The WSU cross country teams started their seasons over the weekend and came away with strong finishes against their rivals. At the Sundodger Invitational the men’s team came away with a first place finish, and the women came in second.
The Cougs top runner’s on the men’s side return in 2016, and both John Whelan and Michael Williams had solid finishes at Saturday’s event. William’s came in second in the event for the second straight year, and Whelan finished fourth. Both were named to the All-Pac-12 second team after top-12 finishes at the Pac-12 Championships in 2015.
It was the third straight year that the men’s team won the invitational, which pitted the Cougs against No. 8 Washington, Seattle, Portland St and Fresno St. The women’s race also included Hawaii, but WSU was unable to outrun the Huskies in that contest. The women had four top-20 finishers, however, their top runner, Devon Bortfield, finished in 12th place.
Two of WSU’s other top finishers were freshman Morgan Lash and Melissa Hruska who came in 18th and 19th respectively. The men’s team was relieving votes in the rankings before the meet, and are ranked 27th in the cross country coaches now. The Cougs will get two weeks off before racing again, Oct. 1 at the Washington Invitational in Seattle.
The soccer team, finished out it’s non-conference slate with a pair of victories over Seattle and Boise St last weekend. The wins pushed WSU’s record to 5-2-1 as Pac-12 play looms on the schedule. The Cougs offense appears to be clicking as they’ve scored 12 times in their last five games.
Against Seattle freshman Morgan Weaver continued her hot start, scoring her fifth and sixth goals of the season. Only two other freshman in division one have found the back of the net more times than Weaver has this year. She leads the team in that category, but won’t be etching her name into the freshman goal scoring record at WSU. That would be held by the illustrious Kim Lynass who scored 30 times in her 1990 freshman season.
WSU and Boise St were scoreless at halftime, and tied 1-1 until Alysha Overland scored a go-ahead goal in the 70th minute, her fourth of the season. In both games the Cougs outshot their opponents by a healthy margin, and were able to draw more corner kicks.
The quality of the opposition with intensify as the Cougs start playing their conference foes this week. They only have one game with weekend, however, hosting Colorado Friday Sept. 23 at 5 p.m. The game will be played at the Lower Soccer Field and will be broadcast on Pac-12 Network.
The volleyball team visited Texas over the weekend and won two out of their three matches in the Baylor Classic. After sweeping Virginia and the College of Charleston to start the weekend, WSU fell to Baylor in five sets Saturday. They managed to lose despite having more kills, blocks, and assists than the Bears..
Kyra Holt had another outstanding performance for WSU, and was named the Best Attacker at the tournament. Holt led the Cougars in kills all three matches, and recorded a match high 19 kills in the loss to Baylor.
The Cougs will head into Pac-12 play with a 10-2 record, and wins against a pair of power five foes. The level of competition will increase quickly too, as they will travel to take on no. 5 Washington Wednesday, and no. 11 UCLA Friday on the road. The match against UW will be played at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on Pac-12 Network.
The men’s and women’s golf teams are both in action this weekend as well. The men, coming off a win at the Itani Quality Homes Regional tournament, will be playing in Albuquerque, New Mexico at the William H. Tucker Intercollegiate tournament Sept. 24-25. The women tied for second at the Cougar Cup Tuesday, and will next be in action Sept 26 at the GolfWeek Conference Challenge.