SEATTLE -- Washington women’s soccer gave head coach Lesle Gallimore exactly the birthday gift she wanted, a 2-1 victory over Oregon. Kate Bennett scored a goal and added an assist on a festive night at Husky Stadium where a flash mob celebrated the longtime coach’s 50th birthday.
“Having a fall birthday as a soccer coach sucks,” said Gallimore. “You’d have to go back and look at the records, but we haven’t done that well on my birthday. Sometimes I feel like they try harder or get a little too focused on the birthday rather than just the game. Tonight, I loved our energy and we came out and got two great goals.”
The Huskies wasted no time in grabbing the lead, scoring just 1:02 into the game. Allie Beahan played a nice ball into the box where Bennett controlled, turned and shot into the corner. The ball bounced off the inside of the post and ricocheted into the back of the net for Bennett’s third goal.
It was the quickest the Dawgs have scored so far this season, but they wouldn’t waste much time to do it again. Washington’s second goal came in the 12th minute when Bennett took her turn as the playmaker. The redshirt junior played Isabel Farrell who took a touch and then hit a left-footed shot across the goal, low and into the corner. It was Farrell’s first goal of the season and third of her young career.
Washington had been 6-0-1 when scoring a goal this season and had allowed just one goal in game’s which they had scored. However, the Ducks got back in the game, making it 2-1 in the 30th minute. Kristen Parr snuck a shot just under the crossbar to get Oregon back in the game.
Washington took the 2-1 lead to the break, outshooting the Duck 9-7 in the half. At the half, Husky fans celebrated Gallimore’s birthday with a flash mob that began with the Husky cheerleaders, continued with the men’s soccer team and finished with just about everyone in the crowd of 1,073.
“I was surprised,” said Gallimore. “I hadn’t seen the shirts and I had no idea about the flash mob. I thought just the band being here was pretty special.”
The Huskies made sure that Gallimore’s birthday would be a happy one by finishing off their victory in the second half. Oregon pushed players forward and had its chances, but once again Washington’s backline held strong. Allyson Brahs and Molly Boyd were great in the middle, while Havana McElvaine and Lindsey Bos did a great job of pushing the ball up the wings. In goal, Megan Kufeld made five save, doing a nice job on some skipping shots with a wet ball.
Washington had chances to extend the lead, including a free kick from Bennett that went just over the cross bar. Lindsey Elston also put a drive on frame, but the Oregon goalkeeper made her only save.
The win puts the Dawgs back over .500 at 7-6-3 for the season, but more importantly 3-1-2 in Pac-12 play.
“The results in this conference have been all over the map, so we are just going to keep scratching and clawing,” said Gallimore. “We just need to keep ourselves near the top of the league because that is going to be our best chance to get in the tournament.”
As for her birthday, Gallimore promised a large group of friends that she would be in a good mood, win or lose. However, she is glad she won’t have to fake it after the Dawgs gave her just the birthday gift she hoped for.