EUGENE, Ore. - The University of Oregon women's soccer team (8-7-2, 3-4-1 Pac-12) handed #18 Washington State (10-6-2, 4-3-1 Pac-12) a 1-0 loss on Sunday afternoon at Pape' Field, giving the Ducks their first victory over a ranked opponent since defeating then-#21 Denver, 4-1 on Sept. 18, 2009.
Neither team could get into any type of rhythm to open up the first few minutes of the match, but WSU's Beau Bremer got free of the suffocating Duck defense to get a soft shot off at 10:49 that freshman goalkeeper Abby Steele had no problem with getting her hands on.
Freshman Shanelle Simien sent Oregon's first shot of the match back three minutes later, but her shot sailed over the back of the goal, which turned into a frustrating trend for the Ducks during Sunday's match.
Oregon head coach Tara Erickson needed to give her team a shot in the arm after almost 18 minutes had elapsed and nothing had happened so she switched out Simien for sophomore Achijah Berry and it turned out to be the best switch of the match for UO.
Berry made an immediate impact for Oregon by picking up the pace of the match and becoming a field general for the young Ducks. Prior to the match, junior Mo Fitzgerald noted that the coaching staff wanted them to open up on both sides of the field and that is exactly what she did on their next possession after the substitution. Junior Maddy Mercier benefited from this as she was able to put her foot into a shot at 19:27, but it went over the net. Freshman Allie Rodriguez had a promising look, as well, but WSU goalkeeper Gurveen Clair changed directions to get ahold of Rodriguez's shot.
The Ducks won their only corner of the first half at the 24:23 mark and it proved to be key. Junior Scout Libke set up for the corner and booted the ball over to a waiting Fitzgerald, who fought to keep possession of the ball. Fitzgerald serviced the ball over to Berry, who nailed the ball with her left foot from about 15 yards out to give Oregon a 1-0 lead. The goal for Berry was the first of her career, while Fitzgerald was credited with her team-leading fourth assist of the season. With the goal, Berry become the eight different Duck to notch a goal this season.
UO did not back down as they looked to add to their advantage on a Mercier shot on the next trip down the field, but Mercier was not able to fool Clair as she picked up the save.
Freshman Bri Pugh's scoring frustrations continued as she had a breakaway down the field, but couldn't quite finish and her shot went wide with less than 15 minutes left in the first half.
The Cougars, who were held to two first-half shots by the stingy Duck defense, took their final shot of the half at the 39 minute mark, but Steele tallied the save.
Freshman Ally Aschbacher ended the half with a promising shot, but it went wide as both teams headed to their benches for the intermission.
While the shots were loped sided in the first half, the one thing that wasn't were the fouls and the physical play of the match picked up with the start of the second half.
Washington State picked up a foul to open play, but freshman Ryann Davie got tangled up with a WSU player and was given a yellow card at the 48:50 mark.
Following halftime-adjustments, the Cougars came back out and looked to shoot more and Shannon McFadden was not quite able to turn around to connect on her shot at 53:54, but Bremer had a better looking shot a couple minutes later, but neither would result in a goal for the Cougars.
WSU best look of the half came with 25 minutes to play after Rachael Doyle thought she had Steele beat in the box and sent it back, but it went off the crossbar to no avail for the Cougars.
Frustrated with a no call on some tough play after the shot, Brandi Vega was booked with a yellow card.
The Cougars pulled out Steele again, a tactic that they used most of the second half, allowing Jocelyn Jeffers to get a shot off, but Steele was able to get back into position and pick up the save at the 69:20 mark.
The teams traded fouls and after Davie got in danger of picking up her second yellow card of the match in a tussle with Jeffers, Jeffers was instead given a yellow card at 71:44.
Pugh finally thought she would connect on a shot at 78:33, but it went high over the net. Junior Nicole Bakke tried to squeeze in one more for Oregon, but her attempt was unsuccessful, as well.
WSU had one more chance to tie up the match on a shot by Mesa Owsley with seconds left in the match, but the one goal was all that UO needed to grab their third league win of the season.
Steele (3-7-2), who tallied her second shutout of the season, was credited with the victory on five saves, while Clair (10-6-2) picked up the loss.
UO edged WSU in the shot column, 11-9, but the Cougars held the Ducks to one corner kick, as they took seven.
The Ducks close down Pape' Field next weekend with matches against California on Friday (Oct. 28) at 7 p.m. and #1 Stanford on Sunday (Oct. 30) at 1 p.m. In conjunction with Alumni Weekend, Sunday has also been tabbed as Senior Day.