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WSU soccer will host Montana in NCAA tournament first round

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It’s the seventh tournament appearance in eight years for the Cougars.

Maddy Haro finished second the nation in assists with 13.
Dean Hare/Washington State Photo Services

The WSU women’s soccer team is returning to the postseason once again, as the Cougars were selected to the NCAA tournament where they will host Montana in the opening round of the tourney on Friday at 7 p.m.

It’s the second consecutive selection for the program, which has now made it to the tournament in seven of the last eight seasons. The Cougars beat Montana 3-1 at home on Sept. 14. If they defeat the Grizzlies again, WSU will face the winner of No. 1 Georgetown and Central Connecticut State. (Full bracket here.)

“It’s a big day for Washington State Athletics and the soccer program,” WSU Head Soccer Coach Todd Shulenberger said via news release. “It’s been a crazy year and it’s been wild, it’s been a rollercoaster for sure, but this group did not quit one bit. So our goal now is simple ...w e’ve got to go out and do better in the tournament and that’s what we’re looking forward to doing.”

It was an up and down and finally up season for the Cougs, who peaked as high as No. 7 in the national rankings after getting off to an astounding 10-0-0 record. They were the last unbeaten, untied team in the country, and possessed a road win over Pac-12 powerhouse UCLA. Things then went off the rails a little bit, as they lost their next five in a row; having given up just five goals all season to that point, their trademark defense betrayed them, as they gave up 11 goals in the skid. But the Cougs rebounded to go 2-0-1 in their final three, including a draw against unbeaten and No. 1 Stanford — just the Cardinal’s second draw of the season.

Now, the Cougars are aiming to make some noise in the postseason again after last season’s breakthrough. Unable to push past the second round for years, WSU made it to the second weekend in 2017 after upsetting No. 2 seed and top 10 UCF before knocking out Tennessee. The season ended with a heartbreaking overtime loss to No. 3 seed Florida.