State.

Tabbed 23rd in this week's Soccer America poll, Utah (3-0-2) entered the game as one of 11 Duck opponents that are top-25 ranked this season. The Utes had already upset then top-five ranked Portland in its season opener, and also scored a 2-1 2OT win over then-No. 18 Kentucky last week.

The Ducks next look forward to the Nike Tournament in Corvallis, Ore., and play Pacific, Fri., Sept. 20 at 2 p.m. and Wisconsin-Green Bay, Sun., Sept. 22 at 10:30 a.m.


No. 23 Utah 1, Oregon 1 at Pape Field in Eugene, Ore. Scoring: UO-Mele French (Ashcraft) at 30:24; UU-Dennis (unassisted). Shots: UO-8 (French 6), UU-14 (Gurr-Bingham 6). Corner Kicks: UO-6, UU-4. Saves: UO-3 (Peters 3), UU-1 (Hills-McBeth 1). Fouls: UO-16, UU-13. A-409. Conditions: 63 degrees, partly sunny/cloudy, slight breeze.

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