EUGENE, Ore. – The University of Oregon women’s soccer team defeated Texas 2-1 Sunday afternoon in the final game of the Oregon Nike Tournament at Papé Field. Head coach Kat Mertz and the Ducks used a pair of first half goals to win the first meeting between the two sides and improve to 2-2-0 on the season despite Texas being awarded a late penalty.
Junior Bri Pugh (10’) and freshman ShayLee Miner (34’) each scored in a game where Oregon looked threatening on the counter attack and in possession. The Ducks finished with a 1-1-0 record at the Oregon Nike Tournament after facing quality Big 10 and Big 12 opponents.
“We talk about the importance of winning games on Sunday, and for us to do that against a quality Big 12 opponent is great to see,” said Mertz. “We reacted well and came back strong after Friday night’s game. I’m proud of the girls and how they performed today.”
For the third time this season, the Ducks bagged the game’s opening goal and led after the first half. Pugh, a junior forward, scored her first goal of the season in the 10th minute. Junior midfielder Ryan Davie’s pass gave Pugh space down the right flank, and Pugh quickly got past the Longhorn back line. Pugh dribbled to the six-yard box before unleashing a shot, sending the ball past goalkeeper Abby Smith.
Oregon’s second goal came on a beautiful run of play in the 34th minute. Junior Kiyomi Cook broke pressure with an accurate through ball past Texas’ back line. Miner ran onto the ball, flashing great speed before taking a shot from a near impossible angle on the left flank. Miner’s shot deflected off the goalkeeper and into the net, providing Miner with her second goal of the season.
A highly entertaining second half saw Longhorn shots hit the post and the cross bar, but Texas couldn’t find the back of the net until being awarded a penalty kick in the 85th minute after a foul inside the box. Texas’ Brooke Gilbert sent her penalty kick to the right corner of the net, pulling her team within a goal of the lead.
It was far too late for Texas, however, as the Ducks deservingly closed out the game with a 2-1 advantage.
Junior goalkeeper Abby Steele had a tremendous performance between the posts, saving six shots on goal from the Longhorns. Steele has 17 saves on the season and a 1.24 goals against average.
Oregon finished with nine shots and five shots on goal – numbers that likely didn’t reflect the number of scoring opportunities they created. Pugh led the Ducks on offense with three shots and a goal, while six other Ducks each registered one shot. Texas held a 14-9 edge in shots and an 8-4 advantage in corner kicks.
The Ducks will look for another positive result in their next contest, a home fixture against Hawai’i. Oregon hosts the Rainbow Warriors on Sept. 6 at 4:00 p.m. (PT) at Papé Field.
“We have Hawai’i coming up Friday, and they’re a good side,” said Mertz. “It’s important that we build and learn from this, look at our film and move on to the next step.”