No. 24 Washington State women’s soccer traveled to Seattle for their Pac-12 conference finale. The Cougs went into the game having won their last four-in-a-row by sweeping the Arizona schools and taking down both No. 25 Cal and No. 7 Stanford last weekend.
It was Senior Day for the Washington Huskies as the two teams took to the pitch.
Add to all of that the bragging rites accompanying a victory in the soccer version of the Apple Cup.
And as if there needed to be anything more at stake, WSU was playing for favorable position in post season play.
Once again it would be the Cougars prevailing for 90-minutes of play over a feisty UW squad. The final score was 1-0 in a hotly contested game from beginning to end.
The first half was dominated by WSU who kept the ball on the Husky side of the field for much of the opening 45-minutes. However, tentative passing and play by the Cougs never really translated into threatening to put a goal up on the scoreboard.
Limited to a few chances on goal, it was Washington who had the most quality shots on net in the opening half but failed to convert on their opportunities.
After coach Keidane McApline made adjustments to the Cougs style of play, the second half was a different story for Washington State. Not only did the Cougs keep the ball most of the half, they were very aggressive.
With just 10:44 remaining in the second half, freshman forward Kaitlyn Johnson scored her first collegiate goal which become the game winner for WSU. Johnson took a pass and was able to break away down the left side of the field for a 1-on-1 with the Husky goalie. She smartly punched a strong right-footer into the net.
Less than two minutes later, Washington looked to knot the score when sophomore Cara Wegner jumped a shot on goal and batted the ball away.
As most know, batting a soccer ball using your hands is a rule infraction. Depending on which team you were rooting for, it was a surprising non-call by the referees evoking a variety of emotions from fans. WSU benefitted by the change of possession rather than having to defend a penalty kick.
The non-call clearly deflated the Huskies and Washington State went about playing business-like soccer, basically running out the clock.
WSU continues to own the UW stretching their streak to 10- games without a loss to their cross state rival.
For redshirt goalkeeper Gurveen Clair, it was the 23rd shutout in her outstanding WSU career.
With a final regular season record of 14-3-3, the Cougs will advance to the NCAA Tournament which begins next Friday.
Great way for Washington State to finish their conference run and regular season schedule. Playing with a little chip on their shoulders, the Cougs second place finish in the Pac-12 far exceeded the pre-season polls picking them to finish no better than 6th.
This will be the fourth post season appearance for Washington State women’s soccer in the past five years.