WSU comes 0-0-1 with a draw in the first game of the record season; The Eagles enter the game 0-2-0
WSU Football will host Eastern Washington at 6 p.m. Saturday at Lower Soccer Field. The WSU last hosted Eastern on February 12, where it won a decisive 4-1 victory over the Eagles.
The game, originally scheduled for 1 p.m. Sunday, was rescheduled for Wednesday after both teams agreed to the change.
The WSU finished the spring 2021 season with an overall record of 6-3-3, 2-2-3 at the Pac-12 conference. This season, WSU has played two games, opening against the Idaho Vandals in an exhibition game.
After that, the Cougars tied Arkansas State 1-1 in front of a crowd of 3,147 on August 19, breaking the all-time attendance record at Lower Soccer Field. WSU head coach Todd Shulenberger said he was grateful for all the support given in the last game.
“This is what varsity athletics is meant to be,” he said. “That’s the goal of Pullman, Washington. We had a lot of success here, and the crowd came to support us through our sports department, our marketing team. Everyone participated. “
WSU was aggressive throughout the game and managed to take 39 shots, which ranks fourth overall in the program’s history. Despite the many attempts, Arkansas State goalie Megan McClure stopped almost all of the Cougars’ shots.
“We suffered a lot against Arkansas State,” said Shulenberger. “Once again, let’s face it, this goalie was incredible. Player of all conferences and one of the best goalies in America. Now we have to put the ball in the net.
Despite the draw, Shulenberger is confident. He said the team is in a good position even with what happened on Friday night; they are full of energy and can’t wait to win on Saturday. The team will focus on scoring goals and being more confident.
Shulenberger said the team are taking things game by game and looking to improve. The team are working to consolidate what they can do to improve and what they need to focus on to be ready for Pac-12 play, including scoring goals and being more confident in front of goal.
Pre-season training was “the normal routine,” Shulenberger said. The Cougars worked on their offense, defense, relationships, positions, training and chemistry on and off the field.
The Cougars have an impressive streak against the Eagles, having won all six games they have played against them since 1998. Eastern is 0-2-0 this season.
The Eagles lost to Gonzaga 4-0 in their opener on August 19 at Spokane. They suffered another loss to Arkansas State, losing 1-0 at home on August 21. East goalie Kelsee Winston recorded 16 saves and played 90 minutes in both games for the Eagles.
Junior defenseman Jordyn King was also a big factor for Eastern and played every minute of both games. Meanwhile, junior defenseman Janae Lee played 176 minutes for the Eagles while second-year midfielder Madison Kem played 170 minutes.
The Cougars have their own talented players. Last year, three players took home All-Pac-12 honors. Makamae Gomera-Stevens took second team honors while Elyse Bennett and Mykiaa Minniss took third team honors. Bennett and Minniss returned to play for the Cougars this season.
Shulenberger has confidence in his team. He said that although the most regular players are the older ones, he has been impressed with around 16 players so far in the first two games of the season.
“I like our depth. I like the rotations right now, ”he said. “It’s just about figuring out what each player needs to do to perform at the highest level. But I think overall we’ve all been good.