SPOKANE, Wash. — Tuesday was a big day for the Gonzaga women’s soccer program as they were ranked 20th in the United Soccer Coaches Top 25.
It’s the first time in over 15 years the program has been ranked, and it’s only their second time ever being in the polls.
"I was shocked," said senior defender Jordan Thompson. "I like, honestly, almost teared up. I was sitting on the practice field, and I saw coach’s text that we had gotten ranked, and I was like, ‘Oh my goodness, this is amazing.'”
The Zags have only had ten winning seasons for a program that is in 31st year. However, four of those winning seasons have come during the last four years. This year's 9-1 start is their best start in program history.
"It feels better to be part of something that wasn’t already made into the top 25, to work into the top 25, so it feels really good. I’m really excited," said sophomore midfielder Maddie Kemp, who leads the nation in shots on goal per game at 3.1.
The program has outscored their opponents a whopping 34-3 in ten games this season. Their 34 goals are the second-most in the country.
To put it simply: The Zags dominating.
"We show up on game day and whoever it is, we’re like, ‘You know we’re probably going to score a couple, so you’re going to have to score two or three if you want to beat us,’ said head coach Chris Watkins. "There’s a certain amount of confidence that goes with that."
"From minute one we want to go at teams, put them under pressure, and kind of set the expectation that we’re here to win," said junior midfielder Sophia Braun.
The women are now a week away from heading into WCC play, which will be the most challenging part of their schedule.
The conference has the reigning national champions in Santa Clara, a program currently ranked sixth in polls in Pepperdine, and a perennial power in BYU.
In years past, the Zags would routinely get blown out by those squads.
This year? The Bulldogs say underestimate us at your own peril.
"There’s been times that we haven’t been able to hang with Santa Clara or Pepperdine or BYU, and I think they should be scared that they can’t hang with us now," said Kemp. "We shouldn’t be underestimated anymore, and it’s our time to show who we are."
Gonzaga’s next home game is this Saturday against University of Nebraska-Omaha at 7 pm. They welcome in BYU the next Saturday also at 7 PM.