EUGENE, Ore. -- Fresh off one of the best victories in program history, the University of Oregon women’s soccer is riding momentum into a pair of fixtures this week in Los Angeles. The Ducks (4-9-3, 2-5-1) battle USC on Friday and second-ranked UCLA on Monday.
The match with the Trojans (6-9-2, 1-6-1) starts at 3 p.m. at McAlister Field and will be streamed online. Oregon’s tilt with UCLA (14-1-2, 6-0-2) - who is looking to clinch the Pac-12 title with two wins this weekend - starts at 1 p.m. at Drake Stadium. The contest will be televised live by Pac-12 Networks.
Closing the season with a three match road trip, the Ducks are feeling confident after shocking the Pac-12 in its home finale Monday. Oregon knocked off No. 12 California, 1-0, Monday at Papé Field in its best performance of the season.
The match boiled down to a pair of critical moments early in the second half. First, goalkeeper Abby Steele made a diving penalty kick save in the 50th minute to keep the match tied 0-0. Sophomore Maryn Beutler shocked the Golden Bears with a left-footed shot from distance only five minutes later, scoring the game-winner.
The victory provided head coach Kat Mertz’s first win over a ranked opponent at Oregon. No. 12 California is the second-highest ranked opponent Oregon has ever defeated. The Ducks defeated No. 3 UCLA in overtime in 2006. It marked Oregon’s first top 25 win since defeating No. 18 Washington State 2-1 in overtime on Oct. 13, 2011.
The result reflected Oregon’s rapid improvements as of late, particularly on the offensive side. After a streak of being held without a point in four straight matches, Oregon has tallied 13 points in four matches since then courtesy of four goals and five assists. Sophomore Kristen Parr became the first Duck to score in consecutive games this season, bagging her first and second goals of the season against Washington and No. 8 Stanford, respectively.
The Ducks are led in scoring by freshman ShayLee Miner – who earned her first and second career starts in the past two matches – with seven points from three goals and an assist. Bri Pugh has chipped in with six points while Ryann Davie has added five.
While the Duck offense has found its footing as of late, the defense has continued to play phenomenal. California was shutout for just the fourth time this season by Oregon as they entered the match averaging nearly two goals per contest. The Ducks have five shutouts this season and have allowed just 16 goals through 16 matches with a goals against average under 1.00.
Oregon’s backline of Achijah Berry, Gabbie Lindeman, Reilley Moore and Riley Smith have led the way along with netminder Abby Steele.
While the Ducks are playing some of their best soccer of the season as of late, they will be looking for a team first this in Los Angeles – grabbing the first road win of the season. All four of Oregon’s wins this season (Portland State, Texas, Arizona, and California) came at Papé Field.
The Ducks have just one match remaining following its LA trip - the Civil War on Thursday, Nov. 7. Oregon travels to Corvallis, Ore., for a 1 p.m. (PT) meeting with Oregon State at Paul Lorenz Field. The match will be televised live by the Pac-12 Networks.