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NOVEMBER 20, 2008

While the Washington State soccer season is over as a team, junior Kiersten Dallstream is still in action. The Fountain Hills, Ariz., native is playing on the United States Under-20 Women's National Team at the World Cup in Chile.

Yesterday, the Americans opened group play with a 3-0 victory over France. Dallstream started and played the enite game on defense for the USA. She had a hand in the Americans' first goal making the first of two passes that led to the tally. However, FIFA does not award assists and U.S. Soccer only credits the first assist. It would have been a scorer's decision whether or not to credit Dallstream with a point in a collegiate match, but given the rules in place for the international event, it was not an option.

The United States is back in compeition, Saturday at 7 a.m. Pacific against Argentina. A victory for the Americans would clinch a spot in the tournament's quarterfinals.

As always, GO COUGS!

Craig Lawson, WSU Assistant Athletic Media Relations Director


NOVEMBER 14, 2008 (WSU vs. TEXAS)
5 p.m. - The weather is cool, but clear. There are about 200 Cougar fans by my estimate in the crowd and the NCAA Championship is underway in Portland. Among those I saw in attendance are WSU Head Men's Basketball Coach Tony Bennett's wife, Laurel and Kim Bonnes, a member of the Cougar soccer team from 2004-07.

About 19 minutes in, the Cougars register their first shot on a header by junior Carly Dobratz at the top of the box after freshman Maggie Dougher served a free kick. Both teams have taken turns controlling possession.

Four minutes later, WSU generates some pressure off back-to-back corners, but a foul in the 24th minute gives the ball back to Texas.

Texas is awarded a corner in the 27th minute, much to the dismay of the Cougar coaching staff. The threat is turned away when Dobratz heads the ball out of the box, then controls it, and clears it past midfield. Late in the 28th minute, Kylie Doniak blasts a shot high from 22 yards out. The Longhorns hold a 3-1 advantage in shots right now.

Nearly 36 minutes in and the second "Let's Go Cougars" chant has broken out among the Crimson and Gray contingent in the stands. In the 40th minute, coach Potter goes to the bench for the first time as Tiara Pittman replaces fellow freshman Lani Amack. Pittman makes an impact less than a minute later has dribbles from the left wing around two defenders into the box and her effort produces a corner kick for the Cougars.

In the 42nd minute, redshirt-sophomore Mallory Fox put a left-footed shot from 20 yards out wide left. With about 25 seconds left in the half, Dobratz sends a shot over the crossbar from about 25 yards out and the we enter intermission 0-0.

Five minutes into the second half, Pittman drives a cross from the left baseline that is cleared by the Texas defense.

At 51:03, the Longhorns break through on a goal by Emily Anderson. She won a ball in the left side as Cougar junior defender Maggie Dougher went to the ground. Anderson then dribbled past a WSU defender into the box on the right side and beat sophomore goalkeeper Lindsay Parlee to the lower left corner.

In the 56th minute, junior Caeli Abeyta enters the match replacing sophomore Emma Stolz. A minute later, Dobratz rockets a shot from the top of the box that is saved by Texas goalkeepr Dianna Pfenninger.

In the 60th minute, Parlee keeps it a one-goal match with a save at the near post off a shot from Doniak following a Texas corner kick.

Amack returns to the match replacing junior Jenny Christoph in the 62nd minute. In the 64th minute, Abeyta picks up a yellow card. Stolz checks back in replacing Abeyta in the 67th minute.

A Texas foul gives WSU a free kick just across midfield in the 69th minute. Dougher plays the ball into the box, but the Longhorns clear the ball before the Cougars can get a shot off.

Christoph replaces Pittman in the 74th minute. Less than 30 seconds later, Dobratz is whistled for a foul in Texas territory along the near sideline and is issued a yellow card when she protests the call.

Sophomore defender Ashley Johnson is slow to get up after a collision in the Cougar box during the 75th minute and play is stopped briefly.

In the 79th minute, Stolz and a Texas player battled for a ball on the far sideline that goes out of bounds to the Longhorns. Stolz shows some frustration and picks up a yellow card. A few moments later, freshman Megan Chapin makes her first appearance of the match and Christoph exits.

Pittman re-enters for Chapin the 85th minute. About 30 seconds later, a hard foul on Leah Payne of Texas results in a yellow card. Early in the 86th minute, junior Elysse Van Leer fires a shot just wide of the near post from 30 yards out. In the 88th minute, Dobratz turns and puts a shot right on net from 22 yards out that is corralled by Pfenninger.

6:51 p.m. - The horn sounds and Texas has earned a 1-0 victory. The game recap will be up soon.

