SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Two days removed from securing themselves a spot in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament, the Oregon women’s lacrosse team had a sense of relief coming into Sunday’s match against San Diego State. And with that sense of relief, the Duck Women looked sharper than ever on the field in their, 13-6, victory over the Aztecs on a beautiful sunny Easter Sunday afternoon at the Aztec Lacrosse Field.
The Oregon lacrosse program also earned its 100th win on Sunday, while head coach Jen Beck earned her 100th-career win in the process. Beck holds a career-record of 100-78 at UO with two games remaining in the regular season.
“I don’t think it’s any different than any other win,” said Beck regarding her 100th-career win. “It’s another conference win, but to go 2-0 on the road is really nice. It’s been an honor to be the only coach here at Oregon and to have coached the women that have come through here. It’s a testament to their hard work and to all the coaches.”
The win over San Diego State also gave Oregon its 10th win of the season. It is the first time since 2012 that UO has recorded double-digit wins and the seventh time in the program’s 10 years that Oregon (10-5, 6-1 MPSF) has reached 10-plus wins.
Beck mentioned after the USC game that securing a spot in the MPSF tournament wasn’t enough and that the team had plenty more games to play. She also said it was her job to keep them focused on the task at hand and that she did on Sunday.
“I think we were on a focused mission today,” Beck said. “We recognized SDSU was our focus today. we executed very well in the second half and controlled the momentum shifts. We had a really smart team out there today.”
Oregon scored 12 of its 13 goals in three separate spurts of four goals and held San Diego State (6-9, 3-5 MPSF) to just three shots in the second half compared to the Ducks’ 13. The UO defense also forced the Aztecs to commit 10 turnovers.
“I think the biggest difference on our side [defense] was that we hustled on the field,” said senior goalkeeper Caroline Federighi. “We capitalized on our side of the field, especially in the second half. They didn’t get any great opportunities on the offensive end because our defense executed our game plan and forced them into wide and low-percentage shots, which made my job so much easier.”
Junior Devon Frazer was the other Duck to score multiple goals, finding the back of the net twice off the bench and tied her career-high with four points.
“In the first half, I just felt off and couldn’t find myself open,” said B. Pyne. “I found that I was most successful when I wasn’t trying, and I just made most of my opportunity.”
The Ducks looked dominant in the first half, shooting 6-of-7 from the field with all seven shots on goal to take a 6-4 lead into the break.
UO opened the match with a strong 4-0 run that lasted 13:43 minutes and was capped off by Frazer on a free-position shot. San Diego State, who was riding a seven-match losing streak, responded quickly after with a 3-0 run of its own capped off by Christina Ricciardulli’s goal at the 13:36 mark.
Shannon Propst ended SDSU’s run with her lone goal of the day, but the Aztecs’ goal-leader, Meris Walsh, put SDSU within 5-4. The Ducks however were able to take a two-goal lead into the break thanks to Frazer’s second goal with 50 seconds left on the clock.
Oregon had another solid second-half thanks to B. Pyne when she recorded a natural hat-trick (three goals in succession) to open the half and put UO ahead 9-4 with 12:43 left in the game.
SDSU’s Walsh however found the back of the net in back-to-back possessions in just 25 seconds and cut the lead to 9-6.
The Ducks finished out the game with a 4-0 run capped off by B. Pyne’s goal with just one second left on the clock.
We just transitioned better in the second half,” said Federighi. “We were able to move the ball up the field consistently and give our offense high-percentage shots.”
The Ducks, who find themselves winners in six of their last seven matches, are now vying for the No. 1 seed in the tournament as well as the regular season title.
“We just believe in ourselves now,” said Federighi. “Our confidence level has gone up, especially after the USC game. We can’t just think of just playing for the spot in the tournament anymore. We believe that we are capable of playing with the best in our conference. We’re definitely excited to play Denver and Colorado with first place…definitely excited.”
Oregon now heads home with two crucial games left in conference play with tournament seeding on the line. The Ducks are slated to take on Denver on Friday, April 25, at 5 p.m. (PDT) before honoring the seven seniors on the squad prior to Sunday’s game against Colorado on Sunday, April 27, at 1 p.m. (PDT).
“Our destination can’t be scripted,” Beck said. “We’ll have to focus on the present and take care of Denver first. We just have to remember to control what we can control; our actions, smart play, and executing our game plan.”