NCAA women's soccer tournament: WSU will host Illinois in 1st round

WSU Athletic Communications

WSU soccer is heading to the NCAA tournament again, and this time it won't have to catch a plane for its first-round match-up.

The NCAA women's soccer tournament will be returning to Pullman, Wash. for the first time since 2000. Washington State will be hosting Illinois (10-8-2) in the first round on Saturday, Nov. 16th at 1 p.m. PT. This will be WSU's fourth trip to the postseason in five years, but none of those games were played at home. That fact is not lost on the players and coaching staff.

"We are looking forward to getting all of our Coug fans in Pullman, and hopefully they [Coug fans] will give them [the Illini] a hard time," said WSU junior forward Korynn Blanksma after hearing her team's fate at a selection show party held in downtown Pullman's Paradise Creek Brewery.

Cougars head coach Keidane McAlpine echoed Blanksma: "I’m super excited, I think that this gives us chance to really get our fan base out and a chance to see this program in the NCAA’s; and to just give our Athletic Department something to rally around."

The Cougs finished the regular season strong with a five-game winning streak, in the process climbing to No. 18 in the RPI and second in the Pac-12 with a record of 14-3-3 (7-3-1). WSU capped the season with a victory over cross-state rival Washington on Friday.

Washington State’s opponent, the Fighting Illini, enter the match ranked No. 41 in the RPI. Illinois is coming off of a 5-3 loss to Indiana in its conference tournament, and struggled against league opponents – ending the Big Ten slate with a 5-5-1 record.

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