The Washington State soccer team (7-2-3, 2-2-1) tumbled out of the top 25 after suffering an embarrassing home loss before earning a tough draw over the weekend. Arizona beat the Cougars 4-1 on Friday – the Wildcats took advantage of their opportunities, WSU did not – and WSU earned a scoreless draw against then-No. 19 Arizona State.
The Sun Devils feature one of the most potent offensive attacks in the country, but it was WSU’s offense that created multiple scoring opportunities throughout the match (19 corner kicks, and 17 shots). Cougar head coach Steve Nugent gave credit to ASU’s goal keeper Chandler Morris for keeping WSU scoreless.
"First you’ve got to give credit to their goalkeeper." he said. "She single handedly grabbed four out of the back of the net today, without question. We’re an inch off here, and an inch off there. With the number of shots and corners we created, statistically speaking you should be able to do something, you should be able to put the ball in the back of the net."
Capitalizing on opportunities created by the offense was a topic of discussion after both matches. Washington State’s inability to capitalize on opportunities cost it a win against the Sun Devils, and hindered the offense’s performance against the Wildcats.
"In our system of play, you can’t let chances that we’ve created (in those first 25 minutes) go away … the way we did. We did just not value the chances we created in and around the box, in the first 25 minutes." Nugent said after the Arizona loss.
While the offense failed to capitalize in both matches, the back line greatly improved from Friday to Sunday’s match. According to Nugent, the defense struggled against the Wildcats' set pieces, especially off of corner kicks. The Cougars focused on fixing that issue against ASU, and that was a major reason WSU held the Sun Devils’ offensive attack in check.
Despite the disappointing results over the weekend, Nugent was impressed by the team’s ability to bounce back after the loss.
"I’m real happy for the adjustment the girls made," he said. "They’re their best critic, and they know what Friday was all about…it was a blip, it really was."
The Cougs wrap up their homestand this week against Oregon, which comes to Lower Soccer Field on Sunday at 1 p.m. in a game that will be broadcast by Pac-12 Networks.