Season openers are always an exciting time for sports fans, and the WSU soccer team's opener is no exception as they travel to Honolulu to take on the Hawaii Rainbows this Friday.
The Cougars began last season in the national rankings but slowly found themselves dropping matches and finished last year with a 7-13 record.
Coming off a mediocre season, the Cougars returned this season with Head Coach Matt Potter and a recently added member to the staff, Katie Schoene. This is Potter’s ninth season with WSU, and he holds the school’s all-time win record at 76.
Schoene is the former assistant coach for the University of Idaho, where she helped the Vandals to a 14-7 record, the best in the school's history.
"Katie brings a wealth of experience and knowledge as both a coach and a former student-athlete,” Potter said in a WSU press release. “She will lead and implement some exciting new projects that we now have the resources committed to developing while playing an integral role in the daily development and welfare of our student-athletes."
Aside from the excitement of new plans to improve the team, the Cougars have never lost to Hawaii, holding a 3-0 record in the all-time series.
Kick-off is promptly at 10 p.m. Pacific Time (7 p.m. Hawaiian time) on Aug. 19. The Cougars opened camp on Aug. 3, and this match is the earliest date for opening a season in school history. Potter was pleased with how camp went and said he looks forward to practicing against another team in this non-conference match.
"It's great to get out here," Potter said. "It's been fun and energetic. We want to be one of the elite programs in the country. The work has been done long before today, which is a credit to our players. If this is our starting point, then it's a very good first sign."
As for the Rainbows, they are coming into the season with eight returning starters under a new coach, Michele Nagamine. Nagamine is only the second head coach this program has seen in its 17-year existence, and this team is hungry for some wins as they look to bounce back from last year’s 14-loss season.
The Cougars have combinations of both older and younger players as well as some high-impact players returning. This match will indicate where they are at and what adjustments need to be made for the future.
For more information on the soccer team and other Cougar athletics, students can visit wsucougars.com.