No. 14 WSU upsets No. 8 Bruins

Cougars off to best start in program history after eighth straight victory



Junior forward Morgan Weaver, right, attempts to take possession of the ball from UCLA sophomore midfielder Viviana Villacorta in the game against the Bruins Friday night at Wallis Annenberg Stadium.

JOHN SPELLMAN, Evergreen reporter

No. 14 WSU soccer passed every test to date in the season so far. However, the undefeated Cougs had their biggest challenge yet as they opened conference play Friday against the No. 8 University of California, Los Angeles, on the road.

The Cougars left undefeated and have beaten UCLA two years in a row. WSU knew it would be a tough challenge to go up against the Bruins on the road to start conference play.

“UCLA is a great team, give them all the credit in the world. They made it to the College Cup last year and came in second place.” WSU junior forward Morgan Weaver said.

Weaver knew she would have to step up to keep WSU undefeated and she did just that in the 61st minute when she scored a crucial goal to give the Cougs a 1-0 lead.

The Cougars were defending their own goal when WSU sophomore defender Aaqila Mclyn came flying out of the defensive zone and set up Weaver perfectly with an amazing pass to put Weaver one on one with a UCLA defender.

Weaver then cut back towards the middle of the field to cross over the defender before kicking an amazing shot inside the far post to beat UCLA goalie Lauren Brzykcy for the first and only score of the game for either team.

That was Weaver’s sixth goal of the season, putting her third in the Pac-12 in goals scored this season and sixth on the Cougs all-time goal scoring list with 21.

“We came out and we knew we were Washington State and we knew we had to win this game like last year.” Weaver said.

That was due in big part to the play of WSU redshirt-junior goalie Rachel Thompson, who was phenomenal in stopping a high-powered UCLA offense. Thompson, filling in for the injured redshirt-senior goalie Ella Dederick, made some huge saves to keep the Cougs in the lead.

Thompson made a career-high nine saves for her first shutout at WSU, even though UCLA dominated the time of possession battle and was constantly putting pressure on the WSU defense.

Despite all the constant attack from the Bruins offense, they were unable to score a goal, giving the Cougars their eighth win of the season.

The win set a new program record for the best start to a season for WSU as they are now 8-0, breaking the previous record of 7-0 to start the 2015 season. The victory also set a new mark for most consecutive wins at any point in an season.

After beating the Bruins for the first time in Los Angeles since 1993, the Cougars can expect to keep moving up the rankings as they get ready for the rest of conference play.

The Cougars return to Pullman 7 p.m. Thursday to face University of Oregon on the Lower Soccer Field. The game will also be broadcasted live on Pac-12 Networks.