After a relatively even first half, Washington State struck quickly in the second half, and the Cougars held on to defeat the Seattle University Redhawks in women’s collegiate soccer action, 3-1, Friday afternoon at Championship Field.

After the two teams continually exchanged possession for the first 20 minutes, Seattle U received the first significant scoring chance, as Stephanie Verdoia (Salt Lake City, Utah) dribbled the ball into the box before being taken down by a Washington State defender, forcing a penalty kick opportunity. Julia Besagno (Maple Valley, Wash.) converted on the penalty kick, giving the Redhawks a 1-0 lead.

In the 30th minute, Washington State evened the score, as Seattle U committed a foul to give the Cougars a free kick. Micaela Castain’s header off the free kick was blocked, but the ball stayed in the goal mouth, and Mesa Owsley set up Kailiana Johnson to nudge the ball over the goal line, tying the match at 1-1 heading into halftime.

As the second half started, Kourtney Guetlein raced down the right side of the field and sent a crossing pass into the box, where Jocelyn Jeffers was waiting. Jeffers’s shot sailed past Redhawk goalie Brianna Smallidge (Port Orchard, Wash.) into the left side of the net, giving the Cougars a 2-1 lead just 30 seconds into the second half.

Washington State (1-0) added an insurance goal just over three minutes later when Guetlein once again brought the ball down the right side of the field and found a teammate with a crossing pass into the box. This time, Castain was the recipient of the pass, and she was able to convert on her scoring chance to increase the Cougar lead to 3-1.

The Cougars outshot the Redhawks 12-4, collecting six shots in each half while the home team was held to one shot in the second half after earning three shots before halftime. Gurveen Clair picked up the victory without making a save, while Smallidge was credited with one save for Seattle U.

“It is always good to open the season against a quality opponent, and Washington State has traditionally done really well in the Pac-12, so this is a great measuring stick for showing how far we have come but also exposing things we need to improve on to make the rest of the season successful,” Seattle U head coach Julie Woodward said. “We did get a couple of chances, and I am happy with our defensive organization, but we need to create more.”

Seattle University (0-1) heads to Cheney, Wash., for a match against Eastern Washington Sunday, August 25, at 1 p.m. The Redhawks return to Championship Field next Friday, Aug. 30, for a contest against Boise State starting at 5 p.m.

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