As November is upon us, the weather is changing from fall to winter, and so are the sports seasons. The soccer team wrapped up its season Thursday, and the women’s basketball team held its first exhibition game of the season Sunday.
After a disappointing season, the soccer team was able to end it on a relatively high note. The Cougs kept their 13-year unbeaten streak against UW alive with a 2-0 victory over the Huskies. After really struggling to begin conference play, WSU went 2-0-1 over their final three games.
Overall the team finished with a 8-9-2 record, and they went 3-7-1 in conference play. While not impressive, a similar record for other WSU programs may not draw as much ire; however, the women’s soccer program has built itself quite a reputation recently, and this season was pretty disappointing for everyone involved.
Since 2005, the women’s soccer team has routinely finished in the top half of the Pac-12, and before this season, they had only missed one NCAA tournament since 2008. A similar aberration happened in 2010 when the team went 2-7 in the Pac-10 and finished with an overall record under .500.
However, the Cougs rebounded with a 14-win season and a trip to the second round of the NCAA tournament. Hopefully 2016 was just another blip on the radar for the program.
The women’s basketball team inched closer to competitive play as they hosted Alaska-Anchorage for an exhibition game Sunday. The Cougs defeated the Seawolves 81-73 after a strong second half.
The reigning Division II runners-up were up 28-20 after the first quarter, and started the game by hitting five three-pointers. However, the Cougs were able to battle back behind a pair of guards.
Junior Pinelopi Pavlopoulou scored 15 points and shot 3-of-3 from behind the arc while registering eight assists. Sophomore Borislava Hristova also scored 15 points. On the defensive end, they were also led by Pavlopoulou, who had eight steals. Junior forward Nike McClure also blocked seven shots in just 17 minuted on the floor.
WSU will begin its season with three straight home games against WCC opponents. They’ll host Loyola Marymount on Friday and Saint Mary’s on Sunday before welcoming San Francisco next week. Friday’s game will tip at 7 p.m. (following the men’s game) and Sunday’s will get under way at 1 p.m.
On the other end of the spectrum, the volleyball team continued its plummet down the Pac-12 standings after a great start to the season. The Cougs fell at home to Oregon St 3-1 and to no. 16 Oregon 3-2.
They’ve now lost seven of their last nine matches and are eighth in the Pac-12 standings. The five straight wins to start conference play are behind them, and the Cougs will need to figure out how to get back on track.
WSU’s blocking remains its strong suit, and hasn’t faded recently. The Cougs are second in the nation in blocks per set with 3.33. One recent development that stands out is how they have fared in matches that have gone to five sets.
The Cougs have had three matches go to five sets in the slump and are 0-3 in those game-deciding sets. They have been able to push teams to the brink, but struggled to close out on games. While discouraging, performance in close games is usually pretty random, so I would not be surprised to see the pendulum swing back in favor of WSU soon.
The Cougs host a couple of the weaker teams in the Pac-12 this weekend in the Arizona schools. The Sun Devils and Cougars will play Friday at 7 p.m. and the Wildcats come to town for a match Sunday at 11 a.m. Both games will be played at Bohler Gym and you can catch Sunday’s match on Pac-12 Network.