Ducks Soccer Takes to the Field

After win in their exhibition match, the Ducks soccer team prepares for a challenging season

By UO student Lili Wagner

Head Coach Kat Mertz is ready to lead the Ducks in
her second season at Papé Field. (Photo courtesy
goducks.com)

After an exciting 3-0 win in a recent exhibition match against Trinity Western University, the University of Oregon women’s soccer team is ready to start the fall season. Last year, the Ducks finished their debut season under Head Coach Kat Mertz with a 4-12-3 overall record. This year, the team returns to Papé Field for its second season under Mertz with high aspirations.

“We’re hungry. We want to prove some people wrong. We want to go out and revenge some of the losses that we had last year,” Mertz said after the team’s recent exhibition match.

Mertz says the team’s greatest asset right now is its mentality. “The only thing that we’re looking at is one game at a time and really focusing on how we can improve and build off our strengths that we had, our bright spots in the spring,” she said.

Junior forward Kristin Parr added, “I think we have some pretty good upperclassmen that are going to keep the mentality positive and going in the right direction.”

In the upcoming season, the Ducks plan to build off of last year’s foundation. Offensively, the team seeks to continue its success from the spring season, during which the Ducks went 3-0-1 and outscored opponents 11-2.

“Really we just want to be aggressive in the attacking third,” said Mertz. “We didn’t score too many goals last fall and our goal is to figure out how we can put more numbers on the board.”

Mertz attributes the win against Trinity Western to patience on the attack and good movement off the ball, which she would like to see continue throughout the season.

“We were able to keep and maintain possession and not force it,” Mertz said. Senior midfielder Lilly Archer was responsible for two of the team’s goals, with freshman midfielder Miranda Schulz scoring the final goal of the match.

Despite their recent triumph, the Ducks can anticipate a challenging season. Five Pac-12 teams won votes in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)’s 2014 preseason poll. UCLA was ranked first and Stanford was tabbed at sixth.

Parr said of the year’s coming challenges, “We are at the bottom. We really have nothing to lose and so we just get to go for it. You can’t complain.”

The Ducks refuse to be shaken in their one-game-at-a-time mentality. Mertz said that most importantly the team has “a commitment to every day getting better. That’s the one thing we look at. With Trinity Western, how can we get better after this game?”

The Ducks begin their season August 22 in Wisconsin, where they are slated to play Wisconsin and University of Wisconsin—Milwaukie. An unprecedented 69 Pac-12 games will be covered and televised by Pac-12 Networks. More schedule information is available at goducks.com.