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WSU soccer visits Oregon trying to keep pace with Pac-12 leaders

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Plus, new revelations in Nick Rolovich’s ouster and today’s links.

PULLMAN, WA - OCTOBER 24: Washington State women’s soccer celebrates senior night against UCLA, resulting in a 1-1 draw
Elyse Bennett
Jack Ellis/CougCenter

Following a pair of draws last week against two of the top three teams in the conference, the Washington State Cougars still find themselves five points off the top of the standings and likely needing to win their final three regular season games — all on the road — to have any shot of securing a conference championship.

That run starts tonight with a matchup against the team just one point below them in the standings: The Oregon Ducks. You can catch the match at 7 p.m. PT on Pac-12 Network Oregon or Pac-12.com or the Pac-12 app (with a cable subscription).

The Ducks (9-2-5, 4-2-2 Pac-12) are a tricky matchup for the Cougars (10-2-4, 4-1-3), who topped the “others receiving votes” category in this week’s rankings. Oregon is a quality squad that has its own designs on a trip to the NCAA tournament, and win over WSU would go a long way toward securing that.

This will likely be a tight game, and also probably a low-scoring one: Both teams have played the exact same conference opponents to this point in the season, and both are allowing less than a goal a game (0.75 for Oregon, 0.5 for WSU). The Cougars do hold an edge in goal differential against those opponents (plus-6 vs. plus-2).

After that, a Halloween trip to Corvallis to take on Oregon State on Sunday awaits.

More details on Nick Rolovich’s firing

ESPN’s Kyle Bonagura pulled back the curtain a little bit yesterday with a comprehensive story about the process that went on behind the scenes in removing the WSU head football coach and four of his assistants last week.

It’s not a bombshell report; if you have followed the story closely over the past few months, there’s not a ton of new information, as none of the major players in the story — Rolovich, athletics director Pat Chun, or WSU president Kirk Schulz — went on the record. (Not surprising, given the likely pending litigation.)

However, there’s one person new to the narrative who did go on the record: Dr. Guy Palmer, a WSU professor of pathology and infectious diseases. Considered one of the foremost experts in the field of vaccines in the state of Washington, Palmer was who Chun put in front of Rolovich back in April to try and convince his coach of the safety and efficacy of Covid vaccination.

Palmer describes a meeting in which Rolovich expressed hesitancy over the safety of the vaccines:

Over about an hour, Rolovich drove a conversation that focused on topics that were consistent with what Palmer said has been shared by the “anti-vax crowd on social media” over the past several years.

“Kind of typical ones: Is Bill Gates involved with the vaccines? Does [Gates] hold a patent on the vaccines?” Palmer recalled to ESPN. “He asked whether SV40 is in the vaccines and whether that could be a dangerous thing. And the answer to that is no.” ...

While Palmer left what he called “a very cordial conversation” unsure if Rolovich would get vaccinated, he felt the coach’s primary concerns were about possible side effects.

“I think it’s fair to say that was his major hesitancy,” Palmer said. (Rolovich did not bring up any religious beliefs he felt could be in conflict with taking a vaccine, Palmer said.)

This is notable, because Rolovich’s lawyer has expressed that his client intends to sue WSU on the grounds that his religious rights were violated. The story also lets legal experts weigh in on the likelihood that Rolovich succeeds in a lawsuit, and they seem ... skeptical.

Links

Women’s soccer on the road again - Washington State University Athletics
WASHINGTON STATE (10-2-4, 4-1-3)

Pac-12 picks: UCLA upsets Utah, Oregon rolls, ASU handles WSU
The deeper we get into the season, the more bye weeks matter — especially if the team with extra rest is also playing at home. That goes double when the visitor is coming off an emotional stretch and has played eight weeks in a row.

Pac-12 football power rankings, Week 9: Oregon Ducks and Oregon State Beavers at the top - oregonlive.com
The Ducks maintain the No. 1 spot, while the Beavers surge up.

Washington State injury notes: Cougs hope to soon return Deon McIntosh, Halid Djibril | Washington State University | khq.com
PULLMAN – Max Borghi probably won’t be setting another career high in carries this weekend.

Washington State offense can rally around rapidly developing quarterback in Jayden de Laura | Washington State University | khq.com
PULLMAN – A few hours after word got out that football coach Nick Rolovich had been dismissed from his post at Washington State, the team’s young quarterback made a mature

Washington State getting familiar with new run-and-shoot coaches | Washington State University | khq.com
One of them observes quietly and speaks softly. The other has a booming voice, and employs it often.

Inside Nick Rolovich's downfall at Washington State over the COVID-19 vaccine - ESPN.com
This is the story of the chaotic final days of the battle between Nick Rolovich and Washington State over his vaccination status.

Washington State Heads to Tempe to Face Arizona State - Washington State University Athletics
Kickoff is set for Noon on Fox Sports 1.

Academic Services Announces October Student-Athletes of the Month - Washington State University Athletics
PULLMAN, Wash. - Washington State Cross-Country's Erin Mullins and Kennan Schrag have been named the Academic Services Student-Athletes of the Month for October

WSU gears up for Pac-12 Championships - Washington State University Athletics
SALT LAKE CITY – The Washington State men's and women's cross country teams gear up for the 2021 Pac-12 Cross Country Championships. The race is set for this Friday,