As always, GO COUGS!

Craig Lawson, WSU Assistant Athletic Media Relations Director


NOVEMBER 14, 2008 (PART THREE)
2:44 p.m. - Steve Robertello, coach Potter and I arrive at the Chiles Center, home of Portland's athletics offices as well as their basketball and volleyball teams. As Steve is paying the cab driver, Texas is right behind us in a rented SUV. We definitely have the feeling of the blue-collar underdog.

3:54 p.m. - Our tournament meeting is over. The officials just finished their walk around the field. I had a chance to visit with Ashley Walker, the Texas sports information contact who is a WSU grad. She and I worked with Cougars men's basketball two years ago. Portland has been a very gracious host. We have two lockerrooms, one in the Chiles Center for pregame and postgame and one just off the field for halftime.

4 p.m. - Our team has just arrived. As I sit in the press box, I can give you a quick update of other tournament scores. The NCAA seeds the top four teams in each of the four brackets (groups of 16).

In the Notre Dame bracket, No. 2 Florida State drilled Mississippi State 7-0, No. 3 Boston College blanked Cenral Connectictut State 3-0 and South Dakota State pulled the first upset of the tournament by knocking off No. 4 Colorado 1-0. Michigan State also defeated Milwaukee 2-1.

In the Stanford bracket, which is ours, No. 3 Wake Forest eliminated Morehead State 2-0 and No. 3 Oklahoma State slipped past Fairfied 1-0.

In the UCLA bracket, No. 2 Virginia advanced past Army 2-0 and No. 3 Duke dominated Radford 5-1. They join No. 4 USC and BYU, who both won yesterday, in the second round.

In the North Carolina bracket, the top-seeded Tar Heels routed Western Carolina 5-0, No. 2 Florida overcame an early goal to beat California 2-1, Washington rallied from two goals down to beat LSU 3-2 in overtime, and Illinois scored in the 103rd minute to beat Memphis 1-0 in double overtime.

As always, GO COUGS!

Craig Lawson, WSU Assistant Athletic Media Relations Director


NOVEMBER 14, 2008 (PART TWO)
2 p.m. - Gametime is now three hours away! The tournament is in full swing with matches underway at Notre Dame, Minnesota, Boston College, Auburn, Wake Forest, Duke, Virginia, Florida, Texas A&M and North Carolina. Two Pac-10 schools, California and Washington, are currently playing. The Golden Bears took a 1-0 at Florida in the fourth minute, but the Gators tied the match in the 16th minute. The team are tied 1-1 at the half. Washington and LSU are less than a minute into their match being played at Texas A&M. In other matches that have had goals already, Florida State leads Mississippi Valley State 7-0 at Auburn with about 20 minutes to go, Boston College leads 2-0 at home against Central Connecticut State just after intermission, and in a surprise, South Dakota State holds a 1-0 advantage at the half over Colorado at Minnesota. Steve Robertello, our associate director of athletics who oversees soccer, coach Potter, and I are leaving via taxi at 2:30 p.m. for a tournament meeting. The team will head to Portland on the bus a little later.

As always, GO COUGS!

Craig Lawson, WSU Assistant Athletic Media Relations Director


NOVEMBER 14, 2008 (PART ONE)
It is gameday in Portland!

9:22 a.m. - My phone rings. It is assistant coach Allison Scurich. She informs me the team will not do a walkthrough at Portland since we are already familiar with the facility having been there each of the last two days.

10:41 a.m. - The team enters the lobby having returned from a jog in the area surrounding our hotel.

11:22 a.m. - Cori Metzgar-Deacon, the team's strength and conditioning coach, arrives at the hotel. Shortly thereafter, the team heads to lunch. Kickoff is less than six hours away. You can follow live stats by clicking the "Schedule/Results" tab on the soccer page and clicking "Gametracker" in the box to the right with a capsule about our match against Texas, or you can click HERE. If you are interested in following the entire tournament, you can visit www.ncaa.com. Matches today begin at 1 p.m. Pacific. I also plan to provide updates as often as the NCAA rules allow me to during our match.

As always, GO COUGS!

Craig Lawson, WSU Assistant Athletic Media Relations Director


NOVEMBER 13, 2008 (PART TWO)
The Pacific-10 Conference named its season honorees and five Cougars are among those receiving recognition. The full story is on the front page of women's soccer.

4:52 p.m. - Defending national champion USC just defeated Boston 2-0 in Provo, Utah and the first game of the 2008 NCAA Championship is history. The game was 0-0 at halftime before the Trojans found the net twice in the second half.

