SPOKANE, WA —(GoZags.com) Callie Best’s goal in the 19th minute proved to be the game-winner in the Gonzaga women’s soccer team’s 2016 home-opening 1-0 victory over Washington State Sunday.
The Zags (2-1-1) used stellar defense and some timely attacks to hold off WSU, which was coming off of a 1-0 win over No. 13 Santa Clara.
In the 25th meeting between the regional foes, the Bulldogs won for the first time in the history of the series. Washington State entered the match with a 23-0-1 advantage in the all-time matchups.
“This team has quietly been working and competing all preseason to be a better version of themselves every day,” Gonzaga Head Coach Amy Edwards said. “Their commitment to each other and execution of the game plan was spot on. I could not be more proud of their grit and determination. The energy of this entire team is truly special. We will keep our heads down and keep grinding this week for the next one.”
Best’s first collegiate goal came off of an excellent ball in from Madeline Gotta. Best headed in the ball just past the outstretched Cougar goalkeeper. Gotta’s first collegiate assist was lofted into the box after a run up the right side of the field.
Aliyah Miller nearly opened the scoring in the 16th minute. The Zag senior headed a corner from Savannah Van Citters toward the net, but it was cleared off of the line by a WSU defender. Jodi Ulkekul almost found the net in the 64th minute, having her strike from deep hit the crossbar.
Sarah Swanson made five saves in the GU net, picking up her second shutout of the young season. Karley Baggerly took a game-high four shots, improving her career total to 137, which ranks sixth in program history.
Washington State (1-2-0), which opened its season with three straight West Coast Conference opponents, edged the Zags in shots, 13-11. WSU placed five shots on goal, while Gonzaga had four on frame.
The Cougars’ Kaitlyn Johnson led the Cougars with three shots, placing two on goal. Ella Dederick finished with two saves.
Gonzaga welcomes Eastern Washington Friday at 6 p.m., before hosting Portland State at 1 p.m. Sunday. Live video and stats will be available on GoZags.com.