EUGENE, Ore. -- Sophomore midfielder Mo Fitzgerald scored a pair of goals in leading the University of Oregon soccer team to a 4-0 home win over Arizona on Friday at Pape’ Field in Eugene. The win was the Ducks’ second straight, improving to 6-8-3 overall and 2-3-1 in Pac-10 Conference play. The Wildcats dropped to 5-10-2 overall and 1-5 in league action.
Senior forward Jen Stoltenberg, who assisted on Fitzgerald’s second goal, took over as UO’s all-time points leader (84) surpassing the school record held by former great Nicole Garbin. The assist was Stoltenberg’s 18th of her career, adding to her school mark in that category. She has also added to her single-season points mark (29), breaking her own mark of 26 in last week’s road matches.
“Made a statement with the win, it was awesome to see us come out with that energy,” head coach Tara Erickson said. “We’re just finally getting on the positive side of things, which have been building all year. We’ve been a consistent team and it was great to see us put an exclamation point on that tonight.”
The Ducks held a commanding lead in shots taken (16-6) and shots on goal (7-1), and a 4-3 advantage in corner kick opportunities. Both teams were whistled for nine fouls.
UO registered its third shutout of the season, with junior goalkeepers Lindsay Parlee and Cody Miles splitting time for the win. Three Ducks played the full 90 minutes – senior Bree Rowe and sophomores Scout Libke and Lauren Thompson.
“The unsung hero of the match was Bree Rowe, who did really good job of organizing and communicating,” Erickson said of her senior defender. “She was a fantastic defensive presence which showed on the clean sheet.”
Oregon jumped out to the early 1-0 lead just 2:08 in to the game when senior forward Rianna Mansfield scored her first goal of the season. Mansfield, a senior from Eugene, pressured UA goalkeeper Ashley Jett into spilling a loose ball, then dribbled into the 6-yard box and scored into an empty net.
“I think when Rianna scored that early goal, it was indicative of the energy we opened with,” Erickson said. “And it the energy was equal across the board from so many players. That was reflected in the goals, as almost all of them were combination play created by two or three players.”
Fitzgerald, from Beaverton, Ore., tallied goals in the 14th and 49th minutes, her first scores of the season.
The Ducks took the 2-0 advantage when senior midfielder Mercedes Walters took a break-away nearly the length of the field, before playing a crossing pass right-to-left to Fitzgerald who finished with a one-timer.
UO had a 2-0 lead at the half, having out-shot the Wildcats, 7-2, while also up 2-1 in corners.
Oregon’s third goal, which was Fitzgerald’s second of the game, was virtually the same sequence as her first score. This time it was freshman forward Brynne Konkel finding Stoltenberg, who dribbled down the right side and crossed it into Fitzgerald waiting at the back post.
“She’s a great possession player for us, because of her technical abilities and her positioning,” Erickson said of Fitzgerald. “Tonight we saw her add another element to her game, an urgency to get into the box and finish goals.”
Sophomore midfielder Maddy Mercier scored her first career goal, establishing a four-goal lead for the Ducks in the 71st minute. Walters crossed a pass into the 6-yard box to Mercier for her second assist of the game.
“Mercedes obviously played well, putting her stamp on the game,” Erickson said. “And we also received some solid contribution from players off the bench, some quality minutes for those reserves.”
UO had 10 players record shots on the night, with Mansfield and Fitzgerald registering a team-high three apiece. Fitzgerald, who played 68 minutes, scored on both of her shots on goal. Mercier, who played 44 minutes coming off bench, had two shots with the one shot on target.
Oregon (6-8-3, 2-3-1 Pac-10) will face Arizona State on Sunday at 12 p.m. (PT) at Pape’ Field. That contest marks Senior Day for the Ducks.
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