WSU and University of Idaho are separated by nine miles; however, at the Lower Soccer Field on Thursday night, it was three goals that separated the Cougars and Vandals.
Head Coach Todd Shulenberger was impressed with his team’s performance.
“Coming off two big road wins, I wanted to see how we would respond tonight, and we did a great job of passing the test today,” he said.
The No. 17 ranked Cougars looked to keep their undefeated record unblemished, and the WSU offense seemed determined to extend its record to 5-0. The first half of the Battle of the Palouse was dominated by the WSU offense, who noticeably controlled the possession battle.
The Cougs’ offense had the pedal to the floor as Idaho was barely able to get any offense going. Each time WSU looked destined to score, Idaho’s senior goalkeeper Makayla Presgrave would find a way to keep it out of the goal.
In the 37th minute, the Cougs finally found the back of the net off a corner kick from senior defender Maddy Haro, connecting with senior midfielder Maegan O’Neill for her first goal of the season and closing scoring for the first half.
The second half was much of the same with WSU controlling the offensive possession, leading to a great shot from junior forward Morgan Weaver that deflected off Presgrave into the back of the net and giving the Cougs a 2-0 lead in the 71st minute.
Things then took an unfortunate turn for WSU redshirt senior goalie Ella Dederick, who exited the game in the 73rd minute after leaving with an apparent leg injury following a collision with an Idaho attacker. She was replaced by redshirt junior goalkeeper Rachel Thompson.
However, the Cougar offense was not done scoring for the night. Freshman forward Hailey Smith scored her first collegiate goal in the 77th minute after a pass from Thompson, who had only been in the game for a few minutes, extending the lead to 3-0.
That would be all the Cougars would need to take the 3-0 victory in the Battle of the Palouse, extending their record on the season to a perfect 5-0.
WSU returns to the field 7 p.m. next Friday as they host University of Montana, looking to keep its undefeated start alive before it starts conference play in two weeks.