Roth Leads Cougars Into NCAA Tournament

By Daneysse Victoria Daniels

A sense of nervous anxiety quickly leaves the room as a sudden burst of excitement and joy fills it, as the Washington State University women's soccer team received an at-large bid to the 2011 NCAA Division I Championship.

For a team filled with youth, only having three seniors on the roster, the experience and opportunity to compete for a NCAA Division I Championship was a new challenge; but for senior Jacquelyn Roth, the chance comes for the second time in her collegiate career.

"Just sitting in that room and crossing our fingers to see if we were going to be able to get into the tournament, sitting there for the first time not knowing if you are going to be able to continue your season or not, and then finding out that you got in is probable the best moment and feeling that I have had," Roth said.

Roth, a Gilbert, Ariz., native, said she has been playing soccer since she was about 4 years old.

"It like the first sport that I played and I actually did gymnastics with it but in the end I just stuck with soccer," Roth said. "Soccer was the only sport that I played and I have been enjoying it ever since I started."

Roth was a member of the Sereno '90 White team from 2003-08 and played on six state championship from 2002-2007. She was a member of the Arizona State '89 ODP team member during the years of 2002-06, where the tea captured the Turf Cup in 2006.

Roth was also an ODP national pool player in 2003-04 and was selected to two Region IV finalist teams and a Region IV semifinal in 2005.

Head coach Matt Potter said that he is proud of the maturity that Roth has displayed, while growing with the WSU women's soccer team and overcoming her challenges.

"Jacquelyn is one of those success stories that you hear about," Potter said. "She came into her freshman year and got some playing time and had the typical challenges that every freshman has and in the years that she has been here has really blossomed. She leaves a more complete person, which is our challenge to every player."

Teammate sophomore Micaela Castain said over the short two years she has been on the team, she and Roth have gotten closer with the growth of the team.

"The whole vibe of the team has really gotten tighter and I think that she is a great role model for me as well as some of the other younger players on the team," Castain said. "I have really been able to look at some of the things that she went through her first couple of seasons on the team and how she handled them, compared them to some of my similar struggles and learn from them."

Throughout her career in a Cougar uniform, Roth has helped the Cougars make it to three NCAA Division I tournaments, has earned the teams Co-Most Improved Award and the seven-assist performance her sophomore season tied Roth for fourth on the WSU all-time single-season list.

The Cougars' NCAA first round match this year against Kentucky was decided on penalty kicks. When Roth's turn came in the second round, she calmly converted and the Cougars went on to advance by a 4-2 margin. Potter said while Roth has always played a significant role on the team, she has also been able to step up in crucial situations.

"Jacquelyn has always been the one to step forward in difficult scenarios and that speaks for the character that she has, so I wasn't surprised," Potter said. "Not only is she capable but she wants to step forward in difficult occasions. I'm proud of her for doing that, she also has the ability and the class to be able to execute that, and that's not easy to do. For me it was kind of a crowning moment and you know it made a difference. It put us two nothing up and it was important and I'm proud of her."

Roth said the entire game was an amazing experience and that she is pleased with her team's persistence and tenacity throughout the competition against the Wildcats.

"When they were scored their penalty kick I don't think that there was any doubt in our mind that we were going to come back and win it," Roth said. "Nobody was ready to quit or go home with the loss and when it comes to the penalty kick, I don't think anyone was nervous. We practiced and we prepared for that moment. I have taken PK before so it wasn't unnatural or anything like that. I was nervous but it was a good nervous."

During the game, freshman Cougar Mesa Owsley made her penalty kick sealing the deal for the Cougars, and helping them move forward to the second round of the NCAA Division I Championship.

Roth said that she could not be more proud of the younger players on the team this year. She said she knows they are going to be able to continue their success in the years to come.

 "I'm really proud of the freshmen and sophomores, they have stepped up from the very beginning," Roth said. "We are a very young team, only having three seniors, but I couldn't have asked for a better year to be able to go out with."

"I know that the seniors next year are going to have a similar situation. They just need to realize that freshmen are going to be freshmen and just helping them and standing by them is going to help them in the end."

Roth said the biggest lesson that she has learned throughout her career as a Cougar has been that there is always something to learn about a challenging encounter. She said no matter if you are the best player, there is always something that you can learn about a situation and the different ways that you can handle that.

Potter said Roth has grown into a good example of the type of player and person the team can look up to.

"She has become a great role model for our players," Potter said. "She has definitely left her mark which is a fantastic thing to see and her maturity is fantastic. I'm very pleased for her."

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