Despite Elyse Bennett getting into a one-on-one situation with Bruins goal keeper Lauren Bryzykcy in the 110th minute, Washington State (10-2-4, 4-1-2) was unable to get a golden goal against No. 8 UCLA (13-0-4, 5-0-4). It was good for WSU to get a result against a team its trying to keep pace with in conference play; but a win (and three points) would have helped the Cougars keep pace in the conference race and been a major boost to their tournament resume.
Bennett’s shot was Washington State’s best opportunity in overtime as she managed to get past her defender, it was unfortunate that the shot sailed wide. If she’d been able to convert on Senior Night it would have been a very special moment for the fifth year senior on her last match at the Lower Soccer Field. It came after she’d received a yellow card for unsporting in the 102nd minute.
The game almost ended two minutes earlier when Reilyn Turner got behind the Cougar defense in the 108th and ended up in a one-on-one situation with goal keeper Nadia Cooper. Cooper made the decision to play aggressive defense in the box and came out to face Turner head on; it was a decision that paid off beautifully for the freshmen.
Washington State forced overtime in the 55th minute when Sydney Studer — whom also played in her last match on the Palouse — when she sniped it into the upper right corner of the net from the top of the box as the equalizer. It was a huge moment for Studer as that goal was the moment that sent the game to overtime and helped her squad get a result from this match; which was huge if the Cougars are going to be able to extend the season into the NCAA Tournament.
Neither squad was able to establish consistent possession throughout the match, or a large advantage in shots as the Bruins had 16 (six on goal) while WSU had 13 (six on goal). This was in stark contrast to the match on Friday where Washington State clearly dominated the match but was unable to score goals on its opportunities. UCLA held WSU’s offense in check and was one of the few squads that have been able to outshoot Todd Shlenburger’s squad throughout this season.
The Cougars NCAA tournament odds are narrowing with each match as they still lack that signature win; and have that loss to Seattle U which is in the midst of a down season. Washington State will close out the rest of the season with three straight road matches — at Oregon (10/28), at Oregon State (10/30), and at Washington (11/5). Both Oregon and Oregon State are in the top 50 in RPI, No. 37 and No. 22 respectively, which means they will be insanely tough road games. But if WSU can pick up a win in one of those two matches it would go a long way to building their tournament resume.
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Photo Credit: WSU Soccer