Lacrosse Powers Past Oregon at MPSF Tourney, 18-13
April 27, 2017
LOS ANGELES -- Behind senior Ijeoma Ikpe's school record-tying seven goals, the fifth-seeded San Diego State lacrosse team posted its first-ever victory at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament in three appearances with an 18-13 triumph over No. 4 seed Oregon in the quarterfinals Thursday at McAlister Field.
With the win, the Aztecs (10-7) advance to the semifinals where they will face host and top-seeded USC (14-3) on Friday, starting at noon PT. In addition, SDSU set a program standard with its 10th victory of the season and avenged an earlier 11-9 road loss to the Ducks (9-8) in its conference opener on Feb. 11.
Ikpe's seven-goal outburst equaled the team's single-game record, initially set by Meris Walsh against Saint Mary's on March 2, 2012. Senior Kristen Hickey also contributed to the offensive bonanza with her second consecutive hat trick, while fellow classmate Kayla Deitz tallied five points on two goals and a career-high three assists. In addition, the Aztec cause was advanced by senior Erin Jeffery (2g, 1a) and sophomore Harlowe Steele (1g, 2a), who finished with three points apiece, while junior Mackenzie Lech and sophomore Jill Haight tied for game-high honors with five draw controls each.
Not to be outdone, senior goalkeeper Katrina Reeves came up big in front of the cage for SDSU, posting 10 saves while matching her own school record of seven ground balls, originally set on April 30, 2015 against Colorado.
The Aztecs jumped out to a quick 2-0 advantage on a pair of strikes by Deitz and Ikpe in the first two minutes of the game, before Oregon answered with three consecutive goals to take its only lead of the afternoon with 24:03 remaining in the first half.
SDSU countered with four straight tallies over the next five-plus minutes to build a 6-3 advantage it would not relinquish. Ikpe and Hickey fueled the run with two markers apiece, chasing the Ducks' starting goalkeeper Becca Katzen by the 18:41 mark of the period.
The pace of the contest slowed somewhat over the next 10 minutes and change, with Oregon receiving goals from Cambi Cukar and Shannon Williams sandwiched around a strike by the Aztecs' Jeffery.
However, the Scarlet and Black crafted another 4-0 blitz over the final 7:42 of the half, capped by Ikpe's tally at the buzzer, to take an 11-5 lead into intermission. SDSU's 11 goals marked the team's highest first-half production of the season.
The Ducks threatened to make a game of it in the first 12 minutes of the second period, fashioning a 5-1 run to pull within 12-10 by the 17:43 mark. Williams and Bella Pyne sparked the outburst with two goals each, while Cukar added a single marker during that span.
However, SDSU responded with aplomb once again, as five different players found the back of the cage over the next nine minutes to put the contest out of reach. Freshman Marissa MacRae ignited the timely run with her first collegiate goal on a man-down situation, while Haight, Lech, Hickey and Ikpe followed with tallies in succession.
Trailing 17-10 with 8:49 left, Oregon scored three of the game's last four goals, but those proved too little too late as Ikpe tied the Aztec record on a free position attempt with just 1:13 to go.
Despite a 20-17 deficit in ground balls, SDSU outshot the Ducks 30-28, including a slim 24-23 margin on goal, while maintaining an 18-14 edge in draw controls.
Oregon was led by Cukar, who recorded eight points on five goals and three assists, while Williams finished with four markers of her own. Reserve keeper Maddie Clark came up with five saves in nearly 40 minutes of action for the Ducks after taking over for Katzen, who re-entered the game with 8:49 remaining.