Overtime Goal Gives Ducks Rivalry Win
EUGENE, Ore. — Oh baby, was Friday a night to remember for the Oregon soccer program.
A little over 24 hours after UO coach Graeme Abel and his wife welcomed a new daughter to the family, Abel was on the sideline to lead the Ducks to a 1-0 overtime victory over Oregon State at Papé Field that clinched a season sweep of the Beavers and a winning record for Oregon.
Ally Cook's header off a corner kick by Chai Cortez with 96:23 on the clock gave the Ducks a victory on senior night, and a 6-5-5 record for Oregon's first regular-season finish above .500 since 2006. The Ducks should be in the conversation Monday for a berth in the NCAA Tournament, though the pandemic-related reduction of the field from 64 teams to 48 could impact their chances.
"They've got to talk about us," said Abel, whose third child is a baby girl the family named Ava. "Whether we're in or not, I don't know. … Regular year, 64 (teams), we're in. This is where this program needs to be moving forward — every year for the selection show, we're in front of that TV expecting our name to be called."
How It Happened: The Ducks went to overtime for the seventh time this year, but won in extra time for the first time. Midway through the first 10-minute overtime, it was Oregon's lone senior, Chardonnay Curran, who drove the ball into Oregon State territory, creating momentum for what ended up being the game-winning goal.
Oregon kept up the pressure on the Beavers after Curran created that momentum, ultimately building to a corner kick by Cortez. Just as was the case in Abel's debut as UO coach, against Gonzaga on Feb. 7, Cortez lofted a corner that Cook finished with her head for a 1-0 victory.
— Oregon Ducks Soccer (@OregonSoccer) April 17, 2021
The victory was the fourth of the year for Oregon in conference play, nearly matching the program's total number of conference wins in the previous three years combined (six).
"It's crazy; I'm just proud of us and proud of how far we've come," Curran said. "We came in here with a goal, and it was to do whatever we can to help change this program. Year by year, it felt like we were close. To finally be here and do exactly what we've done now, it's nice. I'm just so proud of everyone."
The overtime goal gave UO keeper Charlotte Brisley a shutout in her first start of the year. The sum total of her playing time this season entering Friday was 44 seconds, after an injury to Leah Freeman late in Sunday's tie at Washington State.
"She's been pushing Leah this whole season, and we've seen her grow throughout the year," Cook said. "She's been killing it in practice. So it was no surprise she stepped up — but she stepped up, big-time."
Brisley had to make two saves back-to-back in the final 10 minutes of regulation, including a diving effort in the 83rd minute. Two minutes later, Jordan Wormdahl got off a shot at the other end that OSU's keeper deflected into open space in front of the goal, but a defender was able to deflect the ball away before Cook could reach it for a shot. Just a few minutes into overtime, though, Cook got another chance and made it count.
The Ducks created a couple of chances late in the first half, with Curran taking a shot from the top of the box that the keeper deflected over the goal, and Lexi Romero chipping a pass ahead to Cook a couple minutes later for a shot that was saved. Romero had another chance midway through the second half, looking to collect a long pass behind the OSU back line, but the keeper aggressively played the ball and was able to break up the play.
In the 78th minute, OSU was fouled just outside the 18-yard box but sent a free kick well over the UO net. Four minutes later another free kick just outside the box led to the chance that required the diving save from Brisley.
Who Stood Out: Cook's goal was her fourth of the season, all of which were game-winners. Romero, Caitlin Shaw and True Dydasco were credited with two shots each, and all contributed to consistent pressure by the Ducks most of the night. Curran, Cortez, Mia Palmer and Croix Soto contributed on the back line as Oregon posted its sixth shutout of the year.
Special mention goes to Abel, who drove to Seattle after Oregon's practice Thursday for the delivery of his daughter, then flew back to Eugene on Friday in time for the game.
"Crazy 24 hours," he said. "Mother and baby are doing great; they're back home now. And then Ally Cook pops up and scores the winner. So, good 24 hours."
Notable: This is Oregon's first winning record (6-5-5) since the 2006 team went 12-6-2. … This is Oregon's best conference finish – seventh – since tying for seventh in 2010. … Oregon set a season record by allowing just 0.69 goals per game. The previous mark was 0.81 GAA by the 1980 team. … Individually, Freeman, set the UO goals against average season record with a 0.74 mark, beating the previous record of 0.82 by Jessie Chatfield in 2006. … Oregon held opponents to one goal or less in all but one game in 2020-21, a 3-0 loss to No. 3 UCLA. … The 12 goals scored by Oregon's opponents is the lowest season total allowed in program history. The 1980 team yielded just 14 goals in 17 games. … Cook is now tied for sixth on the UO career list with six game-winning goals. … The Ducks have won two straight matches against Oregon State for the first time since 2014-15.
Up Next: The NCAA Tournament field will be announced Monday at 10 a.m.