Courtesy: Spencer Farrin (Pullman, Wash.)
|Vandals fall behind WSU|
MOSCOW, Idaho – University of Idaho women’s soccer started off the wrong foot, recovered and played well, but couldn’t match Washington State in the end in a 5-1 loss at Guy Wicks Field on Sunday.
Idaho (2-8-0) fell behind just 21 seconds into the match when WSU’s (6-1-0) Jocelyn Jeffers found some early space and put in a long shot and banked it in off the left post.
“I was a little disappointed with a couple of the goals and how they were given, but you’re playing against a very good team,” Showler said. “Washington State is a very good team and they’re going to make it hard for a lot of people in the Pac-12.”
Despite the early score, Idaho battled back and knotted the game at 1-1 in the 19th minute when senior Lauren Layton intercepted a clearing pass and popped a diagonal in front of goal. Freshman Meli Cortez made a subtle flick with her back to goal to spring sophomore Katie Baran for a 1v1 from 10 yards away that she slotted through.
“It was a fantastic finish by Katie, and it came from a lot of combination play,” Idaho head coach Peter Showler said of the score. “They worked the space and it was great to see, and then it got us right back into the game.”
Washington State got its second goal of the half with a long ball forward, which WSU’s Micaela Castain snuck under Idaho keeper Liz Boyden at 26:33. The Cougars added a third score five minutes into the second period when Brandi Vega got a break up the left sideline and put in a shot from the corner of the 18-yard box.
WSU added a score on an Idaho own goal in the 77th minute and then capped the scoring at 82:04 when Jeffers scored her second on the day from the top of the box.
“The fourth goal really typifies our luck right now,” Showler said. “It goes off two of our own players and into our own goal just through their sheer effort of trying to keep it out.”
Idaho managed to work forward and put on offensive pressure in both halves. Senior midfielder Erica Hart put two shots off the WSU crossbar after the break and forced the keeper to punch another high, but those were as close as the Vandals got.
“They’ve got to keep their heads up, because I can’t fault their effort, their passion or their commitment,” Showler said. “They played with their hearts on their sleeves today. They’re devastated and I know it hurts when I look into their eyes, but they’ve got to make sure they channel that the right way.”
WSU held a 23-11 shot advantage overall and 12-3 on target. The Cougars earned seven corners to Idaho’s two, while both teams were whistled for six fouls. Boyden made seven saves for Idaho, while WSU keepers Ariana Byrd and Gurveen Clair split time in net and made one save each.
Showler said the important thing is for the Vandal women to maintain their intensity and work rate as Western Athletic Conference play approaches in two weeks.
“I can’t fault any single one of my players today,” Showler said. “Their work and effort was phenomenal. If they put that in game in and game out, we’re going places. It’s just tough because it’s a big local rival and they’re very good.
“We’ll bounce back and keep working hard to turn the results around.”
Idaho splits next week’s matches between home and the road. On Friday at 3 p.m. (PT), the Vandal women host Utah Valley (1-6-1), which lost two overtime matches over the weekend against Idaho State and Wyoming. Idaho makes a quick trip to Las Vegas on Sunday for an 11:30 a.m. (PT) match at UNLV, which is 7-2-1 and riding a six-match winning streak.