Inspired Cougar Soccer Loses Heartbreaker To No. 3 Portland
Sept. 30, 2001
PORTLAND, Ore. --- Despite playing shorthanded for the final 72 minutes of the match, Washington State battled No. 3 Portland to a standstill until the 82nd minute, when Jessica Heller scored the game-winning goal to give the Pilots a 1-0 victory.
Just 18:29 into the match, Cougar goalkeeper Sara Leibowitz collided with Portland's freshman phenom, Christine Sinclair, and was sent off the field, forcing WSU to battle one of the nation's elite teams with only 10 players.
'It was a very good game, but when Sara got sent off for fouling, that changed the complexion of the whole match,' Cougar head coach Dan Tobias said.
Senior Lindsey Jorgensen, who sat out against Gonzaga and Portland State to rest an injured foot, was forced into action and performed admirably, making five saves.
The Cougars put a big scare into the Pilots just before halftime, when freshman Christie Spear blasted a 20-yard shot from the top of the box that took an unfortunate set of bounces.
'Christie beat three players on the left side and the shot hit the underside of the crossbar, hit the goalkeeper, rolled around, and the goalkeeper finally smothered it,' Tobias said. 'We went into halftime feeling pretty good. We were pretty compact defensively, and we had our chances.'
Though Portland had 20 shots compared to only six for WSU, Tobias says those numbers don't paint an accurate picture of the game.
'We played very well. The shot totals are deceiving because even though the quantity is fairly high, they did not get a lot of quality shots,' Tobias said.
The match's lone goal came at the 81:07 mark when Heller one-timed a shot in the midst of a wild scramble after a corner kick.
'We gave up a goal on a corner kick that maybe we shouldn't have given up. It hit the left post, but goes in,' Tobias said. 'We hit a shot off the crossbar and it bounces around and doesn't go in. It could have been a much different game.'
Despite the loss, Sunday's match was in sharp contrast to Friday's contest against Portland State, where the Cougars lacked intensity throughout much of the 4-2 win.
'It's our best effort so far,' Tobias said. 'Effort-wise, we played well and attacking-wise, we had our moments. It is a very encouraging performance going into next week's non-conference matches against Air Force and New Mexico.'
The loss dropped WSU's record to 3-3-0, and ended a three-match win streak. The Cougars return to the road to face Air Force Oct. 5, and New Mexico Oct. 7.