In a match that was decided in nine rounds of penalty kicks, the WSU women’s soccer team fell to No. 4 seed Portland in the first round of the NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship Friday night in Portland.
The Cougars (12-6-2) and the Pilots (11-4-5) went into a penalty-kick shootout when the teams remained tied at 2-2 after 120 minutes of action.
The Cougars began the shootout with sophomore Jocelyn Jeffers, senior Brandi Vega, junior Micaela Castain and junior Katie Turney scoring consecutively.
The Cougars held a 4-3 advantage after the fourth round because of a save by WSU redshirt sophomore Gurveen Clair in the second round.
Portland junior goalkeeper Erin Dees converted a goal in the fifth round then saved the attempt by junior Rachael Doyle to force an extra round.
The shootout continued with WSU failing to score in three out of four remaining opportunities.
The match was called in the ninth round when the Cougars sophomore midfielder Lauren Previs’ shot flew over the crossbar following a shot made by the Pilots senior defender Taylor Brooke. Previs’ failed attempt gave Portland a 6-5 victory in penalty kicks.
WSU sophomore midfielder Nicole Setterlund, whose goal sent the shootout to the eighth round, said in a press release the result of the match was crushing for the Cougars.
“I’m heartbroken for our whole team,” she said. “I’m heartbroken for our seniors. I don’t think we deserve that.”
Scoring opened in the 36th minute of regulation when Vega scored in the box on a pass from Castain.
With three minutes remaining in the first half, Portland redshirt junior midfielder Kendall Johnson scored the equalizer.
WSU outshot the Pilots 9-2 in the first 45 minutes and picked up five corners to Portland’s one.
The Cougars regained the lead within 10 minutes of the first half when Setterlund scored with her back to the net on a heel kick from two yards out.
The Pilots leveled the scoring once again when junior midfielder Michelle Cruz tapped the ball into the net in the 62nd minute after a long pass from Johnson.
With the two teams level at 2-2, the match went into two scoreless overtimes.
The Cougars finished the match leading the Pilots in shots, shots on goal and corners with 19-10, 8-6 and 9-3, respectively.
WSU Head Coach Keidane McAlpine said in a press release the match result was the story of the Cougars season.
“We had several opportunities to put the match away tonight and couldn’t finish it off,” McAlpine said. “We still have a lot of to be proud of this season.”
WSU had a similar first round match against Kentucky last year at the NCAA Championships, but the Cougars won that match 4-2 in penalty kicks.