Cougar soccer advances to second round of NCAA Tournament


ABBY LINNENKOHL | Daily Evergreen file

USC sophomore defender Julia Bingham challenges WSU redshirt sophomore midfielder Shayna Whieldon for the ball in an Oct. 22 game.

RYAN BLAKE, Evergreen reporter

WSU soccer (10-7-3) eliminated No. 8 University of Central Florida (13-2-3) with a 1-0 victory Saturday to open play in the NCAA Tournament.

Saturday’s loss was only the second of the season for the Knights, who ranked eighth nationally and received a No. 2 seed in the Tournament. WSU Head Coach Todd Shulenberger said his team was ready for the challenge heading into the game.

“The good thing is in the conference we’re in every day, this is what we see every day,” Shulenberger said, according to WSU Athletic Communications. “Everyone counted us out flying us from Pullman to Orlando. And here go the Cougs. We’re excited. Back to business and on to the next round.”

The Cougars benefited from an own goal by UCF early after a kick by junior defender Maddy Haro was deflected into the goal by a Knight defender during the fifth minute of play.

That goal would be the only score of the game.

WSU redshirt junior goalkeeper Ella Dederick earned her 11th shutout of the season, coming up with six saves. The Knights outshot the Cougars 19-5, but WSU’s backline came up with three stops and the defense did not allow a goal.

With the victory, the Cougars now have four wins against ranked opponents and are 2-2 against top-10 teams this season. Their previous top-10 victory came against No. 2 University of California, Los Angeles, on Oct. 19.

The Cougars advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in program history. They face No. 20 University of Tennessee for an 11 a.m. start time Friday at Donald R. Dizney Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.

Reporting by Ryan Blake