5:15 p.m. - We leave the hotel for dinner. This time Macaroni Grill is the destination. On the way to the restaurant, coach Potter and his assistant Jason Goodson are discussing some of the match-ups we will face tomorrow.

5:36 p.m. - We just passed a sign that says there is an accident four miles ahead. I do not think we are going to make the 5:45 p.m. reservation.

5:58 p.m. - The bus drops us off and after a short one-block walk, we are at the restaurant.

7:35 p.m. - After dinner, we make a stop at Safeway. Most of the travel party picks up breakfast for tomorrow.

8:02 p.m. - We are back at the hotel once again. A check of the scoreboard tells us BYU knocked off Virginia Tech 2-0 at home. That makes the West 2-0 in the tournament so far. All that is left tonight is a team meeting to go over the scouting report on Texas. When we wake up tomorrow, it will be gameday!

As always, GO COUGS!

Craig Lawson, WSU Assistant Athletic Media Relations Director


NOVEMBER 13, 2008 (PART ONE)
This morning we woke up to cloudy, but not raining weather. The wind took a few degrees off the temperature, but it is much better than yesterday. The team seems to be a little bit more excited as the first round match draws closer. The tournament starts at 3 p.m. today with USC and Boston playing at BYU. An interesting note I looked up is that the other 63 teams in the tournament average 4.8 seniors on their respective rosters. There are 10 fifth-year seniors in the tournament. Long Beach State, an at-large selection from the Big West Conference, leads the way with 11 seniors. Northern Arizona, which is at our site and hotel, along with South Carolina, each have one senior. What about Washington State you might ask? We have zero, the only team in the tournament without at least one student-athlete in her final year of eligibility. As for our day, here is what has happened so far.

10:13 a.m. - The bus pulls out of the hotel parking lot and we are off to our morning practice. Coach Potter's wife, Olga, and our Senior Woman Administrator Anne McCoy stay behind to go shopping at Target.

10:28 a.m. - Without traffic and rain, our travel time is about half of what it was yesterday and we arrive at the Portland campus. The team makes a quick visit to Merlo Field where we will play Texas tomorrow. It is a nice facility with a press box, a section of reserved seating, and a scoreboard in each corner complete with areas to keep track of corner kicks and shots for each team. We are on a different field practice field than last night. Last night we were on artificial turf, but today we are grass. One of the things being talked about at practice is the ball we are using in the tournament is much lighter than what we use doing the regular season. I have no idea what Texas uses during its regular season, so it is hard to tell if it will have an effect on the match.

11:35 a.m. - Practice is over and we are on the bus heading to lunch. Mike Coco, a former athletic trainer at Washington State, stopped by practice to catch up with the staff who worked with him during his time in Pullman.

11:51 a.m. - The bus drops the team off at The Great Harvest Bread Company in downtown Portland and I remain with our driver, Rodney. We head to the Lloyd Center for a quick trip to the food court. There are just not that many places to park a bus in downtown Portland.

12:34 p.m. - The team reloads the bus for the trip back to the hotel.

12:46 p.m. - We arrive at the hotel. The coaches and most of the staff are headed to the Nike employees store in Beaverton, Ore., and the student-athletes have some free time to rest, do homework, or go shopping.

I will have more later tonight.

As always, GO COUGS!

Craig Lawson, WSU Assistant Athletic Media Relations Director


NOVEMBER 12, 2008 (PART TWO)
The second half of our day has been filled with rain, and I mean a lot of rain.

4:31 p.m. - The bus pulls out of the hotel parking lot headed for the University of Portland campus where we are going to practice.

5:02 p.m. - Due to heavy traffic and the rain, it takes us a while to get to Portland, but we are finally here.

5:47 p.m. - The team had a light practice and everyone is soaked from the rain. It is really coming down and with the wind, the angles of the rain make it worse. We had to work out on the Portland practice field. It is a beautiful facility with artificial turf.

6:16 p.m. - We are back at the hotel and it is time to get ready for dinner. We watched the rest of How to Lose A Guy in 10 Days on the way back from Portland.

7:02 p.m. - Back on the bus and this time the next stop is dinner.

7:15 p.m. - We arrive at the Olive Garden. There are about five parties waiting for tables and they do not look happy when our group of 30-plus people are seated right away. You have to love a reservation. The team is seated at one table while the staff and family members occupy the other. 8:49 p.m. - After breadsticks, salad and pasta, everyone is complaining about being too full and there are several to go boxes headed out the door. Our rooms all have a microwave and a refrigerator, so the only question is whether the leftovers are a midnight snack or breakfast. Our Senior Woman Administrator Anne McCoy thinks to ask the hostess for plastic utensils on the way out and everyone is grateful since pasta is not exacly finger food.

