Aug. 4, 2010
PULLMAN, Wash. - Coming off back-to-back NCAA postseason appearances for the first time in school history, the Washington State University women's soccer team opened practice, Wednesday at Lower Soccer Field.
The Cougars, who advanced to the NCAA Second Round last season, held two sessions in preparation for their season opener at home, Aug. 20 against perennial national power Florida State in the WSU Invitational (3 p.m.).
Washington State has 15 returnees from the 2009 squad that tied the school record with 14 victories. The victory total was one of 22 school records set or tied last season. Added to the crop of veterans are 13 newcomers (12 freshmen, one transfer).
Nationally-ranked for a school record eight weeks last season, the Cougars pride themselves on being stingy defensively. Last season, Washington State set a school record with 11 shutouts. Six of the clean sheets came on the road where the Cougars were victorious eight times, both school records.
Senior Meghan Berlingo was in net for 13 wins and eight shutouts in 2009, both marks equaling school records. Berlingo's 0.72 goals against average ranks second on the Cougar single-season list and helped her earn All-Pacific-10 Conference Second Team accolades.
In addition to Berlingo, Washington State returns nine letterwinners who started at least one match last season, including four who logged at least 20 starts. On the backline, senior Ashley Johnson, junior Ali Fenter and sophomore Mariah Cameron all return. Johnson and Fenter have each started all 43 matches for the Cougars over the last two seasons and Cameron was a member of the Pac-10 All-Freshman team a year ago.
Also back is fifth-year senior midfielder Mallory Fox who has a chance to set the Cougar career record for matches played and started this season. The Scottsdale, Ariz., native scored the goal in Washington State's 1-0 victory over Villanova in last season's NCAA First Round. The goal is one of five game-winners in Fox's career. Junior Jacquelyn Roth is another returner in the midfield. She recorded seven of her nine-career assists in 2009 and has started 27 matches in her career.