BERKELEY, Calif. – The Oregon Ducks have a knack for excelling on the brightest of stages, whether it be on the field or on the courts, and the UO women’s lacrosse team did just that behind career-nights from seniors Nikki Puszcz and Shannon Propst in the 2014 premiere of lacrosse on the Pac-12 Networks.
The duo combined for seven goals as the Ducks routed California Thursday night, 16-7, avenging their loss to the Bears last season at Papé Field.
“I was most pleased with the overall effort from our team,” head coach Jen Beck said. “We had a great night from a couple of our seniors. Nikki, who had a stellar performance on offense and also Shannon’s record-breaking night, becoming the all-time point leader. All of that was great, but it was a great overall team effort on both ends of the field.”
Propst broke the all-time career-points record at the 17:40 mark when she found Puszcz cutting into the 8-meter zone, giving UO (6-4, 2-0 MPSF) the 4-1 lead. The Bel Air, Md., native finished the game dishing out four assists, pushing her all-time career-assist record to 98.
The senior is now just two points shy of becoming only the 10th player in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation history to reach 200-career points.
The record night didn’t stop there for Propst. Her goal with 5:41 left in the second-half, on a free-position shot, made her only the seventh player in school history reach 100 career goals, joining fellow senior Puszcz who reached that feat just four days earlier at No. 18 Ohio State.
Oregon broke the game open with a 5-0 run that lasted 12:55 and was capped off by Sami Kiser’s second goal of the night on a pass from none other than Propst.
The Bears’ leading scorer, Bella Huther, was able to sneak one by Federighi with 4:04 left in the half, but UO headed into the break leading, 9-3.
The Ducks opened the second half with three-straight goals – two of which came from Puszcz – to make it 12-3 in favor of Oregon.
Amelia Burke got the Cal (2-7, 1-3 MPSF) offense rolling when she found the back of the net with 17:15 left to make it 12-4.
With 10:20 left to play, Puszcz scored her career-high tying fifth goal on yet another pass from Propst before Huther’s goal made it 13-4.
The Golden Bears would score twice more after Huther’s goal, but it was too late at that point in the game as the Ducks poured in two more goals to seal the, 16-7, win and stay undefeated in conference play.
Caroline Federighi played all 60 minutes in the cage for Oregon, recording six saves, stopping three huge shots in the first half that kept the momentum in UO’s favor.
“I was most pleased about how everyone stepped up when they needed to, especially the defense,” Beck said. “The moments where our defense collapsed, Caroline stepped up when she needed to and made those crucial stops that helped us get the win.”
The Ducks continue MPSF-play in the Bay Area with a contest against St. Mary’s at noon on Sunday at St. Mary’s Stadium.