9:02 p.m. - We are back at the hotel. The only thing left tonight is a team meeting. Tomorrow will bring another practice and some interviews. Be sure to catch Matt Potter on Bud, A Fan and The Wingman at 1:45 p.m. tomorrow.

As always, GO COUGS!

Craig Lawson, WSU Assistant Athletic Media Relations Director


NOVEMBER 12, 2008 (PART ONE)
The Washington State soccer team is on the road to take part in the NCAA Women's Soccer Championship. Here is a recap of our journey so far.

8 a.m. - The bus is loading in front of Bohler Gym. Most people look like they are not agreeing with the early morning start and I am certainly one of them.

8:29 a.m. - We had a slight delay trying to obtain a video camera. After a few phone calls and a stop at Beasley Coliseum, we have the camera we need and are leaving campus.

9:14 a.m. - The first movie of the road trip goes in the DVD player. Tina Fey is starring in Baby Mama. I have never heard of the movie, but some people tell me I do not get out enough.

11:22 a.m. - The bus is moving again after a stop in Kennewick for lunch. Most of the team ordered sandwiches at Quiznos, although some went to Taco Bell or Safeway. Steve Robertello, our administrator who oversees soccer, and I opted for Carl's Jr.

1:23 p.m. - While head coach Matt Potter takes a nap as we pass through The Dalles, Ore., his wife Olga and daughter Cassidy are among those excited about the rainbow that is visible out the front window of the bus. It is a majestic wonder with both sides in sight and it feels like we are driving right under the under arch.

1:34 p.m. - The second movie is in the DVD player. This time How to Lose A Guy in 10 Days is the choice. I actually like this one, but there is no way we are going to see the end of it before we arrive at the hotel.

1:40 p.m. - The rain is picking up as we get to Hood River, Ore. To make things more difficult, our bus driver, Rodney, is having to deal with a lane closure due to construction.

2:53 p.m. - After dealing with some bumper-to-bumper traffic in the Portland area, we arrive at our hotel. Northern Arizona and Texas are supposed to be here as well because we are at the tournament hotel, but apparently the Longhorns have opted to stay elsewhere.

3:40 p.m. - It is time to sign off for now. We leave for practice in less than an hour. I will have more after dinner.

As always, GO COUGS!

Craig Lawson, WSU Assistant Athletic Media Relations Director


NOVEMBER 11, 2008
In case you missed the news, the Washington State University soccer team is headed to the NCAA Championship! The Cougars will play Texas in a first round match at 5 p.m., Friday, Nov. 14 in Portland, Ore.

Coming off a weekend sweep of Arizona and Arizona State, Washington State had to wait until 5 p.m., Monday to find out if an at-large bid was extended to the Cougars. When Washington State came up on the screen, the team broke into an earth-shattering cheer. There were hugs, tears of joy, handshakes, and congratulations all around.

The team will leave on a bus in front of Bohler Gym at 8 a.m., tomorrow and I will keep you updated of our journey along the way.

On behalf of Matt Potter, his staff, and the Cougar student-athletes, thank you for your support this season.

As always, GO COUGS!

Craig Lawson, WSU Assistant Athletic Media Relations Director


NOVEMBER 6, 2008
In case you have not heard, Arizona is in town for a big event with the Cougars this weekend. No, I am not talking about the Dads' Day football game, Saturday.

I am referring to the soccer match with the Wildcats on the Lower Soccer Field, Friday. The match has been moved up a half an hour and will start at 1:30 p.m. The Cougars are among nine teams in the conference that take NCAA Tournaments aspirations into the weekend.

Washington State can finish as high as third and as low as low as 10th in the Pac-10; that is how tight this race has been this season. The Cougars are No. 24 in the latest NSCAA poll and No. 44 in the final regular season NCAA Ratings Power Index.

While many conferences tournaments taking place this week will help shape the field of 64 for the postseason, the Pac-10 does not have a conference tournament and its final week of competition involves conference match-ups.

In addition to Arizona, the Cougars will host Arizona State (Sunday at 11 a.m.) this weekend. I know the weather forecast is not the best, but the student-athletes would love to see you out there showing your Cougar spirit.

As always, GO COUGS!

Craig Lawson, WSU Assistant Athletic Media Relations Director


OCTOBER 21, 2008
The Cougar soccer team had its second-straight successful weekend against some of the nation's best competition. Washington State defeated No. 13 California, 2-1 last Friday before falling 3-0 to No. 2 Stanford, Sunday.

