PULLMAN, Wash. – Heading back to where they belong, the Washington State soccer team is postseason bound after being selected for an at-large bid to the 2017 NCAA Tournament Monday afternoon. The Cougs are headed back to the postseason for the eighth time in the last 10 years and the third time in the last four. WSU will head across the country to face Central Florida (13-1-3). The game is scheduled for Saturday at 4 p.m. at the UCF Soccer Complex.
The Cougs finished the regular season 9-7-3 overall including a big win over No. 2 UCLA, 1-0, on Oct. 19 that handed the Bruins their first loss of the season. The Bruins earned a No. 2 national-seed in the tournament, one of the seven Pac-12 teams to be included in the 2017 tournament field. While the Cougs shutout the Bruins, they also shutout nine other opponents as one of the top defensive teams in the country. WSU and redshirt-junior keeper, Ella Dederick, came up with 10 clean sheets on the year ranking 12th in the nation.
In all, the Cougs faced eight teams in the tournament's field. This year's College Cup will take place at the new Orlando City Soccer Stadium from Dec. 1-3, 2017.
CHENEY, Wash. – It's déjà vu all over again for the Eastern Washington University women's soccer team as they are headed to take on the No. 2 seeded University of Southern California at the NCAA Division I Soccer Tournament for the second year in a row. The rematch will take place in Los Angeles on Nov. 11 at noon. EWU earned a No. 14 seed and received an automatic bid after winning the Big Sky Conference Tournament title for the second year in a row.
"We kind of had an idea we would be drawn with one of the top Pac-12 teams," head coach Chad Bodnar said. "It is not a big surprise and it's kind of different that we drew the same team two years in a row. Our kids are excited and USC is a very good team. We want to play the best in the country and they are definitely one of them. I think a lot of the unknowns are out of it for our kids since we have gone down there and have competed against them. We are looking forward to going back down there."
Last year marked the first time that the Eastern Washington soccer team competed in the NCAA Tournament. The Eagles also took on USC, who was ranked No. 2 and were the eventual National Champions. EWU fell by a score of 3-1, with Devan Talley scoring the lone goal, but the Eagles owned the distinction of being one of only two teams able to score on the Trojans throughout the NCAA Tournament.
Eastern Washington concluded another record-setting regular season with a program record 16 wins and went 11-1-1 at home. With the tournament victories, the Eagles finished 16-5-1 overall and went 8-1-1 in Big Sky play, setting program records for the longest consecutive unbeaten streak with 11 matches and nine in Big Sky play. EWU has scored 47 goals this season, which is sixth in the nation and also a program record. They are led by senior, and three-time Big Sky Conference MVP, Chloe Williams, who has 11 goals (25 points) on the season.
As a team, the Eagles average 17.5 shots a game, ranking 19th in the nation. The team only allows their opponents to strike an average of 8.4 times in a match.
The Trojans lost five key starters from the title-winning squad this year, including 2016 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year Mandy Greeman and 2016 Pac-12 Goalkeeper of the Year Sammy Jo Prudhomme. The defending champions went 14-3-1 overall this season while going 8-2-1 in the Pac-12. The Trojans are 7-1-1 at home with the lone loss against Stanford.
So far this year, USC has scored 33 goals and average 1.83 a game. The Trojans take an average of 17.8 shots a game while their opponents take 9.1. USC is led by Alex Anthony who has recorded seven goals and two assists, good for 16 points. In goal for most of the season was Kaylie Collins, who has a save percentage of .87 and a 13-3-1 record. She has allowed 15 goals in the 153 shots faced.