The battle for the Pac-12 begins Friday
> Pac-12 play begins for the Cougs with Friday's contest against Arizona. The Cougs are looking to halt a recent slide against the Wildcats who have won 6-straight in the series.
> In the last six seasons under head coach Todd Shulenberger the Cougs are 3-2-1 in conference openers.
> WSU finished non-conference season 6-1-1 after closing the first half of the year with three-consecutive shutouts on the road.
> 5th year Sydney Pulver will tie for the all-time lead in games played (86 total) when the opening whistle sounds on Friday night.
> The defense has been up to the task in 2021 allowing just three goals (0.37 GAA - T5th in the nation) while posting six shutouts on the season.
> The offense has scored 24 goals with 10 different players recording a goal and six different game-winners. WSU's offense ranks 6th in shots per game (23.63) and 20th in scoring (3.00 gpg). WSU is +21 in goals scored on the year.
> 5th year Elyse Bennett leads the way offensively with five goals and a team-best 13 points (5th in the Pac-12). She ranks T7th all-time in goals (21) and 9th in points (53) for her career.
> Junior Grayson Lynch scored her second brace of the season at UNC and is tied for the team lead with a career-best 5 goals.
> Junior Enzi Broussard has found her groove at WSU leading the way with 5 assists (2nd in the Pac-12) to go with 2 goals (9 points, 3rd on the team).
> Freshman Nadia Cooper became the first true freshman in program history to record shutouts in her first two career starts after shutting out Denver Thursday.
> WSU was picked 5th by the Pac-12 coaches in the preseason poll marking the third-straight year picked in the top half of the conference.
COUGS VS WILDCATS
Pac-12 play begins around the conference with the Cougs kicking things off against Arizona Friday at Lower Soccer Field. All-time the Cougs have controlled the series going 15-9-1 with a 43-25 goal scored advantage. However, the trend has not been in WSU's favor as of late as the Wildcats have won the last six matchups, the last three being one-goal games. Additionally the home field advantage has not been in the Cougs favor during the recent Wildcat run as Arizona has come to Pullman four times and taken home the win including a 1-0 victory in the 2019 season. The two sides did not play last year due to Covid-19 issues.
Arizona enters the weekend match at 3-4-0 after non-conference play after falling to Gonzaga, 1-0, last week in the finale. The two sides have just one common opponent, San Diego State, which both the Cougs and the Wildcats dispatched in shutout fashion (Arizona in exhibition play). The Wildcats have scored just nine goals on the season led by Jill Aguilera who has netted nearly half of the tallies scoring four times.
LAST TIME OUT
A blitzkrieg at the opening whistle put the game away before the blink of an eye as Washington State (6-1-1) ended non-conference play with a 3-0 shutout of Northern Colorado (2-6-2) Sunday morning in Greeley, Colo. Putting their aerial skills on full display the Cougs got on the board just 1:02 into the contest when Grayson Lynch snuck onto the back post to jump on the end of a lofted cross from Kelis Barton. Lynch would score again in the 23' minute while Elyse Bennett headed in a goal in the 11' in between the Lynch brace.
With the Pac-12 schedule beginning the Cougs are looking to nab an opening victory after drawing their conference start, 0-0, against Utah last season. In the last six seasons under head coach Todd Shulenberger the Cougs are 3-2-1.
All-time the Cougs are 11-11-4 in conference openers and 5-2-3 since the conference became the Pac-12. In the first home contest of conference the Cougs are 10-13-3 all-time.
NON-CONFERENCE PLAY CLOSES FOR THE COUGS
The Cougs closed on non-conference play 6-1-1 putting them near the top of the standings entering Pac-12 play. In eight games the Cougs outscored their opponents 24-3, finishing with six shutouts including three-straight on the road. The lone blemish of the early season came against Seattle U as the Redhawks eked out a 2-1 win over the Cougs in Pullman Sept. 9. Despite the loss the Cougs rebounded with a road run at Kansas, Denver, and Northern Colorado outscoring their opponents 8-0 in the final two weeks.
The Cougs six shutouts in non-conference play matches their mark in 2017 for the most in the Shulenberger era and the most since posting 7 to start the 2013 season (a record breaking year for WSU with 15 total shutouts).
Under head coach Todd Shulenberger the Cougs are an impressive 43-7-4 in non-conference play.
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