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Depleted Ducks Battle Broncos

Sep 8, 2022

EUGENE, Ore. — Santa Clara took an early lead and kept up the pressure as the 2020 NCAA women's soccer champions beat Oregon, 4-1, on Thursday at Papé Field.

The Broncos got on the board in the third minute and scored twice more in the first half to lead 3-0 at the break. Lexi Romero's first career goal as a Duck got the UO women back within two, but Santa Clara matched it later in the half to get back in front by three.

The injury depleted Ducks (1-2-3) dropped their second straight and play their next two matches on the road, beginning Sunday at Hofstra.

How It Happened: With eight players unavailable Thursday due to injury, the UO coaching staff opted for a defensive posture to open the game. Head coach Graeme Abel was second-guessing that approach after Santa Clara took the lead with a goal at the 2:38 mark of the match.

"We tried to sit a little lower on them, trying to save our legs a little bit, just numbers-wise," Abel said. "Looking back now we should have pressed them right away and then see what we get out of the first half, and then hang on. We take that fully as a coaching staff. We gotta do a better job with that piece."

The Broncos made it 2-0 in the 16th minute, and made it 3-0 in the 35th minute as they finished the first half with four shots on goal. Oregon didn't have any to that point.

Romero changed that in the 51st minute. Trinity Morales poked a ball through the Santa Clara defense that Kaitlyn Paculba centered for Romero, who leapt into the air and finished the play for her first career goal with Oregon.

Romero scored 14 times as a freshman with Air Force in 2019, and she got her first UO goal in her 37th appearance with the Ducks.

"That kid's worked so hard and she's had so many ups and downs and stuff since she came here," Abel said. "So it's awesome she was able to get that goal. We're extremely proud of her."

The Broncos got the score to 4-1 with a goal in the 78th minute.

Notable: Zoe Hasenauer continues to climb the UO career games played and games started lists. Thursday was her 77th career start, which is tied for fourth at Oregon with Nicole Dobrzynski (2005-08). … In positive news on the injury front, Bel Rolley returned to action after missing the last two games due to an injury in the Aug. 27 game at Gonzaga.

Up Next: The Ducks play Sunday at Hofstra (4 p.m., FloSports).