The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

No. 23 WSU heads to Portland seeking third straight win

Cougars seek first win against historic Portland program
WSU forward Margie Detrizio shoots toward goal during an NCAA women’s soccer match against EWU, Aug. 17, 2023, in Pullman, Wash.

A hot WSU women’s soccer team travels to Portland to take on University of Portland Pilots Thursday.

In WSU’s last game, two goals from senior Grayson Lynch and a second career goal from freshman Naomi Clark were enough to come from behind and beat Texas A&M in College Station, Texas.

“A huge win on the road at Texas A&M, it’s not an easy place to play. Obviously the elements were extreme with the heat, but for those that know soccer that’s one of the best venues to play a game at and to come away with a win was good,” said head coach Todd Shulenberger during a press conference Tuesday.

After a strong opening week, the Cougs head into their third game ranked No. 23 nationally by the United Soccer Coaches poll after coming into the season unranked.

Fifth-year senior Lynch’s game-winning brace Sunday was enough to earn her the honor of Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week. Lynch becomes the first Cougar to win the award since Morgan Weaver was selected Offensive Player of the Week in 2019. The Castle Rock, Colorado native recorded the seventh game-winning goal of her career, tied for eighth most in WSU history.

“To come out in A&M in the heat and hit that [penalty kick] when it was needed, and to hit that game-winner in the last eight minutes of the game, it shows what a big-time leader and captain can do,” Shulenberger said.

Another unexpected highlight of the season so far has been Clark’s impact on the game for the Cougs as a freshman, scoring in her debut against Eastern Washington and following that up with the equalizing goal Sunday at Texas A&M.

“We call her a little bit of a fox in the box, meaning she scores goals in that box and when she’s in there she is dangerous,” said Shulenberger. “So we knew, but then again as a freshman you never know what you’re actually gonna get when you get here. We knew we had potential in this kid and she’s off and running and we’re super excited about her.”

Junior goalkeeper Nadia Cooper had a huge game Sunday, securing her 20th-career win, sixth all-time for WSU. In two games so far Cooper has played all 180 total minutes, and Coach Shulenberger spoke Tuesday about the impact she’s had so far this season.

“She is off and running, had a great offseason and was really key on Sunday for sure. I always like to take our players home, and that’s a home game for Nadia going back to Houston, that’s where she’s from,” said Schuleberger. “So she goes home, she deals with the heat and the crowd, and she carries us. Hats off to her, proud of her and I’m glad we got to take her back home.”

With the Cougars’ win against Texas A&M Sunday, they became one of only two Pac-12 schools to win against an SEC opponent this year, the other being No.1 UCLA over Georgia at home to open the season. WSU is the only Pac-12 team to travel to a Power 5 opponent and win. Pac-12 teams are currently 3-4-3 against Power 5 opponents this year.

Thursday’s game against the Pilots marks the 17th time in school history these two teams have met, a series dating back to 1990. The Pilots hold a 14-0-2 all-time record against WSU, as the Portland program has yet to lose to the Cougs. The two ties for WSU have come in the last three meetings, including a scoreless draw in Pullman last August. The Pilots’ most recent game against No. 1 UCLA was canceled due to weather caused by Hurricane Hilary.

Shulenberger does not take Thursday’s game lightly. He rates Portland’s team very highly and spoke a little on Tuesday about some of the challenges facing the Pilots can bring.

“They’re an NCAA tournament team, Portland is good, it’s a real game. I rank Portland up there with some of the best teams in the country, especially on the west coast. We scheduled this game for a reason, because we knew they were good. They were great last year and they’re gonna be great now. It’s a win-win for both teams RPI-wise so we’re gonna go there and give them our best shot.”

The Cougar’s game against the Pilots begins at 7 p.m. Thursday at Merlo Field in Portland. The game is available to watch on ESPN+.

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About the Contributors
JOSEPH RUTO, Evergreen reporter
COLE QUINN, Evergreen Sports Photographer
Cole Quinn is a photographer and columnist for the Daily Evergreen. Cole primarily shoots sports for the Daily Evergreen and writes album reviews in his spare time. Cole is a junior broadcast production major and sports communication minor from Snoqualmie, Washington. Cole started working for the Evergreen in the fall of 2020 as a photographer. Cole was the Photo Editor during his sophomore year and Deputy Photo Editor for the fall 2022 semester.