Ducks Thump ‘Dogs in Conference Opener

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EUGENE, Ore. – The Oregon women’s lacrosse team responded to its loss Friday to Connecticut with a bang on Saturday, rolling over Fresno State, 18-3, at Papé Field. Nikki Puszcz led the charge with four goals while Carly O'Connell fired in three goals. Five other players also chipped in with a pair of goals in UO’s Mountain Pacific Sports Federation opener.
UO is now 5-5 all-time in conference-opening matches in the MPSF and improved its record at home to 40-24. Puszcz’s goal 15 seconds into the match was just shy of breaking Courtney Valdez’s single-game record for fastest goal, 13 seconds.
“We worked on making sure that we kept our moment heading into the second half, and after we got the momentum it was just really getting everybody blending in together,” head coach Jen Beck said. “I think the goal shift once we got the momentum in the second half, and sort of just get everybody in.”
The Ducks were in control of the game from the opening draw, holding Fresno State (1-6, 0-4 MPSF) scoreless the entire first half while Oregon reeled off 13-straight goals and scored 16-straight before the ‘Dogs finally scored in the second half.
Oregon (3-3, 1-0 MPSF) put the game out of reach in the opening minutes, netting four goals in less than two minutes thanks to Valdez who scored two of four.
The Bulldogs scored their first goal at the 14:20 mark in the second half thanks to Kyleigh Westgarth on a pass from Anjelica Fuccillo, to make it 16-1, after their previous goal minutes before was take away due to a dangerous shot situation.
Fresno State would score twice more at the 9:17 mark and once more with 12 seconds remaining, but it was too little too late.
With the 13-0 lead heading into the second half, Jenna Morris took over in the crease for Oregon before Becca Katzen relieved Morris at the 14 minute mark. The appearance was Katzen’s first collegiate match between the pipes.
Natalie Simpson, Lauren Drake, Kathryn Blumhardt, Annie Longtain and Erin Schillmoeller also saw action for the first time today. Blumhardt went 0-2 from the field with one draw control. Freshman Bella Pyne also recorded her first multi-goal game against the ‘Dogs, scoring once in the first half and once in the second half on a free position shot.
“I think it was important to get everybody in,” Beck said. “Everybody that was healthy got in there and we got them into the spots they were playing in.”
The Ducks return to action at noon next Saturday, March 22, at Papé Field when they play host to Presbyterian before heading to Ohio for a pair of matches before hitting the heart of their conference schedule.

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