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Soccer looks to capture first road wins of the season

WSU lost its only road game this season against Santa Clara

RYAN BLAKE, Evergreen reporter

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The WSU soccer team completes their non-conference schedule this weekend with games at Utah Valley and Montana.

The Cougars (4-1-1) handed Cal State Northridge their first loss of the season last week in a 3-0 shutout. The win extended the Cougar’s winning streak to three games.

WSU enters the weekend having shutout their opponents in five of six games, including a scoreless draw against No. 19 Minnesota and a 1-0 thriller against No. 14 Nebraska.

Head Coach Todd Shulenberger said his team is playing well as a cohesive unit. He said he is confident in his veteran defense and goalkeeping while being excited about the emergence of his youthful offense.

“Yes, we’re feeling good but we’re cautiously optimistic here,” Shulenberger said. “I remind them every day that winning is hard and we’ve got two very big games coming up this week.”

The weekend will be a test for the Cougars. WSU travels to play Utah Valley on Thursday before making their way to Missoula to square off with Montana.

WSU has played only one other road game this season, a 2-1 loss against Santa Clara in late August. It was the only loss on the season for the Cougars and the only game in which they allowed a goal.

Shulenberger called the upcoming weekend another battle but said his team is ready to compete anywhere.

“We’ve got to create our own environment, we’ve got to create our own intensity, we’ve got to create our own demands and good teams find a way to do that,” Shulenberger said.

Despite their record, Utah Valley (3-5-0) enter the weekend on a streak, having won two of their last three contests. The Wolverines have lost just three games at home over the past three seasons.

The Cougar defense will be charged with shutting down sophomore forward Breana DeWaal, the WAC leader in shots and shots on goal. Thursday’s matchup is the first ever meeting between WSU and Utah Valley.

Following the Utah Valley game, the Cougars travel to Missoula to play Montana (5-3-0) on Sunday. The Grizzlies enter the weekend coming off a 2-1 victory against Northern Iowa.

Montana Head Coach Mark Plakorus said his team has grown together in the early season. He said he is excited to see what they can do against a Power-5 school.

“They’ll be a big challenge and they play a unique system that we’ll have to be ready for to try and take them out of doing what they like to do,” Plakorus said.

WSU has won their last seven contests against Montana.

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