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In 2009, the Washington State University soccer team made a second-straight NCAA postseason appearance, marking a first in school history for the program.
Only once in four previous appearances did the Cougars advance beyond the first round. Redshirt-junior Mallory Fox changed that.
The Scottsdale, Ariz., native scored at 74:00 to lift Washington State past Villanova 1-0 at Maryland's Ludwig Field in College Park, Md.
The goal came on assists from fellow Arizona natives Carly Dobratz and Maggie Dougher. Fox head the ball off the hands of Wildcats' goalkeeper Molly Williams and into the net. The goal was the fifth game-winner in Fox's career, which tied her for seventh on the Cougar career list.
"I haven't scored in a really long time," Fox said after the victory. "It wasn't the way I imagined it, but it felt awesome. Our experience from last year definitely helped us. We were stronger and more confident. It was not a very pretty match, but we came out with the win and that is all that matters."
Washington State improved to 14-5-2, despite being outshot 16-9, and ended Villanova's season at 11-6-5. The 14 victories tied the Cougar single-season record.
The Cougars remained perfect (3-0-0) during matches played in Maryland and raised their record to 12-5-3 on a neutral field under head coach Matt Potter.
"It (moving to the second round) speaks to how far our program has come and where we continue to strive to get," Matt Potter said in a postmatch interview. "We have prided ourselves on being stingy defensively. It is fantastic for the entire team. We defend from the front to the back. We did not give them a lot of clean looks and we are delighted with another clean sheet."
While the Cougars' season ended in a 1-0 loss to Maryland two days later, the win over Villanova went down as one of the greatest in Washington State soccer history.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Washington State plays in the NCAA Championship for the third time in four years when it opens at Kentucky in a First Round match, Nov. 12, 2011.
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