The Washington women’s soccer team takes pride in its grit. Head coach Lesle Gallimore has made toughness a point of emphasis this season and has said some of her past teams didn’t show nearly enough.
But in the face of a 2-0 deficit Sunday, the Huskies (10-6-3, 3-5-2 Pac-12) showed they have plenty of it.
After giving up two goals to Oregon State (11-5-3, 3-4-3) in the first 10 minutes of the match, the Huskies battled back to earn a 2-2 tie in their home finale.
“They have the right mindset,” Gallimore said. “Collectively, they didn’t cave. You didn’t see them give up a third goal; you didn’t see them stop playing the way we wanted them to play.”
Gallimore characterized the game’s first 10 minutes as “bizarre,” with several puzzling calls made against both teams. The Beavers took command of the game early when Haley Shaw corralled a failed UW free kick in the box and put it in the net to give her team a 1-0 lead.
In the 10th minute, the UW was called for a handball in the box during a scuffle on a Beaver corner kick. Oregon State’s Megan Miller took the penalty kick and knocked it into the bottom right corner for the 2-0 Beaver lead.
That was when the UW grit kicked in.
“We just realized that we needed to control the game and not let the referees’ calls or the other players, whatever they were doing, get into our heads,” sophomore forward Jaclyn Softli said. “We just needed to play our game and focus and get it done.”
In the waning moments of the first half, junior Lindsay Elston cut the Oregon State lead to 2-1. Junior Hillary Zevenbergen drove a shot attempt into the cross bar, and Elston calmly collected the rebound and knocked it in for her 10th goal of the season and her second of the weekend, after she scored on Thursday in the UW’s 2-0 shutout of Oregon.
“It was clutch, clutch, clutch, to keep playing and get the one before the half,” Gallimore said. “Our team saved me from having a total meltdown at halftime. That goal let us all take a deep breath and keep our heads in it.”
The Huskies used that first-half momentum to even up the score early in the second period. Softli scored her fourth goal on the season off a Zevenbergen assist in the 51st minute to get the Huskies even at 2-2.
The tie lasted through both overtime periods, as the UW was unable to get off a single shot during extra time. The Beavers had three total shots in overtime, but the only one that came on goal was saved by senior keeper Kari Davidson.
With only one more regular season game, an Apple Cup of sorts in Pullman, Wash., against Washington State on Nov. 2, the Huskies will need another win to better position themselves for a potential postseason berth. If Sunday’s performance is any indication of the team’s determination, then the UW will be in good shape.
“When the game goes a little bit ugly, if you will, the mental and physical fortitude to sort of fight through that and come back — you gotta pat them on the back,” Gallimore said. “The effort was, I thought, one that was mentally and physically as tough as you can get from us.”
Reach reporter Thuc Nhi Nguyen at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @thucnhi21
Please read our Comment policy.