LANGLEY, British Columbia – Trinity Western was step-for-step with Washington State University for the better part of 90 minutes, but a 71st-minute goal from the Cougars was the difference as the Spartans fell 1-0 Saturday at Rogers Field.
Hosting an NCAA Division I side for the first time in program history, the Spartans women’s soccer team hung with the Cougars, who finished third in the Pac-12 last fall, for the majority of the contest, but a shot from WSU’s Nicolle Marlow deflected off a TWU defender in the box and beat goalie Ally Williamson (Langley).
“We played a great opponent today and to be honest, I’m pleased with how we defended and took away their strengths,” said Spartans coach Graham Roxburgh. “I’m really happy that some of my young kids hung in with them. Unfortunately we wilted a bit when it was 0-0 and the nature of the goal was a bit disappointing. If they’re going to score, you want them to score a goal that doesn’t take a weird deflection. But don’t take any credit away from them. They possessed very nicely today.”
The Spartans are now 2-1-2 in the spring season with one game left on the schedule. TWU concludes its spring slate Apr. 16 when it will travel to play Oregon State at 1 p.m.
After a back and forth first half, the Cougars pushed for the winner with an up-tempo effort in the latter part of the match and were eventually rewarded with the game’s only goal after a fortuitous bounce.
The Spartans responded with a late offensive foray, but were able to generate little more than a few half chances.
“I thought we made it hard for them in the first half and limited their chances,” Roxburgh said. “I’m just disappointed we weren’t a little better on the ball or a little more clinical with our final pass. Overall, credit to my kids for their effort and there’s lots to be learned from that game, so I’m very pleased.”
Jenaya Robertson (Delta, B.C.) had the Spartans best chance of the first half when she knocked a header towards goal but her fourth-minute offering sailed just wide of the left post.
The Cougars appeared to open the scoring midway through the first half, but WSU was whistled for offsides after initially putting away an in-tight rebound off the crossbar.
Saturday afternoon’s tilt marked the first time the Spartans and Cougars have met. The Spartans are 0-2-1 against NCAA Div. I teams this year, including a tie with Oregon State and a loss to Washington last August.