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Ducks Host No 1 UCLA, No. 20 USC

Sep 28, 2022

Oregon hosts No. 1 UCLA Thursday at 7 p.m. (Pac-12 Live Steam) and No. 20 USC Sunday at noon (Pac-12 Network).

KEY STORYLINES
• This will be the sixth time in program history that the nation's No. 1 team has played in Eugene, and the first since 2018 (No. 1 Stanford 1, Oregon 0 (OT), Oct. 7, 2018).
• Leah Freeman made a career-high 14 saves in Oregon's 2-0 upset of No. 15 Washington last week. For her efforts, Freeman was named Pac-12 Goalkeeper of the Week. Freeman was backed by goals from Ajanae Respass - her fourth of the season - and Kess Elmore, who returned to the field after missing the first eight games of 2022.
• Leah Freeman registered her 17th career shutout last week against No. 15 Washington, which tied Abby Steele for the UO career record.
• Zoe Hasenauer, who has played in 82 consecutive matches, is on the verge of a school record. With 17 career assists, she is just one shy of the school mark of 18 held by Jen Stoltenberg (2007-10). Hasenauer ranks among the UO career top 10 in eight different categories.
• Making plays for your teammates. Nine different Ducks have accounted for Oregon's 13 assists this season, Beyond that, eight of those assists have come from freshmen. Trinity Morales, Ajanae Respass and Livvy Moore each have two, while Ainsley Fink and Caitlyn McCulloch each have one.
• The Ducks were one of two teams to shutout UCLA in 2021 (0-0, Sept. 24). It was the first time the Bruins had been shutout at home in more than three years. Leah Freeman (goalkeeper) and Chai Cortez (defender) were named Pac-12 players of the week.

GAME NOTES

HELP IS ON THE WAY
At one point in September, Oregon was missing seven starters. Fortunately, two starters from the 2021 team, Kess Elmore and Croix Soto, finally made their 2022 debuts Sept. 23 versus Washington. Both players missed the first eight games of the season due to injury. Elmore wasted no time making an impact, scoring the Ducks ' second goal of the night. Soto, a 2021 all-Pac-12 defender, logged 14 minutes and one shot at forward. The Ducks also recently regained the services of starter Bel Rolley, who was injured Aug. 27 at Gonzaga. She was able to return for the Sept. 11 Hofstra match. One starter from last season, midfielder Caitlin Shaw, is still looking to return this fall. Also out for the year are three players who started games in 2022.  Both Callan Harrington and True Dydasco were taken out in the San Francisco game (Aug. 21) and Livvy Moore went out against Boise State (Sept. 4).

WEEK SIX RECAP
Kess Elmore scored in her first match of the season and Leah Freeman made a career-high 14 saves – one shy of the school record – as Oregon upended No. 15 Washington 2-0 Sept. 23 in front of 807 at Papé Field. The Ducks snapped a six-match losing streak to the Huskies while handing UW its first loss of the season. It was also Freeman's 17th career shutout, tying Abby Steele (2011-14) for the school record. Oregon utilized Freeman's strong leg to initiate a give-and-go goal in the 11th minute. Freeman drilled a goal kick well into Washington territory and Ajanae Respass won the ball 35 yard out from the Huskies' goal. She slipped a pass to Kaitlyn Paculba who was breaking free down the right side. Paculba carried the ball to the end line before feeding a pass back to Respass, who was crashing down on the near post. Respass then lined a shot across the goal and into the far side of the net. It was her team-leading fourth goal of the season. Oregon got some breathing room in the 70th minute when Elmore feathered a shot through traffic on a set piece. Chai Cortez directed a corner kick into the middle of the Huskies' box and the ball ricocheted around before squirting out to Elmore who was waiting just outside the 18-yard line. Her shot split two UW defenders and rolled past the Huskies' keeper for a 2-0 lead. While Respass and Elmore were making the most of their chances at the offensive end, Oregon's defense plugged up the middle, frustrating Washington all night. As a result most of the Huskies' 24 shots, while on frame, came from distance and were easily handled by Freeman. Freeman's 14 saves were the most by a Duck keeper in 19 years. Domenique Lainez tied Sarah Peters' school record when she made 15 saves against Texas A&M back in 2003. It was Oregon's first win over a ranked team since defeating No. 3 Stanford, 2-1, in the 2020 season. This was Oregon's first win against Washington since Nov. 1, 2015 (1-0, OT).

FREEMAN NAMED PAC-12 PLAYER OF THE WEEK
After helping the Ducks upset No. 15 Washington 2-0 on Sept. 23, Leah Freeman was named the Pac-12 Goalkeeper of the Week. Freeman made a career-high 14 saves in the shutout which is the most in the Pac-12 this season and was just one save shy of the Oregon school record. The win snapped the Huskies' six-game winning streak in the series. The 14 saves for the junior from Berkeley, Calif., were the most by a Duck keeper since Domenique Lainez tied Sarah Peters' school record of 15 saves against Texas A&M in 2003. The win also marked the 17th career shutout for Freeman which tied the UO career record. This is Freeman's fourth career Pac-12 Goalkeeper of the Week award (Oct. 11, 2021; Sept. 27, 2021; March 29, 2021).

NEW MARK FOR FREEMAN
Leah Freeman has reached career highs in saves three time this season. She tied her previous career high with nine saves against San Francisco (8-21). She did that one better with 10 saves at Gonzaga (8-27). She then obliterated that mark with 14 saves Sept. 23 against Washington. Freeman leads the Pac-12 in both total saves (64) and saves per game (7.11) and is sixth and eighth nationally in those categories, respectively.
 
FREEMAN MOVES TO THE TOP OF UO CAREER GAA LIST
The Aug. 27 game at Gonzaga marked Leah Freeman's 35th career game, which was significant because 35 games played is the minimum requirement to be eligible for Oregon's career goals against average list. By meeting that requirement, Freeman entered the list at the No. 1 position and now holds it with a 0.92 career goals against average. Abby Steele (2011-14) was bumped to second at 1.14 GAA.