Oregon’s Women’s Lacrosse team made major strides in its game today against USC. The Ducks had been completely outplayed during a March matchup with the Trojans in Los Angeles, ultimately losing that game 21 - 5.
The April rematch played today was a completely different experience. Both Oregon’s offense and defense performed at a higher level, going toe-to-toe and tying the game at halftime before ultimately falling 16 - 9.
USC got off to a strong start again in today’s game. In March, the Trojans had run out to a 10 - 0 lead early, and today was initially no different as USC led 4 - 0 at 7:38 of the first quarter. The Trojans were without their injured leading scorer Kelsey Huff, but Isabelle Vitale and Ella Heaney stepped up for USC. The Ducks were unfazed, however, and Midfielder Katie Collins scored just a minute later to cut Oregon’s deficit to 4 - 1. After USC scored again with 5:24 left in the first quarter, Hanna Hilcoff - Oregon’s leading scorer this season - got on the board to make it 5 - 2. The Ducks had some tremendous defensive plays late in the quarter, stopping one USC possession with a steal, one on a shot-clock violation and forcing a miss on a “free-position” penalty shot. The quarter ended with USC leading 5 - 2.
In the second quarter, Oregon showed they could play with the Trojans. Oregon scored on a free-position penalty to cut the lead to 5 - 3 early in the quarter. After Heaney scored again for USC, Hilcoff tallied again inside off a beautiful lob pass as the shot clock expired to bring Oregon within 2 again. When Attacker Lillian Stump scored with 5:47 left in the half, Oregon had matched its March total for goals against the Trojans and trailed only 6 - 5. The Ducks had a chance to tie the game at 4:58 on a great fast break, but the final shot went high. USC took advantage and scored on its own break at 4:18 to lead 7 - 5. The Ducks weren’t finished for the half, however, as Midfielder Morgan McCarthy scored on a bang-bang play right at the goal on a great quick pass as she cut across the field. A scramble in front of the USC net let to a heads-up goal for Oregon by Midfielder Haley Cummins, and the Ducks had forged a tie at 7 - 7 with 2:01 left in the half. USC had three free-position possessions on Oregon penalties in the last minute of the half, but the Ducks defense held strong and the half expired. Oregon won the 2nd quarter over the Trojans 5 - 2.
The balance tilted toward the Trojans in the 3rd quarter. USC scored the first four goals of the quarter, and Oregon turned the ball over, or missed scoring opportunities. Trailing 11 - 7, Oregon finally got on the board again with just 3:16 left in the quarter as Hilcoff netted her third goal of the game. On the play Hilcoff intercepted a lazy Trojan pass near midfield and sprinted down the field to rip the ball past the USC goalkeeper. USC scored once more to close out the quarter and led 12 - 8 going into the final period.
The 4th period was more of the same, unfortunately for Oregon. The Trojans won the majority of draw controls and turned them into goals. Ultimately, Attacker Shonly Wallace scored Oregon’s only goal of the quarter, as USC added 4 more goals to win 16 - 9.
For the game, USC outshot Oregon 28-21 and the Ducks has 3 more turnovers than the Trojans. Oregon did win the “free position shots” statistic 7 - 4 but was unable to score on most of their penalty chances. Hanna Hilcoff led the Ducks with 3 goals and Shonly Wallace added 2.
The Ducks honored 6 senior players before today’s game - Abby Buczek, Sydney Lawrence, Brooke Rooney, Lily Shalz, Lillian Stump and Shonly Wallace. Oregon finishes the regular season at 3 - 12 overall and 1 - 8 in the Conference. The Ducks will next be in action in the Pac-12 Championship Tournament to be held May 4, 5 and 7 in Tempe, Arizona. All games will be televised on Pac-12 Networks.