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Gonzaga University Athletics

Cougs among best

WSU women one of just 11 unbeaten teams in country

The season just keeps getting better for the Washington State women’s soccer team.

After a 4-0 victory at UC Irvine on Sunday that wrapped up the nonconference portion of their season, the Cougars are 7-0-2 and one of just 11 unbeaten teams in the country.

“We played well from beginning to end,” coach Keidane McAlpine said. “We had our best performance of the season. We beat a good team today because we gave a complete team effort.”

Along the way, senior forward Micaela Castain needed just three minutes to add her 10th goal of the season. Castain’s assist in the 88th minute to Mesa Owsley gave Castain 2.67 points per match, which ranks third in the country.

Castain has goals in her last four matches; she’s only the fourth Cougar to accomplish that feat.

On the other end of the field, WSU has conceded just three goals in nine matches, ranking seventh in Division I.

Next up for the 22nd-ranked Cougars: Pac-12 action, starting with a match at Oregon on Thursday night.

The conference competition looks daunting. Stanford (7-0-1) is ranked sixth, and UCLA (8-1-0) is 11th.

Eastern Washington: The Eagles also ended their nonconference season on a high note, defeating North Dakota State 3-0 Sunday afternoon in Fargo, N.D., to close out the Doublewood Inn Classic with a third-place finish.

Junior forward Cassie Black scored her 17th career goal, tying the school record set by Whitney Brannan and Britney Sparks.

The Eagles (2-7) “Didn’t let our lead slip away today in the second half like we have in the past, and for that I’m really proud of the team,” said coach George Hageage, whose club opens Big Sky action on Thursday at Idaho State.

Gonzaga: The Bulldogs are 3-4-1 after outshooting Nevada 29-8 yet settling for a scoreless, double-overtime tie on Sunday at the Gonzaga Soccer Field.

Gonzaga dominated the majority of the match, holding a 9-1 advantage in shots after the first half, 21-8 after regulation and had an 8-0 advantage in overtime.

Idaho: The Vandals’ 0-7 start is a thing of the past after a 3-1 win Sunday against Western Athletic Conference newcomer Grand Canyon.

“It was a scrappy win, but we’ll take it any way it comes,” coach Pete Showler said. “In parts it was good. In other spots we still have areas to improve upon.”

Whitworth: Tiara Pajimola’s sixth goal of the season lifted visiting Whitworth to a 1-0 win at Willamette in Northwest Conference action on Sunday.

The Pirates improved to 5-2-1 overall and 2-1-1 in the NWC.  The Bearcats dropped to 2-5, 0-3.

Whitworth returns home to host league-leading Linfield next Saturday and Pacific on Sunday in a pair of NWC contests.

Gonzaga men: Bouncing back from a tough loss two days earlier, the Bulldogs defeated Wisconsin 2-0 on Sunday to finish second in the UIC Soccer Classic in Chicago.

The Zags had lost 1-0 to host University of Illinois-Chicago.

“It was so disappointing on Friday because we were all over them, but the guys bounced back,” coach Einar Thorarinsson said.

The Bulldogs (4-2) got the only goal they would need midway through the first half Sunday when Lars Ludwigs scored on a penalty kick for his second goal of the season, both of them match winners.

Whitworth men: An untimely red card forced visiting Whitworth to play most of its overtime contest at Willamette with only 10 players and the Pirates could not prevent the hosts from rallying for a 3-2 NWC win on Sunday afternoon.

The Pirates dropped to 3-2-1 overall and 1-1 in the NWC while Willamette improved to 5-1-1, 1-0-1.