Beavers fall to Ducks 2-0 in regular season finale
Published: Monday, November 5, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 03:11
EUGENE — Judging by the faces of members of the Oregon State women’s soccer team as they walked off Pape Field Friday night, they fully realized the ramifications of their 2-0 loss to the University of Oregon.
There were tears.
There were looks of disbelief.
There were visible signs of frustration.
Earlier in the week, head coach Linus Rhode bluntly stated that OSU probably needed a win Friday in its regular-season finale to advance to a fourth consecutive NCAA tournament.
Instead, an inspired Oregon team (8-10-2, 3-7-1 Pac-12) with nothing to lose defeated OSU for the first time since 2006.
“I know most likely our season was going to end in a loss,” said senior midfielder Megan Miller after the game. “It sucks to be now . . . I’m just praying I don’t have to go out like that.”
Miller, who appeared to be fighting back tears Friday, though she said she was more frustrated than sad, has likely said her prayers by now.
The Beavers (11-6-3, 3-5-3) will find out their postseason fate today, shortly after 1:30 p.m., when the field of 64 is revealed.
“It’s pretty slim,” Rhode deadpanned Friday. “There’s still a little bit of hope, we just have to wait and see . . . You never know.”
The Beavers are likely the seventh most attractive team in the Pac-12 resume-wise, considering they did not defeat any of the other six teams in consideration for a bid and have only one win over a team ranked in the Ratings Percentage Index top 50: the University of Portland.
The committee has taken anywhere from five to eight Pac-10/12 teams each of the last four years.
OSU won just two of its final 10 games, another red flag on its resume. Losing to the Ducks, who had scored just six goals in 10 conference games entering Friday, may have been the nail in the Beavers’ coffin considering Oregon is ranked 125th in RPI — by far the lowest-ranked team OSU has lost to this season.
“We probably put ourselves in the toughest spot we could have, so we’ll see how it goes,” Miller said.
Oregon struck first in the 42nd minute of Friday’s game when OSU goalkeeper Sammy Jo Prudhomme tried to clear a ball near the top of the box, but kicked it directly off of fast-approaching Oregon forward Achijah Berry. The ball ricocheted off Berry, over Prudhomme’s head and into the empty net.
Oregon struck again in the 63rd minute, this time on a counterattack after an OSU corner.
“The difference today was we made a couple of errors,” Rhode said. “We definitely had our opportunities, we just didn’t put them away.”
Down 2-0, the Beavers began pushing numbers forward in masses, but none of their chances really materialized into anything. OSU finished the game with 16 shots — two more than Oregon — but just four were on goal.
“They put two in the back of the net and we didn’t,” Miller said. “They finished their opportunities and we didn’t. I still think we came out to play, we just got on the wrong side of the ball again.”
“I feel like the mentality was there, but it just wasn’t connecting for us,” added junior co-captain Jacy Drobney.
Drobney admitted the Beavers lost a bit of their emotion after the first goal. As the game wore on, OSU’s frustration and desperation began to show. Oregon, meanwhile, starting all seven of its seniors for the first time all season, played the role of spoiler to perfection. The Ducks’ entire bench stood the majority of the game — and was vocal throughout — whereas OSU’s sat quietly.
“They had nothing to lose, it was their Senior Night, they came out and played hard and that’s how they got their goal,” Drobney said.
Entering Friday, no one on OSU’s roster had lost to Oregon.
Entering today, no one on OSU’s roster — save redshirt seniors Justyne Freud and Chelsea Buckland — has watched a selection show as a member of the Beavers and not heard their team’s name called.
“I still think we’re a strong team, and if we got into the tournament we’d make a difference,” Drobney said. “So we’ll see what happens.”
Grady Garrett, managing editor