Currently, California sits in fourth place at 2-2 in the Pacific-10 while Washington State is 1-2-1 in the conference and in fifth place. The Cougars five remaining matches are against teams below them in the standings while the Golden Bears have three of five matches remaining against teams above them in the standings.

The win over California was the 52nd as head coach of WSU for Matt Potter tying him with Lisa Fraser (1989-93) for the school record.

This week, the Cougars head to Oregon and Oregon State for their final road trip of the season. WSU will take a ranking in each of the four national polls into the matches. It marks the first time in school history the Cougars have been ranked in the all four polls in the same week. It is the third-straight week WSU has been ranked this season and the 10th week overall under coach Potter.

After this weekend, the Cougars return home for the final three matches beginning with a 2 p.m. Halloween battle with the Huskies.

As always, GO COUGS!

Craig Lawson, WSU Assistant Athletic Media Relations Director


OCTOBER 8, 2008
This week, the Cougars are headed to Los Angeles to play two of the best team in the Pacific-10 Conference (UCLA and USC). Both matches will be on Gametracker. Go the schedule/results page for soccer on the www.wsucougars.com web site and you will see a link for Gametracker.

Earlier this week I had an opportunity to talk with redshirt-sophomore Mallory Fox about the upcoming matches and the season.

How do you summarize the season so far?
"Obviously, the first four weeks were really tough because of all the travel, starting school and getting used to each other and know how each other plays. Now, I feel like we are better connected on and off the field."

What is the biggest difference being a player with experience this season?
"I am more confident on the ball. I find myself wanting the ball more."

What are your thoughts about UCLA and USC?
"We don't have anything to lose. We are the underdogs so we can go out and give it everything we have."

Do you think about one match at a time during the season?
"We try to focus one game at a time because it is easier that way. We try to look at one game so they we don't think about playing UCLA and then USC."

How much have the newcomers helped this season?
"They have helped a lot. I thought we were really close last year, but I feel like we have connected a lot. Having a lot of people with playing time has helped us come together better."

As always, GO COUGS!

Craig Lawson, WSU Assistant Athletic Media Relations Director


SEPTEMBER 30, 2008
There are a lot of exciting things happening in the Cougar soccer program this week. Sophomore goalkeeper Lindsay Parlee was named Pacific-10 Conference Player of the Week after notching 10 saves, two wins, a shutout and combining for another shutout last weekend.

The Cougars continued a remarkable streak against Gonzaga and Idaho last weekend. WSU led at halftime in both matches and went on to win. The Cougars are now 58-0-1 all-time at home when leading at halftime.

Speaking of victories, head coach Matt Potter raised his WSU total to 50. He is two shy of Lisa Fraser's school record 52 (1989-93). He goes after No. 51, Friday against Eastern Washington at 3 p.m. in Pullman.

Washington State is the receiving votes section of three national polls this week. The Cougars are ranked sixth in the West region by the NSCAA and eighth by Soccer Buzz.

There is also a new feature on wsucougars.com this season. After each home match, an interview with Matt Potter and a student-athlete will be available free in the All-Access section.

A thank you to the fans at last Friday's match against Gonzaga. Attendance was 712, the largest crowd to see a Cougar soccer victory in Pullman.

See you at the field, Friday.

As always, GO COUGS!

Craig Lawson, WSU Assistant Athletic Media Relations Director


SEPTEMBER 16, 2008
Tomorrow is the home opener for the Washington State women's soccer team (2 p.m. vs. Seattle). If you are wondering if this is later than usual, the answer is yes. The only other time the Cougars' home opener was this late was Sept. 22, 2000 when WSU beat Gonzaga 4-1. In terms of match number, it is the latest home opener after the Cougars played their first-seven opponents away from Pullman.

Another twist is the match is being played Wednesday as opposed to the usual Friday or Sunday (or an occasional Saturday). This is not unprecedented, but it has been a while. In fact, WSU is 6-0-0 all-time in regular season Wednesday matches. The last one was a 6-0 victory at Gonzaga, Oct. 7, 1992. The Cougars have also split a pair of NCAA First Round matches played Wednesday. WSU won at Wisconsin 3-1 in 1994 and lost 1-0 to Montana at home in 2000.

The Montana match was played in the snow and while I was not at any of the others, it is safe to say we are undefeated when playing a Wednesday match in good weather.

The Cougars are still ranked in the West Region by both the NSCAA (seventh) and Soccer Buzz (13th). WSU will look to improve on those rankings with four-straight home matches to conclude its nonconference schedule. WSU has history on its side with a combined 29-1-1 record all-time against its next four opponents (Seattle, Gonzaga, Idaho and Eastern Washington) including a 16-0-1 mark in Pullman.

