Cougars make history, advance to the Elite Eight

WSU soccer is one of four Pac-12 teams to make the fourth round of the NCAA tournament



Junior forward Makameae Gomera-Stevens, right, celebrates her goal against Memphis on Nov. 15 at the Lower Soccer Field.

JACLYN SEIFERT, Evergreen reporter

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA—Coming off perhaps the greatest win in program history in a narrow 3-2 upset against No. 1 seed Virginia on Friday, the narrative continues for the WSU women’s soccer team as they won for the second time this weekend. 

For the first time, the Cougars are Elite Eight bound after winning 3-0 against the University of West Virginia on Sunday afternoon at Klöckner Stadium.

Washington State (15-6-1) continues its historic run to advance to the fourth round of the NCAA for the first time in program history.  

“We’re just a little old team from Pullman, Washington,” head coach Todd Shulenberger said in an interview after the game. ”Our foot was on the gas pedal all weekend. We came here to win.”

Four Pac-12 soccer teams will advance to the Elite Eight for the first time in conference history. 

“It’s amazing, it’s speechless, I don’t even know how to explain it right now,” senior forward Morgan Weaver said in an interview. 

Weaver cemented her place in WSU soccer history as she scored a pair of goals during the match in the second half. She moved her overall record to 14 goals scored this season and 42 goals in her career. She sits in second place for all-time goals scored for the Cougar program. 

“Big players step up in big moments and she has proved it again. She is one of the best forwards in the country,” Shulenberger said. “She had two great goals tonight against a great backline and a fantastic goalkeeper.”

Washington State had 14 shots, 10 shots on goal, nine fouls and six corner kicks. Despite the final score, the victory for the Cougars did not come easy against the Mountaineers (15-6-1) as West Virginia had 11 shots, five shots on goal, four fouls and seven corner kicks during the night.

There were 18 different Cougars that saw playing time against the Mountaineers.

It was junior forward Makamae Gomera-Stevens who opened up scoring for the Cougars only 14 minutes into the game. Gomera-Stevens found herself in the right place at the right time as she chased down the ball intended for the Mountaineers goalkeeper. She placed the ball in the top right corner of the net to make the score 1-0. This was her second goal of the postseason. 

Soon after, Washington State gave up a dangerous free kick, but graduate student goalkeeper Ella Dederick made the save. Dederick celebrated her 52nd career win and 28th career shutout.

“I am really proud of the backline after we scored our first goal. We knew we just had to lockdown and not let anything else come our way,” Dederick said in an interview. “It’s an honor. I love it. I love being under pressure and I feel like we all thrive.”

With an advantage at halftime, the Cougars and Mountaineers gave the crowd a night to remember. 

“Well I just saw Kelis just start winding up,” Weaver said. “I was like ‘I just got to go for it’ and saw the goalie going more near post so I just aimed far post and it went in.”

After a long ball kicked down the field from WSU sophomore defender Kelis Barton, it was Weaver and West Virginia’s senior goalkeeper Rylee Foster against each other. Weaver then took her time to slot the ball underneath Foster’s right glove to make the score 2-0. 

“We are a team that likes to get forward,” Shulenberger said.

Only seven minutes later, Weaver scored her second goal with only 19 minutes left in the match. The goal came after senior forward Katie Jones slid Weaver the ball, where she was able to shoot it  into the left side netting to make the score 3-0. 

As each minute ticked down to the final whistle, the Cougars waited until the end of the game to celebrate what they came there to do.   

Washington State will continue its run in the fourth round of the NCAA tournament on the East Coast against the University of South Carolina at 3 p.m. PST on Friday at Stone Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina. 

“We’re coming to do some work and we’re going to stay on the East Coast for the rest of the week,” Shulenberger said.