No, not those Cougars…and no, not that school from Oregon. After months of great anticipation and optimism throughout the offseason, many expected the Washington State football team (1-2) to be undefeated heading into Pac-12 play this weekend against Oregon (3-0). Instead, it is the women’s soccer team that has fared much better as they recently concluded the non-conference portion of their schedule without a loss. These undefeated Cougars (5-0-2) will head into Pac-12 play against Oregon State (0-6-2) on September 26 (4 p.m., Pac-12 Networks).
With all the buzz and excitement surrounding the school’s football program, it has been easy to forget that there are other sports currently in season at WSU. On Tuesday, the Lady Cougars made plenty of noise, and a bid for some recognition, as they moved into the Top 25 of the NSCAA (National Soccer Coaches Association of America). This is familiar territory for the program as the team has been ranked in the Top 25 for 7 of the last 8 years.
Despite the program’s recent string of success, the team’s performance thus far may still be a bit surprising considering the fact that they lost Micaela Castain, the 2013-2014 Pac-12 Player of the Year, to graduation. Castain led the conference in points, assists, and goals last season. The Cougars also lost Keidane McAlpine, the 2013-2014 Pac-12 Coach of the Year who bolted to USC after leading the Cougars to their third-straight NCAA postseason appearance (for the first time in program history).
To their credit, this year’s team has not allowed these departures to affect their play. The Cougars, led by first-year head coach Steve Nugent, are coming off 3 straight road victories against Hawaii, Gonzaga, and Idaho. They are now unbeaten in their last 18 non-conference matchups. In fact, Washington State will head into conference play with an overall 13-match unbeaten streak (second longest active streak in the nation behind UCLA’s 28). The Cougars have outscored opponents 21-3 during this 13-game stretch.
WSU will have had almost 2 weeks off by the time they take on Oregon State next Friday. The Cougars are undefeated in their last 8 road matches (a school record), which may bode well for them in Corvallis.
If these Cougars didn’t have your attention before, they mostly definitely should by now. Go Cougs!