The team considered to be the best WSU soccer team in years -- and perhaps ever -- again couldn't get past the opening round of the College Cup as the Cougs were eliminated on penalty kicks for the second consecutive year, this time by Illinois.
The two teams played to a scoreless draw in regulation and overtime despite the Cougs holding a 29-10 advantage on shots, including a whopping 11 on goal. But as in last year's disappointing loss to Portland, Illinois keeper Claire Wheatley had what we would presume to be the game of her life.
And she was never bigger than she was in the penalty kick shootout. She turned away WSU's first two attempts, guessing the side correctly both times. The first was a spectacular save of a well taken attempt Jocelyn Jeffers, while she was able to get a hand on Kourtney Guetlein's attempt, which didn't have a lot of pace.
There was a glimmer of hope when Katie Turney put hers home and WSU keeper Gurveen Clair turned away Illinois' shot, but Nicole Setterlund airmailed her attempt, and the match was over when Illinois confidently put the next one in the net.
A big moment in the game came when Pac-12 player of the year Micaela Castain -- WSU's scoring leader this season -- left with an apparent leg injury. She would play just 44 of the possible 120 minutes, something that surely hampered the Cougar offensive attack.
We'll back with more later from our reporter on the scene, Neil Roberts.
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