The Washington State soccer team (8-2-3, 3-2-1) beat the Oregon Ducks (6-6-2, 2-3-1) on Sunday with a late goal by defender Mariah Powers. With the win, the Cougars became eligible for the post season for the fourth straight season.
The three points from Sundays' win gives the Cougars a one point cushion -- over Washington, Arizona, Arizona State, and Colorado -- for third place. Washington plays the Oregon State Beavers Monday at 7 pm, in Seattle, Wash. If the Beavers earn a draw, the Cougars and Huskies are tied for third place; a UW win puts Washington State in fourth.
The game-winning goal came in the 107th minute and was scored by defender Mariah Powers after a pass from Beau Bremer. Bremer broke free from her defender during a throw in, and quickly flipped a pass to Powers.
"I saw the opportunity, saw the slot, and I just ran in as far as I could. (The ball) hit off me, hit off one of the Oregon defenders and it just went right in," she said.
Oregon initially caught WSU off guard, as the Ducks came out in a different formation than the Cougars had prepared for.
"Oregon's game plan and the shape that they played in was actually a good decision against us," said WSU head coach Steve Nugent. "Because, when we can get some rhythm through the midfield, and we can change the point of attack through our holding players, we're a tough team to play around."
Both offensive attacks created several opportunities on offense, but neither goalie was under a lot of stress -- there were only three combined saves. The defensive back lines for both teams did a fantastic job of containing the offenses, and limiting the number of shots on goal.
Oregon's defensive back line took a lot of pressure off of back-up goal keeper Lauren Holden. Holden was the Ducks starter on Sunday, as Abby Steele -- Oregon's normal starter -- was out with an injury she sustained against Utah.
That being said, both teams created several offensive opportunities in the first half.
For the Cougars, their best offensive chance in regulation came in the 40th minute when defender Cara Wegner threaded a beautiful pass through the Ducks defense to forward Kourtney Guetlein. But Guetlein miss kicked it, and her shot went sailing over the crossbar.
"I thought Kourtney Guetlein's chance in the first half, the soccer that created that chance was fantastic," said Nugent. "I think that when you don't get that...you're thinking, scratching you're head, going 'this is just going to be another one of those days.' "
Oregon's best chance came in the second minute, off of a corner kick that went off of the crossbar, and was pulled down by Cougar goalkeeper Gurveen Clair.
Washington State's next game is in Boulder, Colo. as the Cougars take on the Buffaloes at 1 pm on Friday, October 24th.
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