Ducks Win as Freeman Sets UO Career Shutouts Record
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Leah Freeman made seven saves, including one on a penalty kick in the 69th minute, as Oregon blanked Utah 1-0 Thursday night at Ute Field.
In the process, Freeman became the school's all-time leader in shutouts with the 18th of her career. She came into the night tied with Abby Steele (2011-14).
On the offensive end, Lexi Romero's pressure led to an own goal by Utah in the 54th minute. The lone score of the match held up to level the Ducks' record at 4-4-4 overall and 2-2 in the Pac-12.
"Outstanding job from our kids to come to a tough place and grind out the result," said head coach Graeme Abel, whose team opened in a 3-5-2 formation. "We were able to rotate a few people around tonight to give ourselves some rest in certain areas and the team was able execute in something different than what we've done before."
How it Happened: The teams played a scoreless first 45 minutes as Utah (5-5-2, 1-3-0) held possession for much of the opening frame. Freeman made five saves in the first half, including two diving stops on back-to-back possessions in the 18th and 19th minutes.
Coming out of halftime, Oregon pressed for a goal and it paid off when Romero raced Utah goalkeeper Kasey Wardle for a loose ball near the end line. Wardle dove for the ball as Romero kicked it and the ball trickled away from Wardle. That allowed Romero the opportunity she needed to cross the ball to Kess Elmore in front of the goal. Elmore redirected the pass at the goal line and the ball deflected off a Utah defender for the score.
From there, the Duck defense didn't allow Utah many scoring opportunities the rest of the game. Freeman had to make just one more save – on a slow roller from the top of the box in the 88th minute – the rest of the night.
What It Means: Oregon remains undefeated on the road this season at 2-0-2.
Head Coach Graeme Abel, looking ahead to Colorado:
"We have to recover, take the lessons from tonight and prepare for a different opponent here."
Zoe Hasenauer started her 83rd career match on Thursday. She's poised to tie former teammate Chardonnay Curran (2017-21) with her school-record 84th start Sunday at Colorado, and then could break the record Oct. 14 at Washington State. … Freeman also moved up the UO career saves list Thursday, passing Halla Hinriksdóttir (208, 2014-18) for fifth with 210. … Caitlin Shaw made her season debut against Utah. … Thursday marked the first time this season that Oregon's seven returning starters from 2021 – Freeman, Elmore, Hasenauer, Shaw, Chai Cortez, Anna Phillips and Croix Soto – were on the field together.
Up Next: At Colorado, Sunday, 12:00 p.m. Pacific (Pac-12 Live Stream).
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