Ducks Win Conference Home Opener
EUGENE, Ore. — Playing for the first time in three weeks following a pandemic protocol pause, the Oregon women's lacrosse team returned to action in triumphant fashion Saturday, trailing for less than five minutes of a 14-9 victory at Papé Field.
Hanna Hilcoff scored five goals and six other Ducks found the back of the cage. Alle Dunbar had nine saves, protecting the lead with the aid of Oregon's back line, Sydnie Soto, Logan Gierke, Olivia Mannon and Rachel Williams.
"I think it was a team effort from start to finish," UO coach Chelsea Hoffmann said. "They really showed a lot of resiliency. It was really fun to put it all together."
How It Happened: Cal struck first a little over two minutes into the game, but Morgan McCarthy tied it on a free position shot less than 5 minutes later. Lindsay Clarke gave Oregon its first lead, and Hilcoff's first of five goals made it 3-1. The Golden Bears rallied to tie it, but Shonly Wallace scored in a man-up situation to give the Ducks the lead for good, and Hilcoff scored twice more to make it 6-3. Oregon went into halftime up 7-4, after a late goal by Katie Collins on a free position shot.
Hoffman said winning draws early in the game helped the Ducks establish control.
"We knew the draw for us in this game was going to be key," she said. "We haven't had a game yet where we've been super consistent in the draw. I think that gave us momentum throughout the game."
Oregon (1-4) played with the lead throughout the second half. Hoffman said she sensed some tension from her team given the potential for the first win of the season, but that began to ease early in the second half when Nakeeya McCardell raced from midfield to the front of the Cal cage and buried a shot for a 9-6 lead. Wallace, Hilcoff and McCardell all scored again over the ensuing few minutes, as the Ducks extended their lead to 12-7.
"We just kept pushing," Hilcoff said. "That's our motto, pretty much — we never give up, no matter what the scoreboard looks like. That was our goal and we attained it, start to finish."
Who Stood Out: Hilcoff scored five times on nine shots, giving her 16 goals on the season. She also won six draw controls, to help Oregon finish nearly even on the day in draws, just behind Cal at 13-12. Wallace, McCardell and Lillian Stump each scored twice, and Stump added an assist, as did Mannon.
Notable: Saturday's game was one of the first this spring played under new local guidelines that permitted family and friends in attendance.
"That was really exciting," Hoffmann said. "As a university, or the athletics program, it just gives us a little hope, and also a little something more to play for."
Up Next: The Ducks host Stanford on Monday (3 p.m., Pac-12 Network).