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Soccer notes: Vandals reboot for WAC tourney

The University of Idaho women’s soccer team won’t have to wait long for a chance at redemption.

The Vandals, who blew a chance to clinch the regular-season Western Athletic Conference championship by dropping a 1-0 overtime decision to Fresno State at home Sunday, will get another shot at the Bulldogs in Thursday’s opening round of the six-team 2010 WAC tournament in Ruston, La.

Idaho, which finished 14-6 overall and 5-3 in conference play, will make its initial postseason appearance as the No. 3 seed and will be looking for its first win in seven matches against sixth-seeded FSU (7-8-4, 3-3-2 WAC).

The winner of Thursday’s match, which kicks off at 9:30 a.m., will advance to face No. 2 seed Utah State (9-6-5, 5-2-1), which tied top-seeded San Jose State (11-7-1, 5-2-1) for the regular-season conference title that eluded Idaho, in a 9:30 a.m. semifinal showdown Friday.

Despite a couple of stumbles the Vandals took down the stretch run of their WAC schedule, Idaho coach Peter Showler likes his team’s postseason chances.

“We’re still a good soccer team, and now is our time to go prove it and try to win three games,” Showler said. “The girls know what’s required of them, and they’ve produced time and time again.

“So, we’ve just got to go out and play. That’s what’s gotten us 14 wins this season and puts us where we are today.”

Should they manage to finally beat Fresno State, the Vandals should be brimming with confidence after having beaten two – San Jose State and host Louisiana Tech – of the other four teams in the tournament during the regular season.

Cougs lose against UW

Washington State (6-13, 1-7 in the Pac-10), which was ranked 21st in the NSACAA preseason poll on Aug. 10, will drop the curtain on a disappointing season Friday when it entertains archrival Washington (11-7-1, 4-4) in a match that kicks off at 1:30 p.m.

The Cougars are alone in last place in the Pac-10 Conference standings, one-half game behind the Arizona Wildcats (5-11-2, 1-6), who play their final two matches at home against UCLA on Friday and Southern California on Sunday.

Corner kicks

Eastern Washington’s Lyndsey Martin, a senior defender, and Brittney Sparks, a senior forward, were second-team selections on the All-Big Sky teams announced Tuesday. … Nine of WSU’s 13 losses have come against nationally ranked teams. … By virtue of their 1-0 win over visiting Linfield on Sunday, Whitworth’s women moved within one point of the Wildcats and into sole possession of second in the Northwest Conference standings. The Pirates (13-5-1, 11-3-1) close out regular-season play at home against Lewis & Clark, while Linfield (13-5, 11-3) has two matches remaining.