Cougars ousted from NCAA women’s soccer tourney
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – A rematch on Friday between the Washington State and University of Virginia women’s soccer teams in the second round of the NCAA tournament was a far cry from the first meeting on Sept. 20, when Washington State was able to wrangle a tie with the eighth-ranked Cavaliers.
This night the final score ended with Virginia eliminating Washington State 3-0 on a night when the temperature fell below freezing.
The match was a contrast in styles, with the Cougars playing a solid defensive game, while the Cavaliers doggedly attacked for the full 90 minutes.
Virginia finished with 22 shots while WSU struggled to get its only shot with 2 minutes left in regulation on Ali Fenter’s header that went wide to the left.
The shutout extended Cavalier Chantel Jones’ NCAA record to 46.
Washington State coach Matt Potter made no excuses.
“I don’t want take anything away from Virginia … they played some possession-based soccer that we all aspire to, and they were the better team on the night,” Potter said.
The first goal for Virginia came 16 minutes into the game, when Lauren Alwine was able to knee volley a loose ball that had been crossed by Morgan Brian, Brian’s seventh assist on the season.
Then in the 30th minute, Alwine made a strong low cross from the far corner as Douglas added to the lead by burying the ball in the back of the net.
As the temperature fell to the freezing mark, Virginia (16-4-2) kept the pressure on through the first half, and any thought that the cold or the lead would cause the Cavaliers to let up in the second half disappeared when Caroline Miller delivered the back-breaking third goal in the 57th minute.
Molly Menchel earned the assist when she served up a high cross that Miller trapped and shot to the far post, past the diving Gurveen Clair of WSU.
The Cougars never gave up. As the clock wound down, they played with the same tenacity as they did from the kickoff.
Washington State won only seven matches last year, but it finished this season at 12-7-4. Only Penn State, with an improvement of 7 1/2 wins, entered the 2011 NCAA championship with a better improvement over last season.
“We have a lot to be proud of at what we have accomplished this year,” Potter said.
The Cougars’ Ali Fenter finished her career with 86 matches played and started, both school records.