EUGENE, Ore. -- The University of Oregon women’s soccer team were on the wrong side of another 1-0 conference battle, falling to Arizona State (8-4-0, 3-1-0) Friday night at Papé Field. The Sun Devils, who snapped No. 5 Stanford’s 73 match unbeaten streak last week, defeated the Ducks 1-0 in a tightly contested match.
Oregon (2-7-3, 0-1-3) played a much improved second half with seven shots and held a majority of the game’s possession, but couldn’t find a response to Arizona State’s 71st minute goal from Sara Tosti.
“I told the girls after the game that (a win) is coming,” said head coach Kat Mertz. “We played well Sunday against Colorado and we’re continuing to play better. We just need a lucky break here and there, and we need to find a way to get the ball to bounce our way and cross that line. The effort is there.”
The Ducks put Arizona State on its heels immediately after the first touch, earning three consecutive corner kicks in the first 90 seconds of the contest. The Sun Devils cleared all three of junior Lilly Archer’s corners to escape unscathed from an early barrage.
Arizona State wrestled away control of the game from that point, taking an unanswered seven shots to close the half. Thankfully for the Ducks, junior goalkeeper Abby Steele and the reliable back line in front of her were up to the challenge, preserving the 0-0 stalemate through the first half.
Through 12 games this season, Oregon has conceded just two goals in the first half. The Ducks have a combined 0.333 goals against average in the first half this season.
Junior Bri Pugh, who leads the team in shots (38) and shots on goal (19), provided one of Oregon’s best looks in the 49th minute. She made a quick cut to the middle from the right flank, and fired a well-hit ball on goal. Arizona State’s Chandler Morris made the save.
After drawing a corner kick, the Sun Devils scored the game-winning goal on a set piece to take the 1-0 lead. Devin Marshall’s header off the corner misdirected the ball to the opposite side, where Sara Totsi was able to head the ball past Steele for her fourth goal of the season.
Yet again, defender Reilley Moore nearly scored an equalizer with a shot in the 78th minute. Her shot from outside the box went just high of the crossbar. Ryann Davie (80’) and Kristen Parr (83’) each got shots off for the Ducks, but neither were able to get past a cluster of bodies inside the 18-yard box.
Despite a better showing in the second half and a never-quit attitude, Oregon was unable to pull even before the clock hit zeros.
Pugh led the Ducks with two shots and a shot on goal, while Moore chipped in with two shots. Kira Wagoner, Parr and Davie each added a single shot.
Steele made three saves in the contest and provided one of the game’s highlights with a daring move in the 87th minute. Oregon lost possession with numbers forward and Arizona State countered quickly, but Steele made a huge run out of the box to knock away a pass nearly 40 yards in front of her goal.
Steele has 59 saves and a 0.95 GAA this season.
Oregon returns to action Sunday, hosting Arizona (6-4-3, 1-3-0) at Papé Field. First touch is set for noon. The Wildcats defeated Oregon State 2-0 tonight in its first Pac-12 win.