My personal plea is you have a chance to come out and support the team, do it. Coach Potter is always telling me about the hostile environments we play in and how difficult it is to get wins on the road. There is no reason we can't make Pullman one of those hostile environments.

As always, GO COUGS!

Craig Lawson, WSU Assistant Athletic Media Relations Director


SEPTEMBER 11, 2008
The Cougars left Spokane today for another road trip, their fourth-straight to start the season. Washington State will play No. 21 UC Santa Barbara, Friday and Pepperdine, Sunday.

The Gauchos will be the third-straight nationally-ranked opponent the Cougars play. Last week, the team played well in Knoxville, Tenn., against Illinois and West Virginia and came away with a tie against the Mountaineers.

Cougar Head Coach Matt Potter was not on the trip to Tennessee because he was attending his daughter's wedding. Assistant Coaches Jason Goodson and Allison Scurich took the reigns for the weekend.

"I want to thank Jason and Allison as well as praise their efforts for the work they put in last weekend. I am very proud of our captains for leading the team as well. Our players have done a good job of handling everything ask of them this season."

Following this weekend, the Cougars will be home for four-straight matches to close out the nonconference portion of their schedule. WSU's home opener will be against Seattle, Wednesday, Sept. 17 at 2 p.m.

As always, GO COUGS!

Craig Lawson, WSU Assistant Athletic Media Relations Director


AUGUST 26, 2008
Fresh off a 1-0 win at Montana last Friday in the season opener, the Cougar soccer team travels across the country this week for the JMU-Comfort Inn Invitational in Harrisonburg, Va.WSU will play James Madison at 4:30 p.m. Pacific, Friday and William & Mary at 8 a.m., Sunday.

In doing some research about our opponents this week, I found out some interesting facts and I figured I would share them with you in case you are interested.

I knew several United State Presidents were born in Virginia, but I did not know that one of the nicknames for the Commonwealth is "Mother of Presidents" because four of the first five presidents were born there. Included on the list is James Madison, our nation's fourth president.

As for William & Mary, it is the second oldest college in the United States. According to the school's website, the original plans for the college date back to 1618 (before Harvard), but it was not until 1693 that William & Mary was born when England's King William III and Queen Mary II signed the charter.

Rankings: In this week's national polls, William & Mary is among schools receiving votes by both Soccer Times and the NSCAA. The Cougars are also receiving votes in the NSCAA poll, just five spots out of the top 25.

WSU leaves tomorrow in order to have a day to get adjusted to the Eastern Time Zone, then it's back to the field, Friday.

As always, GO COUGS!

Craig Lawson, WSU Assistant Athletic Media Relations Director


AUGUST 21, 2008
Well, the soccer season is just about here. In less than 24 hours, the Cougars will take the field at Montana. Washington State had success in Missoula last season, winning the season opener 2-1. Cougar Head Coach Matt Potter told me he looks at the game because it is always a challenge to open a season on the road. Not only is WSU playing on the road this weekend, but the Cougars will be away from Pullman for the first four weekends.

Another poll came out today, the Soccer America Top 25. Seven Cougar opponents are ranked, including No. 1 USC, No. 3 UCLA, No. 6 Stanford, No. 10 West Virginia, No. 17 Illinois, No. 19 California, and No. 25 William & Mary. It is obviously going to be a season where a young WSU team will be tested.

Rather than ramble on, I will let you know what the experts think. I spoke with coach Potter about this week and assistant coach Jason Goodson about the season overall. Here are some of their thoughts.

Matt Potter Quotes
(on starting on the road)
"Our team knows if we want to be one of the best teams in the country, we have to play against some of the best. In preparation for the Pac-10, we are obviously doing that with our nonconference schedule. The fact that they're all on the road isn't perfect, but if that's what it takes for this team to get the recognition it deserves, then that's what we are going to do."

(on replacing starters)
"Anytime you lose your starting goalkeeper, your starting central defenders, and your starting central midfield players, there is a core group you look to. The exciting thing is (sophomore) Lindsay Parlee showed she could step in. She had a great year last season; it is just that she played behind a player of Brynn Bemis's caliber. Stephanie Phillips comes from a program that is used to winning and being on a big stage, so that competition has been fun to watch. Whichever way we go, we have options depending upon the situation we find ourselves in that are good solutions for the team. We've had to juggle a little bit with our backline and that's never fun. But, I think the pieces are falling into place."

