CARY, N.C. — The Washington men’s soccer team made it the College Cup for the first time in program history, finding extra motivation after not getting a chance to share the Pac-12 title for reasons out of their control.
“Our season was defined when we got a game rained out against Cal,” UW coach Jamie Clark said earlier in the week. “That was a really hard one to swallow. Everyone says you’ve had this rosy season, but our goal, first and foremost, is to win a Pac-12 title. When Cal chose not to play us – there are by-laws in the Pac-12 rule book that says the coaches have to agree to replay – we didn’t get to play that game. I guess they refused to play us, and our guys rallied around that. They were emailing, writing, they wanted that game more than anything.”
Washington, which beat Cal 4-0 in Berkeley, was tied with the Bears at 1-1 in the 61st minute at Husky Soccer Stadium on Oct. 28 when the game was ruled a no-contest because of poor field conditions that were deemed unsafe.
UW was willing to play at Cal or pay for the Bears to come back to Seattle to make the game up, but California declined. Clark was also upset the Pac-12 did not put more effort into getting the game replayed.
In the end, UW finished 6-1-2 in the Pac-12, a half-game behind Oregon State (7-1-2), which was also a key reason the Beavers received the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament and UW got the No. 2 seed despite being No. 1 in the RPI rankings.
“(UW players) had to try to win the Pac-12 with nine games, while every other team but Cal got 10 games,” Clark said. “That was almost an impossibility and the fact that we almost won it is incredible.”
Clark said he thinks that missed chance was the boost the Huskies needed to get past the Elite Eight, after losing in that game three times in nine years (including the past two seasons).
“I always wonder now if we had played that game and tied for the Pac-12 title, would we have been happy with that,” Clark said. “Would we have lost a little fire and passion along the way.”
The Huskies tied Oregon State 2-2 in their regular-season finale, “and we left that game with so much more hunger,” Clark said.
“We sort of have this motto that we deserve better, but no one else cares what we deserve, we have to earn it,” Clark said. “We have to earn it every day. … That little bit might have been that extra fire that got us to (the College Cup for the first time).”
Washington forward Dylan Teves entered Friday night’s game one goal from tying the record for most goals during an NCAA tournament. Teves was held without a goal against Georgetown, but the Huskies won 2-1.
The record for most goals in an NCAA tournament is seven, set by Appalachian State’s Usiyan in 1978, when he scored all of his goals in one game in a 9-3 victory over George Washington.
Teves is one of four players to score six goals in a tournament, joining Aleksey Korol of Indiana (1998), Howard’s Lincoln Peddie (1975) and Jefferson’s Dale Russell (1974).
* Washington goalkeeper Sam Fowler entered the game second in the nation in save percentage (82.4%).