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A Victory For The Record Book

Feb 26, 2021

Oregon-Stanford Box Score | Boxscore

EUGENE, Ore. — Since 1997, Stanford and Oregon have met annually in soccer. Until Friday night, the Ducks had never come out on top.

Until Friday night.

Playing their first Pac-12 game under new coach Graeme Abel, the Ducks scored in each half and shut out the defending national champion Cardinal for all but a single second of Friday's game at Papé Field, a 2-1 victory for Oregon. Eden Hardy and Ally Cook scored for the Ducks, and Leah Freeman had four saves as Oregon improved to 1-22-1 all-time against Stanford.

The Ducks (2-0-1) had only beaten a team ranked as high as No. 3 in the country once before, an overtime win over UCLA in 2006, until Friday's win over the No. 3 Cardinal. Stanford lost in conference play for the first time since 2016, having gone 39-0-1 in Pac-12 play since.
 

The game easily could have ended 4-0, after a couple of near-misses by Oregon in the second half. Instead it will go into the history books as a 2-1 score, after Civana Kuhlmann found the back of the net following a scrum in front of the UO goal as the final seconds were ticking off the clock.

"It was a win; it was a team win," said Freeman, a freshman from Berkeley, Calif., whose father attended Stanford, and who grew up attending games at both Cal and Stanford. "Obviously a shutout is nice. But it's about the win. It's about what we did as a team.

"Today we made history as a team. And that's incredible."

The Ducks were outshot, 13-5. But when they had chances, they made them count.

"We talked about being assassins in the 18-yard box," Abel said. "One shot, one goal. As simple as that."

Hardy put that philosophy into action midway through the first half.

The play began with True Dydasco running a give-and-go with Zoe Hasenauer up the left side, before Dydasco sent a crossing pass upfield to Hardy. Taking the ball outside the right post, Hardy scored on one touch, a low shot back across the goal past the diving Stanford keeper.
 

That goal held up to send Oregon into halftime up 1-0. The Ducks had only taken two shots, and Freeman had only made one save at that point. But the activity was about to pick up, at both ends.

"We just asked them to stay as even-keeled as possible, and keep executing the game plan," Abel said. "Which is what they did."

Less than 10 minutes into the second half, a teammate sent a long pass upfield past the Stanford back line. Cook won a race to the ball with Stanford keeper Katie Meyer and found herself looking at a wide-open net, but sent the shot wide to the right.

About 10 minutes later, Jordan Wormdahl rocketed a shot high at Meyer, who deflected it but saw the ball carom behind her toward the goal line. Cook and the Cardinal's Julia Leontini converged on the ball in a collision that knocked Leontini from the game; her consolation was, she'd managed to keep the ball out of the net.

At that point, Abel recalled later, he thought back to a conversation he had earlier this month with Cook, who had grown frustrated by some missed chances to finish goals in practice. As long as you're getting chances, Abel counseled her, you're OK. It's when you're not even creating chances that it's time to worry; as long as you're doing so, goals will come.

That was borne out just a minute after the collision with Leontini. Wormdahl again created the play, chipping a ball up to Cook, who finished it past Meyer for a 2-0 lead. Cook's resiliency had been tested, and she prevailed.

"You've got to have a 2-second memory," she said. "There's going to be more coming. You can't linger on the past. You've got to focus on the present."

At the other end, Stanford was putting much more pressure on Freeman. The Cardinal took nine shots in the second half, requiring three saves. Until the very last second, Freeman held strong.

The game also featured 13 fouls by the Cardinal, and nine by Oregon. Hasenauer received a yellow card in the 18th minute, seeming intent on the play to signal that the Ducks were not going to be intimidated by the physical tone Stanford was trying to set.

"We did not let the physicality get to us," Cook said. "And we gave it right back to them."

That they did. The result was one for the record books.