Jason Goodson Quotes
(on team strengths)
"We have solid attacking forwards and we are going to be good in the air. The leadership of Maggie Dougher, Mallory Fox and Carly Dobratz will be a tremendous asset. I think we will continue to improve because this team has a chip on its shoulder after being passed over for the NCAA Tournament last season."

(on team weaknesses)
"We lost some key personnel from last year's team and we are inexperienced on the backline. We have to sort out how we want to play and figure out where are goals are going to come from. Being away from home for the first month of the season presents a unique challenge that could help or hurt us in the long run."

Be sure to watch the live stats for the Cougars' match at Montana on www.montanagrizzlies.com. The match begins at 4 p.m. Pacific, Friday. Also, the team will be at the Lentil Festival in Pullman, Saturday.

As always, GO COUGS!

Craig Lawson, WSU Assistant Athletic Media Relations Director


AUGUST 17, 2008
The Washington State soccer team held its final intrasquad scrimmage prior to its season-opening match at Idaho next Friday.

The team played three 25-minute periods and the Cougar coaching staff mixed and matched personnel trying to find combinations that will mesh together during the season.

From what I saw, it looks like freshmen Ali Fenter (Spokane) and Jacquelyn Roth (Gilbert, Ariz.) are the leading candidates for starting positions among the newcomers.

There were not a lot of quality scoring opportunities in the first period with the Gray outshooting the Crimson 4-3, corners even 1-1.

There was one scramble on the left-outside edge of the box 21 minutes in that resulted in sophomore Lindsay Parlee (Tualtin, Ore.) making the only save of the half off a shot from freshman Tiara Pittman (Spokane).

In the second period, sophomore Emma Stolz (Woodinville) and freshman Lani Amack (Pleasanton, Calif.) were both aggressive resulting in four combined shots, three of which were saved by Parlee.

The best scoring chance came with about a minute left in the stanza when freshman Megan Chapin (Seattle) played a ball in from the right to the far post for junior Carly Dobratz (Gilbert, Ariz.) that resulted in a corner kick after sophomore Ashley Johnson (Phoenix, Ariz.) cleared it.

In the third period, it was time for "game situations" with Gray having 25 minutes to make up a one-goal deficit in the given scenario.

Redshirt-sophomore Mallory Fox (Scottsdale, Ariz.) pushed up less than a minute in, created a turnover, and forced freshman keeper Stephanie Phillips (Tempe, Ariz.) to make a save.

Eight minutes into the period, Gray's goal by redshirt-sophomore Yvette Strampe (Cheney) was waived off because of an offside.

With 10 minutes to go, Dobratz and junior Kiersten Dallstream (Fountain Hills, Ariz.) fired shots that were saved by Phillips. Three minutes later, Phillips made another save on Dobratz and with four minutes left, Fox played a corner to the near post and Roth's header was just high.

Gray's work finally paid off with three minutes left when Dallstream broke in on the left side and converted on a rebound of her own shot after Phillips made the initial save.

In the final minute, both teams had a chance to break the deadlock. Crimson had three-consecutive corner kicks, the second of which nearly produced a goal when Fenter's header went off a defender before going off the crossbar.

With about 30 seconds left, Dallstream had another opportunity, but her bid for the game-winner sailed just high.

I will have another update this week before the Cougars head to Missoula.

As always, GO COUGS!

Craig Lawson, WSU Assistant Athletic Media Relations Director


AUGUST 15, 2008
The Cougar soccer team is back from Ross Point Camp in Idaho and finished its two-a-day practices this afternoon. I had an opportunity to speak with junior Maggie Dougher and head coach Matt Potter about the experience.

"There were a lot of team-building activities and it was good for the returning players to see the freshmen class outside of soccer," Dougher said. "We've come a long way in not that much time. We have a core group of returners who are sophomore and juniors and it was easy for the freshmen to see how together we are as a team."

Dougher added, "The big thing for us is everyone is capable of leading. We can all draw on our own experiences and contribute to the team. From 1-to-23, we are deeper than we were at the start of last year."

Coach Potter offered, "One of our goals in preseason is to get off campus and reward good work. We want to recognize other parts of the game that will help us through our season whether it be video or individual or group reflection. We had three goals at Ross Point, continue our team training through bonding exercises, explore leadership, and rejuvenate after four-straight double-days. We accomplished those goals with the exceptional help of Rick Debowes and John and Fay Batchelder."

Shifting gears, the preseason National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll is out and several teams on the WSU 2008 schedule are ranked. Defending national champion USC is No. 1 followed by UCLA at No. 2. Stanford is 10th and California is 17th and that is just the Pac-10 opponents.

