Nov. 19, 2003
The Washington State soccer team had a season filled with adversity, triumphs, outstanding individual performances and team achievements. The Cougars faced a schedule that was ranked in the top five, including playing No. 1 North Carolina in their season opener Aug. 29. Of the 19 teams WSU played, 13 made the postseason and eight were nationally-ranked when the Cougs played them. Washington State finished with a 6-11-2 overall record and 2-5-2 in Pacific-10 play, finishing eighth in the Pac-10.
"There are a lot of qualities you can't measure," WSU Head Soccer Coach Matt Potter said. "I was extremely excited by the day to day efforts and dedication of the team. I am also excited at the contribution and impact of players coming off the bench. Together these qualities will help us to grow in the future.
"We talked about being open minded and willing to embrace change at the beginning of the year and through the course of the season we have seen that with a little more consistency we could be where we wanted to be at the end of the season.
"Overall we are not satisfied with where we ended the season because we want to be a post season team," Potter added. "We showed that we can compete with the best and now we have to learn and develop the habits which will help us achieve our goals. On the basis of that, we have a lot of positives to take forward."
New Coaching Staff Joins WSU: With less than a month before WSU's exhibition game Potter took over the head soccer coaching position, replacing Dan Tobias who left for Arizona, to coach a team that returned 21 letterwinners and nine starters, including eight seniors from the 2002 squad. Potter brought on Pete Leebrook and former WSU standout goalkeeper Lindsey Jorgensen to complete the Cougar coaching staff.
Cougars Beat Women's World Cup Team: WSU started off the season with a 2-1 exhibition victory over the Ghana National Team Aug. 18. The Ghana squad made it through World Cup qualifying to win a game in the 2003 Women's World Cup. Senior forward Shelby Brownfield, assisted by Christie Spear scored the first goal for the Cougars. Rachel Rodrick, another senior forward, scored at the 70:05 mark for the game-winner.
Game Highlights: On the road at the adidas Wake Forest tournament, Rodrick scored the game-winner to upset then No. 10 Duke 1-0 Sept. 14. Despite a 2-5-2 record in the Pac-10 WSU proved to be a force in the conference pulling off wins over Oregon Oct. 17, and Stanford Nov. 2. The Cougs posted a 1-0 victory over Stanford. The win marked only the second time the Cougs have beaten Stanford in 13 meetings, and the first time Washington State has won at Stanford. WSU also continued its unbeaten streak against California, tying the Golden Bears 0-0 at Berkeley Oct. 31.
Home and Away: The Ghana match was one of five victories at home for the Cougars, who finished 4-3-1 in Pullman. WSU beat Montana, New Mexico, Idaho State and Oregon at home during the regular season. Of the 11 games WSU played on the road this year, 10 squads qualified for the 2003 College Cup. The Cougs played eight nationally ranked teams on the road including No. 1 North Carolina, No. 10 Duke, No. 3 Texas A&M, No. 16 Texas, No. 23 Maryland, No. 3 UCLA, No. 25 USC and No. 22 Washington.
Individual Accomplishments: Senior defender Mariette Boyce and redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Katie Hultin earned All-Pac-10 honorable mention accolades for their performances this season. Boyce has been a staple in the Cougar defense for the past four years, starting every game she has played, only missing one contest since her freshman year. Hultin posted six shutouts, third best in the Pac-10, recording 64 saves in 15 games. She led the conference in save percentage at .842. Hultin was also fourth in the Conference of Champions in goals against average with .84 goals allowed per game.
Nicole Wilcox, a senior forward who led the Cougs in points with five goals and two assists, was named to the Academic All-District VIII first-team posting a 3.89 GPA in communication. The Cougars have been strong academically and continued the tradition this year nominating eight players for Academic All-American awards.
Rodrick scored three game-winning goals this season, finishing the season with five goals and one assist. She moved up in the WSU all-time career record list taking over the third place spot in career goals with 23, a tie for third in points with 59 and a tie for fifth in assists with 13.
WSU Says Goodbye to Seniors: WSU featured eight seniors were on the 2002 squad including Brownfield, Boyce, Rodrick, Wilcox, Sara Leibowitz, Kim Morgan, Shelby Brownfield, Shay Hobby and Jenna Wirtz. In 19 matches, five played in every game and four have started every contest. The senior class combined for 13 of the Cougar's 16 goals this season.
"With the loss of such a key group of players (seniors), the window of opportunity is there for all to seize upon," Potter said. "They are tough roles to fill but with the group we have I am excited and confident that they will take their opportunity to shine. Change can be good, if we choose to make the most of it."