Ducks Bounce St. Mary's in LaCrosse Tourney

EUGENE – University of Oregon sophomore Jana Bradley scored three of her team-high four goals in less than a 16-minute stretch in the opening half while sophomore Lindsay Killian added three goals and two assists to lead the Ducks to a 19-8 win over St. Mary's in the opening round of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament Friday afternoon at Pape' Field.

The conference-tournament hosts rebounded from a 2-1 deficit with 19:49 remaining in the first half when freshman Alison Leiner tied the score at 2-2 with her second of three goals at the 17:23 mark before sophomore Theresa Waldron's feed from Ilsa van den Berg less than two minutes later provided the Ducks with a lead they would never relinquish.

The win improved the tournament's No. 4 seed's record to 9-8 on the season and snapped Oregon's two-game losing skid to end the regular season, while St. Mary's dropped to 4-13 on the year.

"I think we just had to get out our jitters and refocus," Bradley said in reference to her team's 2-1 deficit. "I really wasn't concerned when we were down. We're a strong team and I knew being down one goal wasn't a threat.

"We did have confidence but you never know when a team can come out a completely different team and show you up so we just thought (the second half) was a 0-0 game the first half and the second half."

Oregon defeated St. Mary's earlier in the year, 22-8 in Eugene, and had never lost to the Gaels in four previous meetings spanning the last two seasons.

The Ducks' rebounded from their early deficit to score eight unanswered goals to gain a 9-2 advantage 23 minutes into the game before the Gaels' Molly Wagner temporarily stemmed the tide with a goal with 5:56 remaining before the intermission. But Oregon regained control with four more goals in the final 4 minutes to take a 13-3 halftime lead.

Following the opening 11 minutes of the game, the Ducks dominated the remainder of the opening half, outshooting the visitors 21-7 during the first 30 minutes while forcing 13 of St. Mary's 22 turnovers.

Oregon began the second half with three more goals to open its largest lead of the game, 16-3 with 22:17 remaining to play. St. Mary's scored a pair of goals in the final 4 minutes to cut the final margin to 11 points.

"I told (the team) in the locker room before hand that we needed to be resilient -- resilient to a lead we might have and resilient to one that we didn't have," head coach Jen Larsen said. "So I was really content with how they battled through that. I was not pleased in the first 15 minutes of play but they were able to turn that around.

"We didn't play well but we were getting the ball down on the offensive end. We weren't making smart decisions on the offensive end but we continued to put the fire on defensively."

Oregon will play the University of Denver at 2 p.m. Saturday in the tournament semifinals. The Pioneers, 14-4, earned an opening-round bye as the MPSF's top seed, and defeated Oregon earlier in the year, 14-13.

"This is a good confidence builder for us but we understand that the game tomorrow is going to be hard, we're going to try and rebound as quickly as we can. Denver certainly has an edge with a day off today. They're going to come out from the opening whistle and if we come out and start like we did tonight, that's going to put us in a lot more of a deficit than it did tonight."

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