Oct. 3, 2006
THIS WEEK: Washington State (5-3-2) closes out its non-conference schedule traveling to Portland, Ore., to face the defending National Champion No. 6 Portland Pilots (9-2-1) Thursday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. at Merlo Field...Cougars return to Lower Soccer Field Sunday, Oct. 8, to open Pacific-10 Conference play against rival Washington Huskies (5-6-0) at noon.
HEAD COACH Matt Potter SAYS: "Any time you have a chance to play a defending National Champion, it is a privilege. They are where we want to be and to test yourself against that tradition is an environment any true competitor would want to have the opportunity to experience. Portland has a great reputation and history and the current staff is doing a very impressive job both on and off the field. The atmosphere will be intense and we will look to perform to our potential. Practice has gone well and the break has given us an opportunity to reenergize and take stock of who, what and why we are capable of a great second half of the season.
"Pac-10 play starting always gets the adrenaline going. It's a great time of year on campus and we know you have to bring your best efforts, perform every game and that anything is possible come conference play. Last year we had a great ending to the conference season with three wins and we will look to build on that. To start with our cross-state rival always brings an extra incentive and it will be a stern test. Lesle [Gallimore] is a true role model and under her tutelage her team has responded well to the tough season last year and is back to winning ways. It will be a great game and one that should be a great ambassador for the women's college game. It will be nice to play at home again and we look forward to playing in front of or home crowd and support."
LAST TIME OUT: The Cougars headed to Seattle for the Pac-10/Mountain West Challenge hosted by Washington...WSU recorded a 1-0 loss to New Mexico in the opening game of the tournament Sept. 21...Cougars battled then ranked No. 23 BYU to a 1-1 double-overtime tie Sept. 22...senior defender Angela Fajardo tallied the first goal of her Cougar career in the contest.
POTTER SAYS: "The weekend in Seattle left us with mixed emotions. Not in the results, but in the way I felt both scenarios were in our control. In New Mexico we lacked the killer instinct to finish off some good soccer but again credit to the work of Kit [Vela], Jorge [Vela] and their team for getting it done. In BYU, to be as close as we were, we know we have to finish it off but by no means a bad result against a very well coached and talented team.
"With the schedule planned the way it was, it was nice to get an opportunity to regroup, reenergize and take stock of how far we have come as a group. We used the time wisely in preparation for the second half of the season and are ready to get underway."
SCOUTING THE PILOTS: The Cougars take on defending National Champion No. 6 Portland (9-2-1) Thursday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. at Merlo Field...WSU is 0-10-0 overall against Portland and dropped the last meeting (2004) 2-0...Pilots come off a 3-0 victory against Oregon Oct. 1 and a 5-0 win over Washington Sept. 29...Pilots have allowed just six goals against so far this season and have tallied 39 against 12 opponents...Portland returns 16 letterwinners and eight starters from a 2005 squad that had a 23-0-2 overall record en route to the 2005 NCAA Championship...Garrett Smith enters his fourth year as Associate Director of Soccer and his 15th season overall with the Portland program...Smith has a 61-7-4 record with the Pilots and a 17-2-2 record in West Coast Conference play...Portland's top players include sophomore midfielder Megan Rapinoe and junior defender Stephanie Lopez...Rapinoe, a 2005 All-American and U.S. National Team member, leads the team with 10 goals and two assists...Lopez is a two-time All-American and current captain of the Under-20 U.S. National Team.
SCOUTING THE HUSKIES: Washington State faces cross-state rival Washington (5-6-1) Sunday, Oct. 8 at noon...Cougars are 6-7-2 overall against the Huskies and currently boast a two-game winning streak...Huskies coming off 5-0 loss to Portland Sept. 29 and 1-0 victory over New Mexico Sept. 22...2006 marks Washington's 13th campaign under head coach Lesle Gallimore who has a 130-96-17 record with the program...Huskies return 15 letterwinners and nine starters from 2005 squad...sophomore Melissa Beal leads the 2006 Huskies with three goals, two game-winning, and three assist...senior keeper Kelsey Rasmussen has posted three shutouts in 2006 and has made 51 saves in 953 minutes of play.
UP NEXT: The Cougars travel to Oregon State and Oregon for their first full weekend of conference play...face the Beavers Friday, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m...take on Ducks Sunday, Oct. 15 at 1 p.m.