Oregon came into 2011 with high hopes and big expectations. They were still unranked on March 22nd but started to climb into the top 25 the next week. The Ducks went from 24 to 20, to 18. Last week they climbed an additional spot to #17. For a 4-6 team with losses to Santa Clara, Cal, Michigan, Chapman, Michigan State and Colorado, the Ducks look improved. Early in the season, they lost games that they might win now, but those Losses won’t disappear as the season wears on.
Photos courtesy Friends Of Oregon Lacrosse and Joe Richter
The Ducks’ biggest win came recently over the University of Minnesota-Duluth 7-6 and BHSVideoDad has great highlights with narrative, as always.
UMD used a slow down, spread offense, a la Johns Hopkins earlier in the year, and they were able to keep the game close. After going down 3-0, UMD fought back furiously but couldn’t overcome the difference late in the game. Nick Johnston came up big for Oregon time and time again, while the Ducks’ offense came out hot and sputtered a bit as the game wore on.
Oregon’s biggest upside is that they allowed their opposition to control the pace of the game but they still came out with the W. This is a big accomplishment that can’t be overlooked. Although Oregon did follow up their win over UMD with a loss, it was to Colorado, a team that is really just starting to show their potential.
Oregon has 2 games coming up against San Diego State and Portland State that are simply MUST WIN games. Then they take on Simon Fraser and Cal Poly and they have to take at least one of those Top 20 matchups. If they can do that, and beat Oregon State at the end of their regular season, the Ducks will be 8-7 3 wins over Top 20 teams. A couple of bad losses will haunt them, but they should still get a shot at Denver. And once a team gets there, anything can happen.