Cougs uncork Texas two-step

Washington State University not only fashioned an impressive two-game sweep of its opponents during last weekend’s swing through the Lone Star State, but it built on its solid defensive numbers as well.

The Cougars (6-2) strutted in to Austin, Texas, slapped a 4-0 loss on Texas and then backed up that win up by blanking Stephen F. Austin 5-0 in a game played in Nacogdoches, Texas.

Coach Matt Potter made his team’s mission clear after the win over Texas.

“I applaud our student-athletes for their effort tonight,” he said. “We possessed the ball better than we have, and that allowed us to create some scoring opportunities. That said, we know this is only one win, and that does not make our season.

“We still have a lot of work to do.”

That work started two nights later, when senior Kiersten Dallstream scored a pair of goals against SFAU in a game that caused Potter more concern than the final score might have indicated.

“We’re happy to get out of here with a win,” he said after the game. “It’s a very tough environment, and it took us about 15 minutes to settle in.

“Once we did that, we made better passes and created some opportunities on offense.”

Kamiakin connection

George Hageage knows where to look when it comes to recruiting offensive-minded players.

Eastern Washington University’s 10th-year head coach has three players on his roster from Kennewick’s Kamiakin High School. Two of them – junior Brittany Sparks and sophomore Whitney Brannan – are the Eagles’ top two scoring threats.

Sparks scored EWU’s only goal in a 4-1 loss to Idaho over the weekend. It was her fifth of the season and moved her within two of the single-season school record of seven that was set last fall by Lauryn Koelzer. Sparks leads the Big Sky Conference in average points per game (1.25) and goals per game (.62).

Brannan, who has three goals and two assists, leads the Big Sky in shots per game (2.75) and is second to Sparks in points per game with an average of 1.0

The Eagles (2-6) will be coming off a week-long layoff when they entertain San Francisco on Friday.

Turning up the heat

When first-year coach Amy Edwards took over the Gonzaga University women’s program, she promised a wide-open, exciting style of play featuring offensive pressure from one end of the field to the other.

Edwards’ offensive strategy is one that requires plenty of depth at all positions. The Bulldogs (5-3) seem to have plenty, considering the number of shots they have managed to get off during their grueling non-conference schedule.

The Zags launched a season-high 30 shots in a 2-0 win over Eastern Washington earlier this month and 29 in a 3-1 victory over McNeese State. Twelve players took shots at EWU, and 10 fired on net against McNeese.

Idaho cruises along

The University of Idaho (5-4), which caps non-conference play at home with games against South Dakota on Friday and Weber State on Sunday, has equaled its best nine-game start in school history. The 2000 team also started 5-4 and finished with an 11-6-2 record that still stands as the Vandals’ best.

Corner kicks

The three losses suffered by Gonzaga’s women this spring have come against Pacific-10 Conference schools USC, UCLA and Washington State. … Whitworth’s women (6-1, 3-0 Northwest Conference) will face their toughest test of the season Saturday, when they travel to Tacoma to take on NWC rival Puget Sound (5-0, 2-0), which is ranked No. 2 nationally among NCAA Division III teams. … Gonzaga’s men, after losing to New Mexico 3-0 in Sunday’s finale of the Nike/TLC Plumbing and Utilities tournament, will be idle until Oct. 2, when they open West Coast Conference play at Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, Calif.

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