The Cougars play Illinois (No. 19) and West Virginia (No. 12) in Knoxville, Tenn., Sept. 5/7. William & Mary, WSU's opponent at James Madison, Aug. 31 is among schools receiving votes. The bottom line is if the Cougars produce positive results with this schedule, there is no way you can keep them out of the postseason.

You will have the opportunity to speak with coach Potter, Aug. 19 at 5 p.m. as part of the Cougar Chats Series. For more information, check out wsucougars.com.

The team will have another intrasquad scrimmage, Sunday at 3 p.m. and I will have details following the workout.

As always, GO COUGS!

Craig Lawson, WSU Assistant Athletic Media Relations Director


AUGUST 10, 2008
The Washington State soccer team played an intrasquad scrimmage at Lower Soccer Field today. The team was divided into a Crimson and a Gray squad.

In the sixth minute, freshman Tiara Pittman fired the first shot of the match and Gray goalkeeper Stephanie Phillips made the save. Phillips is a freshman competing with sophomore Lindsay Parlee for a starting spot.

Less than a minute later, junior Caeli Abeyta nearly gave Crimson the early lead, but her shot slid just outside the right post.

In the 11th minute, Pittman dribbled in from the right side and lofted a shot from eight yards out into the upper left-hand corner of the net to stake Crimson to a 1-0 lead.

In the 21st minutes, junior Elysse Van Leer's bid for a 2-0 Crimson advantage grazed off the top of the crossbar.

After being outshot 6-0 in the first 23 minutes, Gray took the last three shots of the first half. Its best chance to score came in the 24th minute when sophomore Emma Stolz's shot from the left at point blank range was snared by Parlee.

In the second half, just past the halfway point, Crimson put together a furious attack that led to four corner kicks in a two-minute span and culminated with Phillips making a save of sophomore Nici Patrizi's shot from the left. Crimson finished with a 10-6 advantage in shots and a 10-2 edge in corner kicks.

Gray's final chance to tie came in the 40th minute when redshirt-sophomore Yvette Strampe's shot sailed wide left.

The team is off to camp in Idaho for a three-day excursion of team-building exercises. I will give you an update on their trip toward the end of the week.

As always, GO COUGS!

Craig Lawson, WSU Assistant Athletic Media Relations Director


AUGUST 6, 2008
Washington State University's other football team began practice today...that's right, the Cougar women's soccer squad.

Technically, the season got underway last night when Sixth-Year Head Coach Matt Potter and his wife, Olga, hosted the team and some members of the support staff at their home for the annual kickoff dinner.

In case you are wondering what was served, it was chicken, pasta, corn, rice, and rolls with margarine. Gatorade and water were the beverage options.

With that, I officially welcome you to the first installment of the Cougar Soccer Blog. Throughout the season, I will be giving you periodic updates about the team that you might not find in my weekly gamenotes or match recaps. In the winter, I will help with the swimming blog and in the spring, I will turn my attention to baseball.

To find this blog in the future, you can simply click the button on the front page of soccer on wsucougars.com or follow these instructions: At the top of the front page of wsucougars.com, there is a scroll down menu entitled "Multimedia." Scroll over that and click on "Cougar Blogs." This will navigate you to a page where a plethora of blogs about WSU Athletics are located. Find the one that says, "2008 Cougar Soccer Blog," click that, and read my latest ramblings.

One key member of the team was missing at last night's meal, junior forward Kiersten Dallstream. She had a good excuse; she flies back from England today. She was playing with the United States Under-20 Women's National Team against some English clubs in preparation for the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Chile, Nov. 19-Dec. 7. Dallstream has not officially been named to the team, but the fact she is starting in the majority of the Americans' competitions is a good sign if you ask me.

As for the team's practice, there are plenty of new faces, nine to be exact. As I mentioned, Dallstream will be back tonight, but I am not sure when she will hit the practice field.

The rest of the team worked out for a couple of hours this morning on some basic drills. One of the best competitions for playing time will be in the goalkeeper spot. Lindsay Parlee is a sophomore from Tualatin, Ore., who played 45 minutes last season (blanking Idaho for a half). Stephanie Phillips is a freshman from Tempe, Ariz., and will challenge for the starting job.

The Cougars return 13 letterwinners from 2007, when they won 11 matches, including a victory over last season's national champion USC, and posted their third-straight .500 or better record in the Pacific-10, the toughest soccer conference in the country.

The team is currently in its second session of the day. There will be two practices a day through Saturday with a 3 p.m. intrasquad scrimmage set for Sunday. My next update will come following the scrimmage.

Until then, as always, GO COUGS!

Craig Lawson, WSU Assistant Athletic Media Relations Director

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