EUGENE, Ore. – Oregon and Utah both scored twice during the run of play, but the Utes capitalized on a pair of penalty kicks and the Ducks fell, 4-2, Sunday at Papé Field.
Oregon (0-9-2, 0-3-0) scored in the 40th and 83rd minutes, but penalty kicks by Utah (5-3-4, 1-1-1) in the 18th and 59th minutes proved to be the difference in the match.
“I thought we responded well again in the last 15 minutes in the first half when we started to gain some momentum there and started to play well,” said coach Graeme Abel. “It felt good going one way, but it’s just as difficult when you give away two penalties like that, so we’ve got to eradicate those mistakes because they’re the basic errors and those mistakes are costing us big time.”
How It Happened: Utah was awarded it first penalty kick on a foul at the edge of the box and Katie O’Kane converted it for a 1-0 lead.
Oregon responded late in the half on a goal by Kaitlyn Paculba that was set up by a header from Ryann Reynolds.
Reynolds got to a loose ball in the 40th minute and headed it toward the open space down the left wing. Paculba beat everyone to the ball and fired a shot past the Utes’ keeper from 15 yards out to tie the game at 1-1.
Utah was awarded a second penalty kick in the 59th minute and O’Kane scored again to give the Utes a 2-1 lead. Utah added a third goal in the 80th minute for a 3-1 advantage before the Ducks rallied.
Oregon’s second goal of the game was the product of a well-executed buildup. Caitlyn McCulloch stole the ball at midfield and the Ducks eventually worked the ball to Grace Mensah who dribbled the ball on a run up the middle of the field.
Mensah dropped a pass out to the left for Cameron Bourne, who turned toward the goal and fired a shot that was blocked. Bourne regained possession and tapped the ball back out to Mia McSweeney who was making an overlapping run. McSweeney blasted a cross to Lauren Kenny, who hit a one-timer just inside the right post.
“Lauren Kenny was excellent today,” said Abel. “So was Grace (Mensah), Cameron Bourne, Caitlyn McCulloch, these are all freshman and sophomores we are talking about. We’re so young in terms of the team that there is experience on the job for those guys. They’re getting better and better every game.”
The Utes added an insurance goal in the 85th minute by O’Kane, who had a hat trick on Sunday.
Notable: Kenny scored her first goal as a Duck, while Paculba’s goal was her first of the season and fourth career. … Freshmen accounted for all three assists on Sunday. Reynolds, McSweeney and Bourne all recorded the first assist of their careers. … Leah Parsons made 11 saves in her second start in net. That was tied for ninth on the UO single-game top 10 list. … Mensah led the Ducks with four shots … Defender Anna Phillips made her 47th consecutive start.
UO coach Graeme Abel
“In all honesty, did I expect to go this long without winning a game? No, but we knew we were going to be young, and we knew it was going to take time and when people come out to watch they’ll see the talent in the group.”
Abel on goalkeepers Maddy Goldberg and Leah Parsons
“I think it’s a genuine competition between two of them now, and we felt with Leah we wanted to give her the game at the end of the weekend. She’s incredibly vocal back there and gives a nice presence. We have got a genuine competition there.”
Up Next: Oregon heads to southern California next week for games at No. 19 USC Thursday and No. 5 UCLA Oct. 8.
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