Cougars find golden goal in historic win

WSU moves on to the final four for the first time in program history



Sophomore defender Mykiaa Minniss fights off Montana junior forward Alexa Coyle as junior defender Brianna Alger watches on Aug. 20 at the Lower Soccer Field. The Cougars defeated the Grizzlies 6-0.

JACLYN SEIFERT, Evergreen reporter

COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA— WSU sophomore defender Mykiaa Minniss had not scored a goal all season.

That was until the Colorado native scored the most important goal of her career Friday night. 

The narrative for the unranked Washington State (16-6-1, 5-5-1) women’s soccer team will continue as they move on to the final four of the 2019 NCAA tournament. This came after the team upset No. 2 seed and No. 5 South Carolina (19-2-3, 7-0-3) 1-0 in overtime at Stone Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina. 

“What a great night. First of all, great environment, great soccer team,” head coach Todd Shulenberger said in an interview. “Hats off to South Carolina. They’re an unbelievable soccer team and our girls came in here and knew we had a battle and we fought all the way to the end. Yeah, Cougs going to the Final Four.” 

After an already historic season, WSU will compete in the College Cup for the first time in history for its soccer program. 

“It’s just, it’s crazy that we’re all like making a standard. Cougs versus everybody,” Minniss said with tears in her eyes. “I think it’s cool we get to witness it and have everybody just follow us.”

WSU is the fourth team to make it to the College Cup after making the Elite Eight for the first time in its program history since 2007. 

With 2,315 fans in attendance, the historic win did not come easy for the Cougars after they battled beyond the final whistle into 95 minutes of golden overtime against the Gamecocks. The first team to score would win the game. 

WSU was the first team to beat USC in 17 matches and the first to score a goal in eight matches. USC has only been beaten by six other teams in their last 60 matches at their home stadium. 

Both teams had 15 shots on goal and a similar number of corners kicks during the match. The Cougars had eight fouls while the Gamecocks had only three. 

Minniss scored her historic goal against the Gamecocks defense after a corner kick from junior defender Hanna Goff. A USC player headed the ball directly to Miniss’s right foot as she tapped it into the goal. This was Goff’s second assist of the year. 

It would be only moments later when her entire team trailed her as she slid on her knees across the grass and tackled her to the ground in an emotional celebration to make the score final 1-0.  

Yet, it was graduate student goalkeeper Ella Dederick and the Cougar defense that made sure no ball saw the back of the net for the Gamecocks. 

Dederick had only two, but vital saves during the match that would help advance her team into the final four. She achieved her 29th career shut-out and extended her program record for wins with 53.

“It’s so awesome. I’m just so proud of my team,” Dederick said. “We’ve overcome so much this whole entire year. We love being an underdog, you know, everyone doubts us and we prove them wrong.”

Alongside WSU, No. 1 Stanford and No. 7 UCLA are three out the four teams moving onto the final four, all representing the same conference. The Pac-12 will send three teams to the College Cup for the first time in conference history. This is the third time a conference has done this in women’s collegiate soccer. 

WSU will continue their historic narrative against No. 2 University of North Carolina. They will play at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, California at 4 p.m. PST in their first national semi-final game. 

The PAC-12 is the best conference in the nation,” Dederick said. “I have to say that, first of all. Every game is so critical that you go out and you play as hard as you can because it prepares us for moments like this.”