EUGENE, Ore. – Junior attackman Grant Clifford scored five goals and freshman attackman John Finegan added three more as the No. 24 Oregon Ducks (2-0) beat Chico State (0-4), 17-4, on Saturday afternoon.
Oregon won the first faceoff and quickly scored 90 seconds into the first quarter when senior midfielder Liam Delumpa found junior attackman Michael Marcott for the goal. Chico answered, evening the score with 12 minutes left in the first half. The Ducks scored three more times in the first, including a defensive goal by junior defender Erick Reister. After another goal from each team, the Ducks led 5-2 at the end of the first quarter.
Marcott, who finished with five assists, found Clifford twice for goals in the second quarter. Sophomore defender Matt Peter scored the Ducks second defensive goal of the day, and Oregon led 9-3 at the half.
Though coach Jon Bongiorno was happy with the team’s play, he knows they are better than their first half performance.
“The first half we might have been -- I don’t want to say over-confident -- but maybe we weren’t quite as focused as we needed to be,” Bongiorno said. “Maybe because it was our second game, but the second half we started to gel a little bit and focus a little bit more. Overall, I’m pleased.”
Clifford found the net three more times in the second half and led the Ducks in scoring (nine points) for the second straight game. He was a finalist last week for the MCLA Division I Commanding Performance of the Week powered by Under Armour.
The stifling Ducks defense was led by junior defenders Erick Reister and Hayden Haugen, who kept Chico’s offense at bay. Freshman goalie Sam Snider had another strong showing in goal, posting eight saves and allowing only one goal in the second half.
“I think our communication was way better,” Reister said. “Last week, we didn’t have our two and three slides on the backside, but this week we were just communicating a lot more. That helped out; that’s pretty much how you win games defensively.”
“Teamwork. A lot of teamwork,” added Haugen. “A lot of backside, and we just helped each other out.”
Junior midfielder Chris Damewood won 13-of-17 faceoffs, which allowed Oregon’s offense to move quickly down the field. Damewood also led the team with seven ground balls.
“It’s really just a lot of practice,” Damewood said. “I go against Zed (freshman midfielder Ezra Ende) and (junior midfielder) Nick Cantoni, and those guys are the hardest guys I faceoff against. I always lose against them. They always make me better, so when we come out here onto the field, there’s a good chance that the guys aren’t as good as the guys I go against in practice, and it shows on the field."
“As coaches we felt we had a good game plan,” said Oregon defensive coordinator Markus McCaine. “We got some good film on Chico, and we were pretty comfortable with what they were going to do. We repped that all week in practice and it really showed, especially when it came down to six-on-six. Our guys were prepared; they knew where to be. They picked off a lot of passes, which led to some easy goals the other way. That’s just preparation with the guys; it was huge this week.
The Ducks host Idaho on Feb. 26 at 7 p.m.