The dangerous offense of the Washington women’s soccer team ripped up opposing defenses early in the season with fluid passing and a killer instinct in the final third. For the first seven games of the year, things were great for the UW attack.
But since, the aggressive offensive unit that scored 16 goals in those seven games had been missing in action.
On Thursday night, the Huskies found it again.
Against Oregon (7-9-2, 2-6-1 Pac-12), the Huskies (10-6-2, 3-5-1) rebooted their offense in a 2-0 win over their Pac-12 rivals. The victory halted the UW’s three-game losing streak, in which the Huskies were held to just one goal.
“[There were] great efforts in front of the goal to be dynamic and goal-hungry,” UW head coach Lesle Gallimore said. “I thought they looked more dangerous tonight. There was that belief and that buy-in, and it goes back to the grit.”
Through the team’s recent struggles, Gallimore continued to emphasize the need for confidence in her team’s attack. It paid off yesterday at the most opportune time. With only two more games left in the regular season — Sunday’s match against Oregon State at 1 p.m. on Senior Day and the season finale Nov. 2 at Washington State — the UW couldn’t afford another hit to its postseason chances.
“We all knew that this was a tipping point for us,” Gallimore said. “We needed to get the 10th win. We couldn’t take another loss in a row. We needed to get this one so we feel a lot better about ourselves going into the Oregon State game.”
For only the third time in the past 11 games, the Huskies got on the board first, with junior Allie Beahan’s third goal of the season. Sophomore Chelsea Archer dribbled around Oregon goalkeeper Abby Steele and served the ball to Beahan, who found the back of the net in the 20th minute to give the UW a 1-0 lead.
The offense kept coming for the Huskies when junior Lindsay Elston fired a strike from 25 yards out straight into the net for a lead in the 36th minute. The goal was Elston’s ninth of the season, which leads the team, and her first since Oct. 7 against Arizona State.
Although the Huskies didn’t stretch their lead in the second half, they kept the pressure on the Ducks, tallying nine shots after intermission with six of them coming in the first 10 minutes of the period.
In total, the Huskies fired 14 shots, which is one more than they had in both games combined during their Bay Area road trip last weekend. Seven of the UW’s shots fell on frame.
But in their recent slump, even if the Huskies were able to create shots, they weren’t able to finish them. That changed last night.
“We were just hungry for a win,” Elston said. “We needed it. … There was a lot more movement off the ball and it created a lot more opportunities off the ball that we were able to capitalize on.”
The UW will try to carry its newfound offensive momentum into the season’s home finale Sunday against Oregon State, when the Huskies will honor seniors Kari Davidson, Faustine Dufka, and Kelsea Brajkovich on Senior Day.
Reach reporter Thuc Nhi Nguyen at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @thucnhi21
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