March 11, 2013 by Charlie Eisenhood in News, Recap with 2 comments
STANFORD, CA — After a loss to #2 British Columbia on Saturday at the President’s Day Invite, #1 Oregon had something to prove. They would meet the Vancouver squad again in the finals, and they showed who was the best in the Northwest with a 15-10 win as they looked ahead to the Stanford Invite.
This weekend, Oregon would have no let down, as they rolled through a strong field of women’s teams.
After dispatching British Columbia 15-11 in the semifinals (a game in which they only allowed one break), Fugue would defeat a strong #20 Wisconsin team 17-15 in an exciting, back and forth game.
For Oregon, this was a chance to get a look at another top North Central team before preparing for Regionals. For Wisconsin, this was a chance to show the world what they’re made of after lackluster showings at QCTU and Midwest Throwdown.
The game started off a little sloppy, as both teams had turnovers on the first point. But Oregon would strike first as Alex Ode hit Kimber Coles for the break. Coles would finish as the fantasy star of the game, with six goals and one assist.
The teams would trade points until 5-5, when Wisconsin would get their break back, then adding another with good pressure defense and a big huck off the turnover to make it 7-5.
Sara Scott played great for Bella Donna, playing high-pressure defense and controlling the tempo after the turnover as the key handler on the defensive line.
After going down two, Oregon called a timeout to regroup. It worked. They rattled off three straight, with Jesse Shofner connecting with Adrienne Bovee for the first break, and Coles scoring to take Fugue into half up a break, 8-7.
Wisconsin would come into the second half fired up, and they grabbed a quick break to tie the game at 8s. Oregon responded by increasing the aggression after turnovers, trying to drive the fast break. The teams traded to 10-10 before Scott orchestrated a nice D line offensive series to put Bella Donna up one.
Again, Oregon responded in kind with two scores of their own to regain the 12-11 lead.
But Wisconsin wasn’t fazed. They would take their biggest lead of the game with two more breaks, making the score 14-12 and putting themselves on the doorstep for an incredible Stanford Invite performance. But Oregon knows how to win games and did not back down. After scoring their offensive point, Fugue’s biggest playmakers stepped up and tied the game at 14s as Sophie Darch hit Coles for the break.
They would tack on another break to take the late lead. After the teams traded points, Wisconsin would need to score to send the game to universe point. But a midfield drop would give Oregon an easy fast break, and Jesse Shofner found Ashley Young alone in the endzone to take the 17-15 win and the Stanford Invite title.
“You have to find a way to be challenged emotionally to be great,” said Oregon coach Lou Burruss after the game, noting that up-and-down games like this are important for later in the season, adding later, “At times this weekend, we played very complacently.”
Indeed, the very best teams face adversity at some point in their season and have to struggle to get past it and back into the winner’s circle. Perhaps Wisconsin already had that moment at the cold, drizzly Midwest Throwdown last weekend where they went just 4-3.
“The biggest change is mental toughness,” said Wisconsin coach Alex Snyder, the San Francisco Fury standout. She said later, “We knew what we could do, but we needed to prove it to ourselves.”
With victory over Oregon so close, they certainly have something to work towards as the Series approaches. They play at Women’s Centex in two weeks as their final regular season tournament.
As for Oregon, they, like most Northwest teams, will begin preparing for their very tough Conferences and Regionals, where nothing can be taken for granted.
This season, every tournament that has hosted a Northwest team has been won by a Northwest team.