FROM PULLMAN - The WSU women's soccer team pulled off a huge upset on Senior Day over No. 6 Stanford, 1-0, at a snowy Lower Soccer Field.
Washington State improved to 13-3-3 (6-3-1 Pac-12) and now sit all alone in second place in the conference.
The first half saw both squads play "tentatively" - that's what WSU coach Keidane McAlpine said post-match - as they were trying to get a feel for the slippery surface that the snow had created. Stanford spent a good chunk of the first half testing the WSU defense. Washington State's defense held, and the match was scoreless at the half.
The Cougs were way more aggressive defensively in the second half, and that helped create more offensive opportunities for WSU. It was in the 67th minute that Jocelyn Jeffers took advantage of one of those opportunities. It wasn't very clear what happened -- Jeffers disappeared into a mass of Stanford players in front of the goal, and a moment later the ball was sailing past the outstretched hands of Stanford goalkeeper Jane Campbell, off the side bar, and into the net.
During the post-match interviews, Jeffers said: "It's normally a play we practice a lot, where Nicole [Setterlund] flicks the ball on. So Kourtney [Guetlein] threw it in, Nicole flicked it on and it hit off another girl, and then I just kicked and turned, spun and shot it."
After Jeffers' goal, the Cougars continued to be aggressive on both sides of the pitch, and that was the difference maker. WSU's aggressiveness allowed for the team to control the ball and burn clock towards the team's first home victory over Stanford since 1993 - and first victory against the Cardinal since 2003.
McAlpine was happy after the match, and attributed the team's victory to the fact that the Cougs wanted the win more in the second half than the Cardinal: "We felt like both teams were really tentative in the first half. We were waiting for the team that wanted it the most to go and take it. We told them to show us that they wanted it in the second half. And they did a fantastic job of doing that in the second half."
Washington State travels to Seattle to take on the University of Washington on at 1 p.m. on Pac-12 Networks. A win would sew up a second place finish for the Cougs.
The NCAA Tournament selection day follows on Monday, Nov. 11.