Back in Business
> Washington State begins the 2021 spring season the same way it began each of the last two years, with a contest vs Seattle U having defeated the Redhawks by a combined 7-1 score including a 4-0 win at Seattle last season.
> The Cougars are 24-5-2 all-time in season openers including 9-0-1 in true road contests.
> The Cougs enter the year picked 4th in the Pac-12 Preseason Coaches Poll and ranked No. 19 in the TopDrawerSoccer.com poll.
> WSU is coming off a 2019 season in which it won a program record 16 contests en route to the team's first College Cup appearance.
> Last season the Cougs finished the year ranked No. 4 in the country and finished their season in the national semifinals with a 2-1 loss to North Carolina.
> Seven of WSU's 11 starters return for 2021 including the entire veteran backline that posted 10 shutouts including three in the postseason in 2019.
> As a team, the Cougs scored 45 goals in 2019, ranking 3rd all-time and the most in the last 26 seasons.
> The senior class enters the year the most decorated class in program history having won 39 games and advanced to at least the second round in each of their three seasons, a program first.
> Seniors Brianna Alger (Chicago Red Stars) and Makamae Gomera-Stevens (Houston Dash) enter the year with big expectations after being selected in the third round of the 2021 NWSL Draft.
> Senior Brianna Alger enters the year as the Cougs' most decorated player from a season ago after earning third team all-region honors as a junior in her first season playing left back for WSU.
> The Cougs have huge shoes to fill with the graduations of some of the program's all-time greats after the 2019 season. However, the Cougs brought in a top-15 freshmen class in the fall while also adding senior transfer Marissa Zucchetto to take over goalkeeping duties.
SEASON OPENING SUCCESS
Throughout the years the Cougs have been successful in season openers having posted an impressive 24-5-2 record. In true road contests, WSU has been impressive 9-0-1 all-time. Last season the Cougars' met Seattle U on their home turf, defeating the Redhawks 4-0. The Cougs have dominated Seattle in the all-time series, going 14-1-0 including a 6-0-0 record in Seattle.
SENIORS READY TO CEMENT THEIR LEGACY
Despite the loss of some key players from last season, the 2021 Cougars are back and better than ever as seven of 11 starters return headlined by arguably the most decorated senior classes in program history. In three seasons, the seniors having won 39 games and advanced to at least the second round in each of their three year, a program first. In addition, the seniors brought the Cougs to new heights as freshmen, advancing to the program's first Sweet 16 before surpassing the feat last season with a trip to the first College Cup.
FRESH FACES READY TO CONTRIBUTE
While the Cougs enter the year with one of the top veteran cores in the country, WSU also welcomes in 9 new faces that will vie for playing time immediately. The most experienced newcomer to the Cougars is goalkeeper-transfer Marissa Zucchetto who came to the Palouse last spring from Texas Tech. As a sophomore Zucchetto led the nation in shutouts and led the Red Raiders into the postseason in each of the last two years.
In addition to Zucchetto, the freshmen class for the Cougs was ranked among the nation's best, headlined by 2019 ECNL Player of the Year Marin Whieldon.
IN THE TWITTERVERSE
Good night to be a Coug, three players taken in the @NWSL Draft all with bright futures ahead of them.
— Washington State Soccer (@WSUCougarSoccer) January 14, 2021
— Washington State Soccer (@WSUCougarSoccer) January 11, 2021
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