Soccer Holds Off Utah State for 2-1 Win

LOGAN, Utah – Danielle Sweeney used her feet and her head to help Oregon find offense in unexpected places and hang on to defeat Utah State 2-1 Friday afternoon at Bell Field.

We came out and attacked from the first whistle," said Oregon coach Tara Erickson. "We showed up ready to play."

Defender Darcie Gardner got Oregon on the board in the 55th minute when she scored off a corner kick from Sweeney. It was the first career goal for the junior from Bellingham, Wash., who also attempted a career-best three shots.

"Darcie did a really good job of getting forward and getting involved with the attack all game long," said Erickson.

A smart play by Sweeney following her own missed penalty kick attempt led to freshman midfielder Kirstie Kuhns scoring the eventual game-winning goal in the 63rd minute.

Forward Dani Oster broke free behind the Utah State defense and was tackled in the penalty box, giving Oregon a penalty kick. Sweeney attempted the kick, which was stopped by Aggies' goalkeeper Ali Griffin. The ball deflected toward Sweeney, but because it is illegal for the player who kicked the ball to be the first to touch it after a missed attempt, Sweeney hurdled the ball and cleared out of the way, allowing Kuhns (Pleasanton, Calif.) to send a strike into the open Utah State net.

"That was a really intelligent play by Sweeney," said Erickson. "Your natural reaction in that situation is to shoot the ball, but Sweeney knew the rule and knew (Kuhns) was right behind her and Kirstie stayed composed put it in the open side of the net."

Sweeney, a sophomore midfielder from Pleasanton, Calif., was credited with an assist on both Oregon scores, giving her a team-best three on the season and six for her career. Sweeney also attempted a career-high seven shots as the Ducks outshot the Aggies 18-10.

Oregon (4-1-0) got back on the winning track after losing to Montana 1-0 at home on Sunday.

"We needed to get a win to get our confidence back after the Montana game," said Erickson. "It wasn't the prettiest of games and we had to be patient to score goals, but I'm very pleased with the effort we put forth today."

After defensive leader Dylann Tharp left the game with a mild ankle injury in the 65th minute, Utah State closed to 2-1 when Abby Hunt successfully converted a penalty kick in the 76th minute.

But the Oregon defense held from there as the Aggies (2-4-0) dropped the first-ever meeting between the two schools. Jessie Chatfield made three saves for the Ducks to earn the win.

Tharp, a senior from San Pedro, Calif., who has played in all 63 games during her Oregon career and has started 62 straight, is expected to be available for the Ducks' next match Sunday at Utah.

GAME NOTES: Chatfield continues to reel in Oregon's career wins leader Amanda Fox, who had 23 from 1996-99. The victory over Utah State was the 21st career for Chatfield, a junior from Eugene, Ore...Oregon has scored 10 of its 11 goals in the second half this season...it took Oregon 10 games to score 11 goals in 2006; the Ducks have reached that total in just five games this season...Sweeney's six assists are tied for ninth on the UO career list with Carrie McLanahan (1996-99) and teammate Allison Newton...it was the first multi-assist game of Sweeney's career...SO F Melissa Buich saw her first action of the 2007 season.

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