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Ducks Look for Redemption in Mile High City

Apr 30, 2014

EUGENE – With the regular-season behind them, the Oregon women’s lacrosse team has its mind set and focused on Thursday’s quarterfinal match up with USC in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament. The fourth-seeded Ducks and fifth-seeded Trojans are slated to faceoff at 6 p.m. (PDT) on Thursday, May 1, at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium.

The winner between UO (10-7, 6-3 MPSF) and USC (9-8, 6-3 MPSF) will then face Denver, the top-seed and host of this year’s MPSF Tournament. That semifinal matchup is schedule to start at 3 p.m. (PDT) on Friday, May 2. The winner of that semifinal match will then play for the MPSF crown and automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament on Sunday, May 4, at 10 a.m. (PDT).

vs. USC
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The Ducks had made the tournament every year since the program started until UO was left looking in last season, just one year removed from hoisting the MPSF trophy. Oregon is 10-7 all-time at the tournament, with its last loss in the tournament coming in 2011 when UO lost to No. 6 Stanford in the title match, 12-10.

Oregon is 5-3 all-time in its opening match at the tournament. The Ducks and Trojans have yet to face one another in post-season play with USC only in its second season.

The Ducks and Trojans are set to battle it out for the second time this season when they meet at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium at 6 p.m. (PDT) on Thursday, May 1, in the quarterfinal game of the MPSF Tournament.

Southern California split its final two games of the regular season, falling to No. 5 Northwestern, 12-7, before downing Marquette (11-5) the next day.

The Women of Troy have five different players with 20-plus goals on the year in Caroline de Lyra (28g, 20a), Alex Moore (33g, 11a), Annie Ruland (28g, 6a), Michaela Michael (34g, 6a) and Amanda Johansen (20g, 5a). Ruland did the most damage against UO the last time the two teams clashed in Los Angeles with three goals and one assist.

USC’s Liz Schaeffer has stopped 95 shots in 974:49 minutes of action while sporting a .375 saves percentage. Schaeffer, the MPSF week 10 defensive player of the week, has started in every game for USC and leads the defense with 45 groundballs. Courtney Tarleton, this week’s reigning MPSF defensive player of the week, is second on the team with 31 groundballs and leads the team with 19 caused turnovers.

The Ducks will need to keep an eye out for Johansen and Michaels on the draw control as the two leads USC with 52 and 43 draw controls, respectively.

Head coach Jen Beck led the Oregon Lacrosse team to its 100th win as a program with the win over San Diego State. Beck also earned her 100th-win at the helm in the process. With UO playing in its 10th season, Beck has led the Ducks to at least 10 wins in 7-of-10 seasons.

Shannon Propst – who currently has 41 assists – has already broken the single-season record assist record (39), but looks to break the single-season point record (68) this Thursday in Denver against USC. The senior attacker is currently tied for the record. Both records were set by Propst last year.

Sophomore Carly O'Connell broke the single-season draw controls record this past weekend after she picked up seven draw controls versus Colorado to finish with 71. The midfielder from Southborough, Mass., broke the nine year old record that was set by sixth-year assistant coach Jen (May) Derby back in 2005, UO’s second year as a program.

Nikki Puszcz became only the sixth player in program history to record 100 career-goals when she fired in Oregon’s first goal of the day, against No. 18 Ohio State, to tie the game up, 1-1, in the first half.

The Towson, Md., native also cracked the top five in career-goals that weekend, and now sits at 118. The senior reeled off five goals at California – tying a career-high – and then went off for three more at St. Mary’s.

Fellow teammate Shannon Propst also joined Puszcz in the century club after she netted a pair of goals at California, becoming the seventh player in UO history to accomplish that feat.

The Ducks dropped both of its home games last weekend to the Mile High schools. Against Denver on Friday, UO wasn’t able to hold off Rachael McKinnon from the finding the back of the net. The sophomore went off for a game-high four goals against the Ducks, including a natural hat-trick to open up the game to help DU go up 3-0 in less than 3 minutes.

Oregon closed the gap within three goals three separate times – the last one coming from Nikki Puszcz who found the back of the cage with 17:44 remaining in the game – but the Pioneers responded each time with a goal.

Two days later, Oregon dropped a heartbreaker to Colorado on a golden goal with 37 seconds remaining in the third sudden victory period. UO jumped out to an early lead thanks to Olivia Pyne’s natural hat-trick but the Buffs’ Johnna Fusco turned in one of her own to put CU up 5-4 before Pyne scored her career-high fourth goal to knot things up at the half.

Both teams exchanged a 3-0 runs in the second half to keep the game tied at 8-8, forcing overtime. Fusco netted her fifth goal of the day to put Colorado up 9-8 with 43 seconds left in the first overtime period. The Ducks’ Casey Brogan however forced the game into golden goal when she connected with Carly O'Connell on a rocket past CU’s Paige Soenksen with 10 seconds remaining.

Neither team could find the back of the cage in the first two golden goal periods thanks to multiple turnovers on the offensive end as fatigue settled in.

