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Cougs play pink Thursday

Oct 20, 2021

WASHINGTON STATE (10-2-2, 4-1-1)
vs #5 USC (11-2-0, 6-0-0) | Thr., Oct. 21 | 7 p.m. | Lower Soccer Field 
  Watch Live | Pac-12 Network (Analyst: Greg Heister)
  Live Statistics | StatBroadcast

OPENING XI
> The Cougs play for the final time at home in 2021 beginning with a matchup against USC Thursday night. WSU is looking to knock off the top of the table Trojans who have won 11-straight.
> Last time out the Cougs had to settle for a draw at ASU as the Sun Devils came back from two goals down to force the draw.
> WSU has recorded 10 shutouts on the year, the 7th time in program history with double-digit shutouts. 
> The Cougs rank #9 in the country in average attendance at 1,433 fans through seven contests.
> Under head coach Todd Shulenberger, the Cougs have gone 43-16-8 at home in six-plus seasons including 4-2-1 this season.
> The 10 wins marks the fifth time in seven seasons under coach Shulenberger the Cougs have hit double-digit wins (2021 spring was just a 12 game season in which WSU went 6-3-3).
> The defense has been up to the task in 2021 allowing a six goals (0.42 GAA - 3rd in the nation) while posting 10 shutouts.
> Freshman Nadia Cooper is second in the nation with a 0.34 GAA having conceded just three goals in 10 appearances. Her 6 solo shutouts is one away from the Cougs' single-season top-10.
> The offense has scored 33 goals with 10 different players recording a goal and eight different game-winners. WSU's offense ranks 8th in shots per game (20.21) and 32nd in scoring (2.36 gpg). WSU is +27 in goals scored on the year.
> Elyse Bennett leads the attack with 9 goals, 2nd in the Pac-12, and 21 points. She has scored four goals in six Pac-12 games.
> 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 TROJANS
The Cougs face their toughest test of 2021 Thursday night at Lower Soccer Field as the top of the table Trojans come to Pullman for the first time since 2018. Not only are the Cougs looking to halt the Trojans 11-match winning streak on the year the Cougs are looking to find their first win over USC in eight years having not defeated the Trojans since Keidane McAlpine patrolled the sidelines for WSU. The last win for the Cougs came in 2013 at USC when WSU won 2-0. Since then the Trojans have won seven-straight while outscoring the Cougs 14-3.
USC enters the match with the leagues most potent offense scoring 3.08 goals per game. Penelope Hocking, who became the Trojans all-time leading scorer earlier this season, leads the way with 9 goals on the year. During its 11match winning streak, 
the Trojans have averaged 3.5 goals per game. 

LAST TIME OUT
A pair of early goals for Washington State (10-2-2, 4-1-1) were only enough to secure one-point in the Pac-12 standings as Arizona State (8-5-2, 0-4-2) came back with two goals of its own to force a 2-2, 2OT, draw Friday night at Sun Devil Soccer Stadium. Early on it looked like the Cougs were in for a run away win in the desert as WSU converted two corners into goals in the first 30 minutes of play to put the Sun Devils in a quick two-goal hole a third of the way through the game. The Sun Devils would respond with two of their own as the two sides battled to their second-straight draw.

OFFENSE FINDING ITS STRIDE
Coming out blazing on the new year the Cougs' offense has been on the attack, dominating the offensive third to the tune of 20.21 shots per game, 8th most in the nation. The constant pressure has bore fruit as the Cougs have scored 33 goals and are 32nd in the nation at 2.36 goals per game.
The Cougs have seen 10 different scorers find the back of the net led by Elyse Bennett with 8 goals and Grayson Lynch with six. Eight different Cougs have netted game-winners on the year with Lynch and Sydney Pulver leading the way with two winners.
Starting with Alyssa Gray's brace against Eastern Washington Aug. 28, the Cougs recorded a brace in three-consecutive contests (Gray, Lynch, and Bennett & Bridget Rieken) for the first time since 2000 when they went four-straight matches.
Bennett and Rieken became the first set of Cougar teammates to each notch 2 goals in a game together since Katrina Stroh and Alix Rustrum each scored twice in the Cougs' 8-0 win over Gonzaga Sept. 22, 2002. Lynch leads the way with two multi-goal games.

~ Complete Release ~ (PDF)

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