The winningest team in WSU women’s soccer history climbed onto a plane to San Jose in the first week of December, but not for a vacation. They were bound for the first time to the College Cup, a contest of the top four college soccer teams in the country, to face top-seeded North Carolina.
The unprecedented road to the College Cup was filled with breakout seasons for several Cougar players, new records, and a lot of moxie. Coach Todd Schulenberger’s team finished the regular season 12–6–1 overall.
The team headed into the postseason for the third-straight season and eighth time in nine years after being selected for an at-large bid to the 2019 NCAA Tournament in November. They faced a tough challenge right away versus the Memphis Tigers.
The Cougars hit their tournament stride when Makamae Gomera-Stevens, with an assist from Averie Collins, knocked it just inside the post for a 1–0 win over Memphis.
In the second round of the tournament, WSU grabbed the biggest upset in program history, defeating top seed Virginia, 3–2, in a high-scoring match.
The momentum carried into the third round, where the Cougars notched another shutout with 3–0 against West Virginia. The Elite Eight saw a staunch defensive battle against number two seed South Carolina, ending 1–0 in overtime when defender Mykiaa Minniss nailed it to the back of the goal.
With that strike, Minniss became the twelfth Cougar to score on the year and the tenth to score a game-winner.
It was a team effort all season, and Minniss was one of a number of players who stood out.
Star forward and All-American senior Morgan Weaver tied a single-game record with four goals against Colorado in the home regular season finale. For her career, Weaver hit 43 goals—second most in Cougar history—after recording a personal-best 15 goals in 2019.
Senior goalkeeper Ella Dederick extended her program record with 53 career wins while picking up 29 career shutouts.
Junior midfielder Gomera-Stevens also stepped up in crunch time. The native Hawaiian scored four of her team-best five game-winning goals against top teams, including two in the NCAA tournament.
The Cougars couldn’t keep the magic going when they faced top team North Carolina in the College Cup. Although they lost 2–1 against the Tarheels, nothing would erase the greatest season in WSU soccer history.
The team’s season ended there, but Weaver and Gomera-Stevens joined the senior U.S. national team camp in Bradenton, Florida, while Minniss played in the 2019 Nike International Friendlies with the U-20 team in Lakewood Ranch, Florida.
Weaver and Gomera-Stevens became the first Cougars to be called into camp with the top team in the United States.
On the web
Two Cougs selected in early rounds of professional draft – Morgan Weaver goes number 2 and Averie Collins goes number 17 in the 2020 National Women’s Soccer League draft. (January 16, 2020)