Corvallis, Ore. – The Oregon State Women’s Soccer Team hosts its 5th annual Nike Invitational Tournament this weekend at Paul Lorenz Field.
The Beavers start the tournament by taking on UC Irvine (1-3-0), Friday at 7 p.m. OSU has come up short the last two meetings with the Anteaters and are looking to break the streak, as well as record their second win of the season.
On Sunday, the Beavers will take on Hawai’i (0-2-0) at 2 p.m. The last time these two teams faced each other was in 2002, and it was the Beavs who walked away with a 1-0 victory. Sunday’s game will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks.
Both UC Irvine and Hawai’i will also be traveling down the highway to take on the Oregon Ducks at Papѐ Field, rounding out the tournament at four teams. Oregon and Oregon State, both being Pac-12 schools, will not face each other until conference play in November.
Players to Watch
Senior forward Brandi Dawson scored a game-winner against Texas last weekend and has proved to be a huge asset for the Beavers in the air.
Senior midfielder Erin Uchacz recorded her first assist last weekend as she slipped senior Chelsea Buckland in behind Wisconsin’s back line. She has proved to be a powerhouse in the air in the midfield.
Senior forward Jenna Richardson has started all four games for the Beavers and has used her speed to break down the opponent’s defense. Last year, Richardson was an All-Pac-12 selection and was second on the team for overall points.
Sophomore goalkeeper Sammy Jo Prudhomme has been starting in goal for the Beavs and has recorded 13 saves so far this season. An All-Pac-12 selection her freshman year, Prudhomme brings confidence and experience to Oregon State’s back line.
The Back Line
Complimenting them on either side are redshirt juniors Marissa Kovac and Brittney Oljar. Redshirt freshman Audrey Gibb has been getting significant time at outside back as well, giving the Beavers a solid five player rotation.
The Beavers have been playing a diamond in the midfield. At the base of the diamond is sophomore Gwen Bieck, who has started and played all four games. On either side is senior captain Jacy Drobney and freshman Helene Haavik.
Uchacz has been getting significant time at the top of the diamond and is capable of winning balls in the air and slipping forwards in behind the back line. Others getting time in the midfield are seniors Haley Shaw and Dawson, sophomore Val Margerum, and redshirt sophomore Natalie Meiggs.
Buckland and Richardson have been the starting duo for the Beavers the first four games. Buckland has two goals on the season, both assists coming from the midfield. Shaw and Dawson have also seen time up top when the Beavers move to a 4-3-3 formation.
Head Coach Linus Rhode and the Beavers started the season against two top-ten teams, #3 Florida State and #9 Florida. Despite the results, both of these games have improved OSU’s strength of schedule in RPI rankings.
Last weekend, the Beavers hosted Texas and Wisconsin, two very solid teams. Oregon State recorded its first win against Texas, with a score of 1-0. Later that weekend the Beavs took Wisconsin to two overtimes and walked away with a 1-1 tie.
Leading up to preseason, the Beavers have focused on their defensive shape making sure that they are solid and organized against fast, skilled teams like the two Florida squads. Building from there, the Beavers have been looking at their offensive style of play and how they can best break down their opponents.
The Oregon State Nike Invitational begins Friday as the Beavers and the Anteaters face of at Paul Lorenz Field at 7 p.m. Pacific Time. Follow the game at www.osubeavers.com.