On a windy night when it was pouring down rain everywhere (but on Pape’ Field, of course) a power outage delayed the start of tonight’s final Oregon Women’s soccer match for 30 minutes. Rivalry games will not be denied, however, and when the juice came back on, the Ducks and Oregon State battled for 90 minutes in a tough, physical, back-and-forth game that ultimately ended in a 2 - 2 draw.
This was only the third game of the season in which Oregon could muster more than one goal. The Ducks had scored 18 goals in 18 games prior to the tilt against the Beavers but had married the low-scoring output with tight defense and outstanding goalkeeping. The combination kept Oregon in most of their games, 7 of which were draws and 2 of which were one-goal losses. The Ducks also won 2 one-goal victories.
Oregon got off to a great start in this game. Oregon State has also had its share of injuries this season and came into the game at the bottom of the Conference. Oregon had many more opportunities to pass the ball around and move the ball up the field to threaten the OSU goal. This paid off for the Ducks as Zoe Hasenauer knocked in a cross from Lexi Romero at the left post in the 28th minute. Hasenauer is the Ducks all-time leader in both assists and in starts. Oregon continued to try to pressure the Beaver defense but continued to have “connection” problems - some passes were mis-hit and a few long passes intended for Ajanae Respass to run on to were simply hit too hard and ended up with the Beavers goalkeeper.
Oregon State got on the board and tied the game in the 40th minute with a header off a well-placed corner kick. The ball was headed to the right side of the goal, just beyond Freeman’s reach. There was quite a bit of Pac-12 Reffing in this game, most of which disfavored the Ducks. In the 45th minute, Romero was given a Yellow Card caution for what was basically a retaliation for being fouled and run off the ball seconds earlier as she was threatening the OSU goal. A correct call there would have given the Ducks a dangerous free kick from just outside the OSU 18-yard box. For the game, Oregon was whistled for 15 fouls and OSU 9. If a foul was called on any “50/50” ball - one where players from either team have a chance to win it in the air or on the ground - it was almost always on Oregon. The teams seemed to be using their physicality about equally.
One of the saves of the year for @LeahFreeman01 as she starts to her left and then darts back to her right at the last second for the save.— Oregon Ducks Soccer (@OregonSoccer) November 5, 2022
Second half about to get underway as we're tied 1-1.#GoDucks pic.twitter.com/RzNI0s3fJi
With the game all square at 1 - 1, the teams continued their back-and-forth battle. Both teams challenged for any ball they could conceivably reach. Oregon continued to struggle with making good entry passes in the offensive end, frequently trying to find Respass with a through ball that was either too far or on the side away from where she would have liked to receive it. A crazy sequence beginning late in the 72nd minute gave Oregon State its first lead. Hasenauer blasted a shot off the Oregon State cross bar, which caromed out and allowed the Beavers to begin a rush down the field. The Beavers roared down and scored on a nice chip shot from the left side into the right side of the Oregon goal.
Oregon showed its quality by coming back to earn the tie. After Kess Elmore had a goal called back for what replays showed was a razor-thin offside violation, the Ducks scored 45 seconds later on an Alice Barbieri shot from the right side of the penalty area and deflected off a Beaver defender and into the goal. Both teams pushed forward to try to net the game winner, but the horn sounded with the score still tied at 2 - 2.
For the game, Oregon State had 14 shots to Oregon’s 12, and 8 shots on goal to Oregon’s 6. These numbers and the amount of possession were more even than they have been in any Oregon game for quite a while.
It has been an injury-plagued and no doubt very frustrating season for Coach Graeme Abel and Oregon’s players. However, many players received hundreds of game minutes and experience they might not otherwise have, and this should help the 2023 returners improve on this season’s results.
Before the power went out, Oregon had a chance to honor 9 outstanding seniors. These players will most definitely be missed and ATQ wishes them all best.
The Pac-12 Women’s Soccer regular season ended tonight. Earlier in the day, USC defeated #1 UCLA 2 - 0, and Stanford moved past the Bruins with a tie against Cal to win the Pac-12 championship.
Oregon finished the season at 4-8-7 (W-L-T) overall and 2-6-3 in Conference.