Ducks Score Nine Unanswered to Survive and Advance
TEMPE, Ariz. – Oregon scored nine consecutive goals in the second quarter to build an 11-2 lead before holding on to beat Colorado 14-10 and advance to the Pac-12 Tournament semifinals.
The Ducks (4-13), just a week removed from losing 23-12 in Boulder, beat the Buffaloes (11-6) for the first time ever to keep their season alive. Oregon advances to face off against No. 17 Stanford on Thursday afternoon at 4:30 p.m.
"The team came together and reset after our last game," said Oregon head coach Chelsea Hoffmann. "We had a great week of practice, competing hard against each other and getting back to the basics."
How it Happened: The two teams battled to a draw in the first quarter. Morgan McCarthy scored the first two goals of the game before Colorado answered with a pair of their own. The Buffs had opportunities to tack on more, but Cassidy Eckert stepped up in the cage with four saves on six shots on goal.
Oregon pulled away in the second quarter, going on a 9-0 run over the first 13:22 of the period. Seven Ducks scored in the run, which started with Gabby Cleveland putting away a free-position shot with 14:01 left in the period. Lillian Stump kept the momentum going Oregon's way, putting away a transition score after Logan Gierke forced a turnover.
Shonly Wallace and Katie Collins kept the run going with two goals in 34 seconds before four Ducks scored four goals in four minutes to make it 10-2 in favor of Oregon. Collins closed the 9-0 run with a goal before Colorado scored twice to make it 11-4 heading into halftime.
The Ducks followed up the offensive onslaught in the second quarter with one of their best defensive periods of the year in the third. The Buffaloes only managed one goal in the quarter with just four shots on goal. Eckert made three more saves, including a key one with 2:25 left to help UO hold Colorado scoreless after a yellow card.
The strong third quarter proved to be a necessity when the Ducks endured a wobbly start to the fourth. Colorado outscored Oregon 5-1 in the final period, pulling within four goals with 7:08 left in the game.
Eckert and the Ducks rebounded, however, with the sophomore goalie grabbing three saves to hold the Buffaloes scoreless down the stretch. Sydnie Soto, Sydney Lawrence and Lexie Likins grabbed key ground balls in the final seven minutes. The trio allowed Oregon to run several minutes off the clock and hang on to the victory.
Who Stood Out: The midfield duo of McCarthy and Collins combined for half of Oregon's scoring. McCarthy finished with a career-high four goals for her fourth career hat trick while also snagging seven of Oregon's 12 draw controls. Collins, a Colorado-native, scored three times to give her eight goals on the year against her home-state team.
Notable: Gierke made her 50th career start on Wednesday, grabbing four ground balls and causing a turnover … Hilcoff scored her 99th career goal in her 36th career game, keeping her on pace to be the fastest Duck to 100 goals … Eckert's .565 save percentage is a career-high … Oregon is now 2-2 all-time in the Pac-12 Tournament.
Up Next: The Ducks take on top-seeded Stanford in the Pac-12 Tournament semifinals on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. The game will be televised on Pac-12 Network.