Ducks, Dons Battle To Tie
EUGENE, Ore. — A brilliant effort from Leah Freeman and a goal off a set piece by True Dydasco in the second half helped the Oregon soccer team salvage a 1-1 tie with San Francisco on Sunday at Papé Field.
Freeman tied her career high with nine saves as the Dons outshot the Ducks 24-6. Dydasco scored her first goal since April 11, 2021, in the pandemic-delayed spring season, having missed most of last fall due to injury.
Sunday's game saw a repeat of the physicality from last fall's tie between the teams at USF, a game that saw both Freeman and Dydasco leave due to injury. That they played such key roles in the rematch was a bright spot, but Oregon's ceding of control for much of the match was not as well received by head coach Graeme Abel.
"By the second half we rescued it," Abel said. "But we had to get back to our old ways of having to fight and claw and scrap, and things like that. And that's not what we want to do. You want to be the team that goes out in front."
How It Happened: The Ducks (1-0-1) created some pressure in the opening few minutes, but Freeman was called on for her first save in the seventh minute and ended up having to make four more in the first half. The Dons scored in the 24th minute when Marissa Vasquez curled a corner kick off the back post and in, with none of the players from either team jostling in front of the net able to get a touch on it.
The shot differential was 13-5 at halftime, with USF needing to make only one save in the opening half. The Ducks only tallied one shot in the second half, but it provided the equalizer.
On a free kick from about 30 yards out, near the USF bench, Chai Cortez touched the ball to begin the play and left it for Dydasco. The sixth-year senior put the ball on goal, and though UO sophomore Callan Harrington flicked at it with her head, the ball appeared to go into the net cleanly off Dydasco's foot.
"It show we're fighters, it shows we still have that piece," Abel said. "But we can't survive on just being fighters alone. We have to be a better team in terms of getting the ball on the floor, and — I mean, they outshot us 24-6, and that can't happen."
Freeman made four more saves in the second half, and nearly had to try for another in the 89th minute when the Dons created a breakaway. But the shot went wide of the net and the match ended in a tie.
Junior goalkeeper Leah Freeman
"The last time we played this team, we got bullied. This game, we fought back. It was something where we wouldn't take it, we would keep going. Yeah, the goals didn't happen, but we were able to do that."
Notable: The assist by Cortez was the 10th of her career, moving her into the UO top 10 (T9). … With 14 saves on the weekend, Freeman passed Cody Miles (150 saves, 2008-10) for seventh in UO career saves with 154. … The Ducks played their second match without returning starters Kess Elmore, Caitlin Shaw and Croix Soto.
Up Next: The Ducks go on the road for the first time to play at Gonzaga on Saturday at 7 p.m.