EUGENE, Ore. - No. 19 Oregon (5-1) split two games in Colorado this past weekend, losing Friday night to No. 3 Colorado (3-1), 12-8 before bouncing back to beat No. 10 Colorado State (2-2), 9-8 in double overtime on Sunday.
Colorado jumped out to a 3-1 lead after the first quarter Friday night in Boulder and continued to score in bunches, leading 8-1 with four minutes left in the first half. Oregon rattled off three quick goals before the buzzer sounded, bringing the score at halftime to 8-4.
The second half was a back-and-forth affair, with each team trading goals, and Oregon never getting closer than three goals. The Buffalos won the game, 12-8.
Freshman goalie Sam Snider continued his excellent play, racking up 14 saves. Oregon was led in scoring once again by junior attackman Grant Clifford, who had four goals and one assist.
After an off-day on Saturday, the Ducks traveled to Loveland, Colo., to face Colorado State. The Rams started the scoring, leading 1-0 after the first minute. The Ducks answered with a goal from freshman attackman John Finegan, evening the score 1-1 with 13:40 left in the first quarter.
Oregon allowed five more goals in the first half, while Colorado State allowed three, giving CSU a 6-4 advantage at halftime.
Clifford opened the second half with a goal, bringing Oregon within one. CSU answered as the teams traded goals throughout the third quarter, and into the fourth.
Clifford tied the score at eight with four minutes left in the game, and that is how regulation ended, sending the game into a four minute, sudden-death overtime.
A key save by sophomore defender Matt Peter kept the score knotted at the end of the first overtime period.
In the second overtime period, the Ducks closed the door on CSU. With less than two minutes remaining, junior defender Erick Reister broke away from Colorado State’s defense and passed the ball to Clifford. Clifford then got the ball to junior attackman Michael Marcott, who gave Oregon the win.
Oregon never lead until the final goal, but kept the Rams within striking distance throughout. Solid defense from Oregon, again led by Snider with 16 saves, was the key.
“It was a good team win,” Snider said. “We started off a little bit slow, but as the game progressed, we picked it up on offense and defense. Once we settled in on defense, we just left it up to our offense to pick it up and finish the game for us.”
After the game, Oregon coach Jon Bongiorno awarded the game ball to the entire Oregon defense.
“This is our first road trip – our first real test – and you never know what you’re going to get,” said Bongiorno. “We got tested really well on Friday night – got punched in the face pretty hard – and responded really well, so we didn’t really know what we were going to get when we stepped out here today against the tenth-ranked team.
“These guys gutted it out. I couldn’t be prouder. Our defense – holy cow – I mean we played defense most of the game, and that’s credit to CSU. That’s been CSU for as long as I’ve been around lacrosse, and it works. It wins games. This is a big step in the right direction for our program.”
Next up for the Ducks is Nevada-Reno at 3 p.m. on March 19 in Eugene.
(Photo by Sarah Miller)