CU’s Sarah Lautman however was able to weave her way past the Oregon defense and net the game-winning goal with just 37 seconds remaining in the third golden goal period.

The long awaited assist and goal from Pyne to Pyne finally happened last Sunday at St. Mary’s when older sister Olivia Pyne dished out an assist to younger sister Bella Pyne at the 10:59 mark in the second half.

Heading into this week’s competition, Shannon Propst is fourth in the nation with 2.41 assists per game – trailing the leader by just .30 – while Carly O'Connell is in 10th with 2.18 assists per game. Through 17 games, Propst has dropped into a tie for 26th with 4.00 points per game while O’Connell dropped to 41st with 3.76 points per game. O’Connell is also in 24th-place in draw controls with a 4.18 average.

Senior Caroline Federighi dropped a few spots to 13th nationally amongst keepers with an 8.00 goals against average.

As a team the Ducks moved into a tie for 19th-place nationally in scoring offense with 12.94 goals per game and moved down to ninth in scoring defense, allowing 7.82 goals per game. UO is also in a tie for 13th in caused turnovers with 9.82 per game.

Through last week’s games, Oregon and many of its players still hold top spots in multiple statistical categories in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. Shannon Propst moves down to third with 4.00 points per game while teammate Carly O'Connell is in fourth with 3.76 points per game.

Propst is in second with 2.41 assists per game while O’Connell sits in third with 2.18 assist per game. O’Connell is second in the conference in draw controls with a 4.18 average and has a total of 63 on the year. Nikki Puszcz jumped up to second in the conference with 1.59 caused turnovers per game.

In the crease, Caroline Federighi stayed in the second slot in the goals against average category with 8.00 GAA in 944:26 minutes of action.

As a team the Ducks are first in several categories, including: assists per game (7.18), points per game (20.12) and shots on goal per game (22.24). UO dropped to second with 12.94 goals per game and is third with 16.82 groundballs per game.

The Ducks also boasts the second-lowest goals against average as a team (7.71), third in save percentage (.427) and second in caused turnovers per game (9.82).

The senior eclipsed the Oregon all-time career assist record of 78 in the season opener, dishing out nine assists in the 20-3 win over Stetson. Propst tacked on two more assists in the Ducks’ win over Coastal Carolina to finish with 11 assists through two games, and 81 in her career at Oregon. The fallen record of 78 was held by Kristina Barrett who played from 2009-12.

Propst’s nine assists also broke the eight-year old single-game assist record for Oregon (6) set by Alison Leiner in 2006 and tied the MPSF single-game assist record set by Jill Remenapp of Denver last season. Propst’s 10 points against Stetson also broke the single-game record at Oregon while tying her for sixth all-time on the MPSF all-time single-game points list.

The following day against Coastal Carolina, the senior attack also displayed her offensive capabilities, tying the game-high with four goals in Oregon’s 23-3 victory over the Chants.

Freshman Bella Pyne was named the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Rookie of the Week as announced by the conference office Monday evening on April 21. Pyne netted five goals over the two-game road sweep for the Ducks this past weekend. The two wins put Oregon in position to play for the No. 1 seed in the MPSF Tournament this week against Denver and Colorado.

The Edgewater, Md., native then had a career-day at San Diego State, netting a career-high four goals. The four points at SDSU also set a career-high for the freshman.

Pyne helped Oregon start the second half against SDSU with a 3-0 run thanks to her natural hat-trick. She then finished off with her fourth goal in the waning moments of the game. Pyne was also 1-for-1 in free-position opportunities in UO’s 13-6 win on over the Aztecs.

Oregon senior attacker Shannon Propst earned the first Offensive Player of the Week honors of the 2014 season as announced by the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation office Monday, Feb. 17. This is the third player of the week award for Propst, who earned it twice before, once during her junior campaign and once during her sophomore year.

Propst was tabbed the MPSF Offensive Player of Week after she scored five goals with 11 assists and 16 points her first two games. The Bel Air, Md., native was also 5-of-6 shooting from the field (.833), including a perfect shots on goal percentage and went 2-for-2 in free position opportunities to go along with her 3 ground balls.

After going 2-0 on the road against Cal and St. Mary’s, Caroline Federighi was named the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation’s Defensive Player of the Week. Federighi joins Propst as the only other player to earn the honor for UO this season.

The Pleasanton, Calif., native posted a 6.66 goals against average during the two-game stretch, tallying seven saves in 99:03 minutes of action between the pipes and allowed just 11 saves.

Federighi also helped herself on the defensive end, scooping up six groundballs (three each game) and caused a pair of turnovers against the Gaels.

This is the second player of the week honor for Federighi. She earned her first accolade last season on April 22.

The preseason coaches’ poll released by the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation had Oregon slated to finish fourth in league play receiving 53 points. Stanford was picked to finish first, garnering 78 points and seven first-place votes, with Denver right behind the Cardinal with 74 points and a pair of first-place votes. USC finished ahead of Oregon with 66 points while garnering one first-place vote.