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WSU hosts Stanford in massive early season showdown

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PULLMAN, WA - September 9: Washington State women’s soccer team fall to Seattle 1-2 at Lower Soccer Field
Elyse Bennett
Jack Ellis/CougCenter

The Washington State Cougars are off to a flying start in soccer, winning their first three conference matches by a combined score of 5-0 to sit atop the Pac-12 standings with nine points.

Those wins, however, were against three teams with only one conference win between them. The road is about to get much harder when Stanford visits Lower Soccer Field tonight. Kickoff is at 5 p.m. and you can watch the game on Pac-12 Network and Pac-12.com (with a subscription).

The game is the proverbial six-pointer, and it carries even more significant importance for the two teams.

The Cougars, despite a 9-1-1 record and the pedigree of a long NCAA tournament streak (2020 notwithstanding), remain unranked. (They’re currently second in the “others receiving votes” category.) The game presents a prime opportunity for WSU to show the rest of the country that they are, in fact, the real deal against a team they haven’t beaten in years.

Meanwhile, the Cardinal, who have won two of the past four national championships, are ranked No. 14 nationally after dropping a 2-1 stunner at home to Oregon State last week — the first time the Beavers had ever won there. Stanford, whose only other losses were at No. 4 Duke and at No. 5 North Carolina, certainly will be looking to assert itself once again and avoid dropping six points back of the top of the table so early in the season.

One thing seems certain: There will be goals. Maybe lots of them. These are the top two scoring teams in the Pac-12, with nearly identical offensive stats:

I suppose there’s always the chance that both teams are wary of the other’s potent attack and the game gets a little cagey, but I’d actually bet on the opposite — women’s college soccer is pretty wide open by nature, and I’d lean toward this one being a track meet up and down the pitch with lots of chances for both teams.

The weather should be gorgeous, which hopefully will mean a big crowd and lots of home field energy backing the Cougs.

LINKS

Taking a crack at the Cardinal - Washington State University Athletics
The Cougs host #14 Stanford Thursday with early Pac-12 title implications.

Surprising Beavers occupy top spot in Pac-12 North
CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) — Oregon State's climb under coach Jonathan Smith has led the Beavers to uncharted territory. They head to Washington State this week as the only undefeated team in conference play in the Pac-12 North, the first time the Beavers have ever been in sole possession of the division’s top spot.

WSU’s front now being disruptive | Sports | dnews.com
One of them has finally shaken off some rust. Another is learning to complement his ample energy with finer technique.

Cougs look to keep winning ways against Oregon State - YakTriNews.com

Washington State’s fast-improving defense to be measured by Oregon State’s ground game | Washington State University | nbcrightnow.com
The most impressive quality of this Washington State defense, according to Jake Dickert, is how quickly it adapted.

Washington State notes: Oregon State earned Cougs' respect | Washington State University | nbcrightnow.com
Washington State coach Nick Rolovich respects Jonathan Smith’s persistence and Oregon State’s patience.

Washington State Opens Homestand Saturday Against Oregon State - Washington State University Athletics
Kick off is set for Saturday at 1 p.m. on the Pac-12 Network.

WSU Athletics Announces Procedures for Vaccine Verification at Gesa Field - Washington State University Athletics
Vaccine verification procedures will be implemented at Gesa Field beginning Oct. 9.

Volleyball heads to the Copper State to face ASU, Arizona - Washington State University Athletics
The Cougs look to get back on track with their first Pac-12 road trip.

Cougs Round Out the Fighting Irish Classic - Washington State University Athletics
SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Redshirt senior Max Sekulic posted his second top-25 finish of the season, as he finished the Fighting Irish Classic in a tie for 25th on the