In the second rendition of this column, the football team was coming off the loss to Portland St. while the soccer and volleyball teams were cruising through their non-conference schedules. The football team's turnaround is great, but it's unfortunate that it has mirrored drop offs for WSU's other fall sports.
Both the soccer and volleyball teams are in the midst of three-game losing streaks. The soccer team's (11-5, 4-4 Pac-12) drop down the standings has been particularly disheartening, as just before that streak started they were one game back of first place in the conference. It should be said that all those losses, all at home, have been by one goal, with one game going to 2OT.
Those are exactly the kinds of games that they are going to need to win if they want to contend for a conference championship. Last Thursday, they hosted the nation's No. 4 team and the leader of the Pac-12, Stanford, for a game that the Cardinal took in extra time 2-1.
The Cougs did a great job of battling back after falling behind 1-0 early in the first half against the Cardinal, but couldn't close it out, as Stanford scored the golden goal with 90 seconds to go in overtime. In their next game on Sunday, WSU fell 1-0 to Cal on senior day. The losing streak has dropped the Cougars from second place in the conference standings to seventh, they have also dropped out of the NSCAA rankings.
The volleyball team's (14-8, 3-7 Pac-12) recent slide hasn't been quite as tough to watch as they weren't close to contending a couple weeks ago. They are ninth place in the conference but have tripled their conference win total from last season..
Friday and Sunday the Cougs made the trip to play the Bay Area schools and were swept 3-0 in both matches. Stanford is currently the No. 7 ranked team in the country but Cal only had one conference win coming into the match. While I'm sure Head Coach Jen Greeny and her team come into every game thinking that they have a good opportunity to pick up a win, the loss to Cal probably stung a little more than others.
"We committed too many errors and offensively was not playing well and you are not going to win very many matches when you can't put the ball away," Greeny said. "At the end of the first set we were really tentative, I don't know why, and when it comes down to it, we need players to make big plays and take big swings."
So while a three-match losing streak is far from ideal, this team has shown a lot of improvements from last year's team that only won one conference match. Hopefully this season's improvements will carry over into the future as this team only has one senior.
On a brighter note, the swimming team traveled to Arizona St. on Thursday and picked up a win in Tempe. The Cougs won five races on their way to 115-90 victory over the Sun Devils. The win was WSU's first of the season. Friday the team traveled to Tucson to swim in a dual meet against the Wildcats and UNLV.
The Cougs won three races in Tucson, Junior Elise Locke won two of those. In the final tally WSU beat UNLV 185.5-108.5 and lost to Arizona 182-98
This weekend the soccer team travels to play Oregon and Oregon St, while the volleyball team stays home to play UCLA and USC. Both teams will be playing Friday and Sunday. The Cross Country teams will be hosting the Pac-12 Championships Friday at the Colfax Golf Club.