After a great start to the season last week in Hawaii, the Cougar soccer team is on the road again to take on the Portland Pilots Friday before returning home to host Seattle University on Sunday in their first home match of the season.
The Cougars start their weekend in another hostile environment at 7 p.m. vs. Portland. The Pilots are currently 1-0-0, coming off a big win against Florida State last week, and ranked No. 5 in the nation by Soccer Times.
WSU has yet to win a match against Portland in years past, holding an 0-11-0 record. The two teams have not met, however, since 2006.
Last week, sophomore Eileen Maes was named Pac-12 Conference player of the week after her commendable performance against Hawaii when she scored three goals in the second half.
“What a difference a year makes,” Head Coach Matt Potter said. “She’s done a lot of hard work in the offseason, and she’s been rewarded for that with a great performance. I’m very proud of her but also very proud of the team in how we went about our business.”
The Cougars played in front of 2,800 fans last week and, traditionally, Portland is another program that brings a lot of energy to their home environment. Potter said that he is excited for the opportunity and hopes to break some attendance records when they return home to host Seattle.
“There’s no better place to play than Portland,” Potter said. “The fan base that they have there, the energy that they have there, the environment and the team. Everything about Portland speaks quality, and we want to replicate that type of atmosphere at home.”
Following the match in Portland, the Red Hawks of Seattle University will step into Cougar Land at 1 p.m., looking for their first win against WSU. The Cougars hold an impressive 8-0-0 record against Seattle and have outscored them 19-4 in previous meetings.
Seattle has yet to lose this season, with a 2-0-0 record, coming off of wins against UC Davis and Sacramento State. The last time the Red Hawks faced WSU was in 2009 when the Cougars won a tightly contested match by a score of 3-2.
All in all, an exciting weekend is in store for the Cougars to build some early momentum for the season, and they are excited for the challenge.
“Going to Portland is definitely going to be a challenge,"Maes said. “They’re a great team, so we just need to go in there and stick with the game plan. And then on Sunday, we’ll finally be at home so hopefully, we can bring home a win.”