Turnovers Haunt Ducks in Defeat
EUGENE, Ore. — Oregon was in control early before a run by USC late in the first half helped the Trojans grab momentum on the way to a 14-8 victory in their Pac-12 lacrosse matchup Sunday at Papé Field.
The Ducks (1-8, 1-4 Pac-12) led 4-3 with less than 10 minutes left in the first half. USC (7-4, 4-2) closed the half with four straight goals — two on free-position shots — and then controlled possession in the second half to stave off a comeback bid.
"We knew it was gonna be a tough game, and we know they go on runs," UO coach Chelsea Hoffmann said. "We really wanted to be able to slow those runs down, primarily with the draw. We started out really well; it kind of caught up to us, and unfortunately fouls gave them 8-meters and opportunities to finish, and that slowed our momentum."
The two teams met a week after a 16-9 victory for USC in Los Angeles, in which the Trojans had a 19-8 advantage in draw controls. The Ducks had the edge in draws Sunday, 13-11, thanks to nine by sophomore Hanna Hilcoff. But the Ducks committed 21 turnovers, contributing to a 33-16 advantage in shots for USC.
How It Happened: Logan Gierke and Katie Collins won the first two draws of the game, and the Ducks not coincidentally scored the first two goals of the game, by Hilcoff and Morgan McCarthy. After USC tied it, McCarthy put Oregon ahead 3-2, and Lillian Stump's 17th goal of the season broke another tie for a 4-3 lead by the Ducks.
The Trojans grabbed momentum before halftime, however, scoring four times in the final 7:48 including twice in the last minute.
"They found a weakness in that part of the zone and kept going to it and going to it," Hoffmann said. "That really deflated the momentum."
Goals by McCarthy and Hilcoff early in the second half kept the Ducks within striking distance at 8-6. But then they went scoreless for nearly 16 minutes, as USC slowed down the pace and Oregon struggled with turnovers.
"We weren't seeing the whole field," Hoffman said. "They were taking away our biggest threat with Hanna on the inside, and we really needed to go out to the middies a little more. … We need to see through the 8-meter to see the next option and hit it high and give our middies a chance to cut in or really dodge the seams against their zone."
Ali Bateman and Stump scored within 15 seconds of each other to get Oregon within 11-8 with 8:40 to play. But USC scored the last three goals of the afternoon to clinch the victory.
Who Stood Out: McCarthy recorded the first hat trick of her career, and the eighth by a Duck this season. Hilcoff scored twice on six shots, and her nine draw controls were just one off the UO single-game record she tied last year as a freshman. Stump finished with two goals plus two assists.
Notable: Hilcoff has now scored multiple goals in 14 of 16 games to open her collegiate career … Stump finished with at least three points for the sixth straight game, and at least four for the fourth straight game … Sophomore defender Lexie Likins made the first start of her career … Oregon led in draw controls for the first time this season, 13-11.
Up Next: The Ducks play at California on Friday at 5 p.m.