EUGENE, Ore. -- Head coach Kat Mertz didn’t need to reach into a bag of motivational tricks for her team this week. With an all-important season finale coming against rivals Oregon State, the UO women’s soccer team doesn’t need any help getting up for this one.
The 2013 installment of the Civil War takes place Thursday at 1 p.m. (PT) from Paul Lorenz Field in Corvallis. The contest between the Ducks (4-11-3, 2-7-1) and Beavers (5-12-2, 3-6-1) will be televised live by the Pac-12 Networks.
Oregon looks to close the season with momentum from a positive result and gain in-state bragging rights for a second straight season in the process.
“It’s going to be a great game tomorrow,” said head coach Mat Mertz. “This is a great rivalry in all our sports. There’s not much I need to present to the girls to give them motivation. They’re excited to play and they want to end the season on a good note.”
The series between the two rivals has been a tightly contested in soccer. Meeting 17 times in program history, the Ducks hold a narrow 7-6-4 lead in the series history. Oregon won last year’s season-ending Civil War battle 2-0 at home behind goals from Bri Pugh and Achijah Berry. In 2011, the Ducks battled to a 1-1 double-overtime draw against the No. 21 Beavers.
While a rivalry game typically brings about added emotion, the Ducks have approached Thursday like any other game and have been focused on the process. Oregon trained for a final time in Eugene today on the outdoor grass field to replicate Lorenz Field’s playing surface.
“We want to approach every game the same way,” said Mertz. “You have 90 minutes to work hard and leave it all on the table. The only difference is that this time, our girls will have a few days off afterward.”
Rivalry aside, the match promises to be an interesting battle tactically with both teams playing similar styles. Watching the Beavers on film, Mertz even noted how similar the two sides are.
Both teams have the same number of goals (14) and assists (12), while the Ducks have taken more shots and shots on target while conceding eight fewer goals.
“Oregon State is very similar to us,” said Mertz. “They’re organized defensively, they work hard and they’ve got a bite to them – they’re scrappy. Tactically, we need to focus on what we can do to win the game. They’ve had some ups and downs like we have and I know both teams are putting that aside for 90 minutes Thursday.”
Thursday will mark the final games of impressive careers for seniors Achijah Berry and Gabbie Lindeman. Both have started in over 40 matches the past four seasons, and have been vital to Oregon’s defensive successes in 2013.
Fans can watch the game live on Pac-12 Networks, follow live results online by clicking the live link on the soccer schedule page, or follow @OregonSoccer on twitter for live updates.