On a chilly day at Papé Field, the Ducks forced the game to be played in their attacking half and possessed the ball for long periods of time. Oregon took 19 shots – its most since a Sept. 12 match with No. 6 BYU – and earned seven corner kicks in the team’s best offensive performance of conference play.
The improved offensive effort finally paid off in the second half when Miner followed her own shot off the post with a rebound goal, snapping Oregon’s scoring drought. All three of her goals this season have been game-winners.
“It wasn’t a pretty shot, but her first shot was great,” said head coach Kat Mertz after securing her first Pac-12 victory with the Ducks. ”It hit off the post and she followed her own shot. We’ve been talking about that. It doesn’t have to be a pretty shot. Just be scrapping in front of the goal and be opportunistic.
Arizona nearly took a lead in the 3rd minute, but junior goalkeeper Abby Steele made a diving save to deny Sheaffer Skadsen. The Wildcats took three shots and three corner kicks in the game’s opening 10 minutes before the Ducks found their groove and won the battle of possession.
Sophomore Kristen Parr had a shot sail wide and a shot saved by Gabby Kaufman in the 17th minute in Oregon’s first looks on goal. Juniors Bri Pugh (27’) and Ryann Davie (35’) also had shots on goal in the first half, but Oregon went into the break tied with the Wildcats at 0-0 despite outshooting them 8-6.
Oregon has held its opponent scoreless in the first half in 11-of-13 fixtures.
The Ducks took the first five shots of the second half before breaking the stalemate in the 60th minute. Oregon took possession in Arizona’s half and defender Reilley Moore played a through ball to kick start the attack. The ball sailed just over sophomore Kristen Parr before finding Miner, who was in behind Arizona’s back line. She dribbled inside the box before unleashing a shot from 15 yards out that bounced off the right post. Miner followed the play and quickly slotted a first-touch shot inside the left post.
“It’s nice to get a goal again,” said Miner, a native of Junction City, Ore. “It feels great to win and I know the whole team is feeling good about this. In practice, we’ve been doing a lot of offensive drills – shooting, finishing crosses – and it definitely helped us put on the extra pressure and score.”
Miner leads the team in points (7) and goals (3) after the score while Moore earned her first assist of the season.
Oregon had multiple chances to take a two goal lead but the game turned into back-and-forth affair in the final 10 minutes with Arizona pushing numbers forward. Pugh found space on top of the box in the 82nd minute to unleash a shot, but the ball bounced off the cross bar.
The Wildcats were also denied by the cross bar three times. Jaden Degracie’s 84th minute shot deflected off Steele’s glove before hitting the bar and sailing out of play. Alexandra Doller had a shot in the 87th and 88th minute denied by the bar as well.
Parr led a breakaway with little over a minute remaining and nearly capped the game with another goal, but Gabby Kaufman got her fingertips to the ball and directed it wide for an Oregon corner. Arizona cleared the corner, but couldn’t take possession as Oregon killed the clock.
“We knew it was an opportunity for us to get our first Pac-12 win and our kids were really fighting for it and trying,” said Mertz. “The usual suspects weren’t playing all that great, but some other people stepped up for us.”
Oregon held an edge in shots (19-14), shots on goal (9-4) and corner kicks (7-6). Pugh led the Ducks with four shots, while Parr and Miner each finished with three.
Steele made four saves in her 14th career victory, improving to fourth in UO’s all-time goalkeeper wins chart. Steele led the Ducks to its fourth shutout of the season. She’s made 63 saves with a .840 save percentage and a 0.88 goals against average.
The Ducks return to the pitch Thursday, Oct. 12, traveling to Seattle for a meeting with Washington. First touch between the Ducks and Huskies (6-5-2, 2-0-1) is set for 7 p.m. The game will be televised live by the Pac-12 Networks.