EUGENE, Ore. - Junior attackman Grant Clifford continues to score at will, finding the net 13 times over the weekend. Clifford’s efforts gave Oregon (4-0, 2-0 PNCLL) a 17-7 win over Idaho (1-2, 0-1 PNCLL), and a 15-2 win over Washington State (0-7, 0-3 PNCLL).
Clifford had seven goals and one assist Friday evening as Oregon controlled the ball the entire first half against Idaho, leading 13-2 at halftime.
“Obviously I have to credit my teammates. I’ve just been finding those open spaces and my teammates are feeding me the ball,” Clifford said. “Most of my goals come from assists, so I have to give a lot of the credit to Michael Marcott and John Finegan.”
Sloppy play by the Ducks in the third quarter led to four Vandal goals, and Idaho outscored Oregon 5-4 in the second half.
Junior midfielder Chris Damewood remained consistent winning 19-of-23 faceoffs. Junior defender Erick Reister led the team with four ground balls, and Marcott added four goals and four assists.
Less than 24 hours later, Oregon was back on the field to face Washington State. The Ducks were able to put together four solid, consistent quarters of team play, coming away with a 15-2 win.
Again, Clifford led Oregon in scoring with six goals. Marcott and freshman attackman John Finegan each added two goals and two assists.
Marcott spoke after the game about his and Clifford’s on-field chemistry.
“Honestly, we’ve played together for so long that I always know where he is,” Marcott said. “He always knows that my eyes are on him, so credit to him: he gets himself open. I do the easy work by just getting him the ball. We’ve played with each other since we were in fifth grade -- grew up together -- so that’s what I credit it to.”
Head coach Jon Bongiorno talked about the importance of scheduling back-to-back games early in the season,
“It gives me a better idea of how the team can respond and recover,” Bongiorno said. “We had a rough third quarter last night – a bunch of stuff going on – and I wanted to see if we could put four quarters together, and they did. They put four solid quarters together.”
The Ducks now look forward to next weekend’s Colorado road trip, where they will take on No. 1 Colorado on Friday and No. 10 Colorado State on Sunday.
“We have a lot of work to do in practice" Clifford said. “We’re playing two of the top 10 teams in the nation, so we need to worry about little things that we failed to do the last two games. We have to work harder to clean those things up so we can go out and play a solid four quarters in both games next weekend.”
When asked what the Ducks need to do to prepare for their Colorado trip, Bongiorno added:
“A lot of scout. Both teams are good. It’s going to be their first home games of the year, and it’s at altitude, so conditioning is an issue. We’re going to go a day early and acclimate as much as you can in a day, but you really can’t acclimate that quickly. It’s really on us as a coaching staff to put a game plan together to prepare them.”
Oregon plays at Colorado on March 4 at 7 p.m. and at Colorado State on March 6 at 11 a.m.