Huskies Remember Magical Season
Dec. 10, 2010
SEATTLE - After a loss to Washington State to end the regular season, the Huskies watched the NCAA Selection show just hoping to get in. Not only did they make the field of 64, they were the Cinderella team throughout the playoffs, making a run to the Elite 8, knocking off two ranked teams to do so.
"2010 was an outstanding year for the Huskies as this group worked extremely hard in the off-season and throughout the summer to collectively be the best they could be," said head coach Lesle Gallimore.
Five senior starters (Hannah Greig, Kellye Joswick, Jane Mitchell, Kendyl Pele and McKenna Waitley) desperately wanted to leave UW as players on one of the best teams in school history. After getting knocked out in the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament the previous two seasons, these five especially were determined to not let that happen again.
"Our seniors have been an impressive group from the time they arrived on campus," said Gallimore. "As a class it may be safe to say that they have collectively played a higher percentage of games in their careers at UW combined than any other class. I could totally be making that up, but it feels like as a group, when healthy, they have been as solid a group of players that we've had. They all have the ability to continue to play at a high level, and if they choose to and have the opportunity I have no doubts they will all have success. This group of student-athletes came into UW during a time when we were working hard to rebuild back to our level of excellence that we'd seen 2004 and prior, and they more they helped with that goal and for that we are eternally grateful. I really feel like there is no looking back now, the foundation and formula for success is here to stay and that is in large part due to this group."
The quest to move deep into the postseason began at Seattle U on Aug. 20. Washington came out on top with a 1-0 victory, thanks to a goal by Joswick who missed her junior year after tearing her ACL against Seattle almost exactly a year prior.
Next up, UW went to Boston to face BU and UMass. Not only where these two tough road matches, it would later become familiar territory in the NCAA Tournament. In the pre-season, the Huskies had wins over UMass, Syracuse, Penn State, Cleveland State, St. Mary's and San Francisco. The non-conference ended with a tough 2-1 loss in the final minute of double OT at No. 4 Portland. The Huskies would avenge the loss when it counted most.
"Although the season wasn't without its disappointing losses, the work seemed to truly pay off come NCAA Tournament time," Gallimore added.
The Pac-10 is always one of the toughest conferences in the country as the Huskies finished fifth with a 4-5 record. UW picked up a huge win at UCLA on Oct. 29, the first for a Husky team over the Bruins in 10 years. During league play, UW dropped close matches to nationally-ranked Stanford, Oregon State and USC. The tough Pac-10 play, however, prepared the Huskies for what they would face in the NCAA Tournament.
For the second-straight year Washington was headed to Portland for NCAA's. Washington easily took care of Oklahoma in the First Round behind two early goals from junior Sarah Martinez.
The Second Round saw a re-match with Portland who moved up to No. 2 in the country for the second meeting of the season. In 2009, the Pilots eliminated the Huskies from the Second Round. It was familiar territory for most of the team who felt confident going into the match. Waitley scored the go-ahead goal in the first half until Portland evened the match within 10 seconds.
After a scoreless second half and two OT periods, both teams took penalty kicks for the first time in 2010. The Huskies won the coin flip and elected to shoot first. Washington and Portland each made four out of the first five which sent the game to sudden death kicks. None of the next five for either team missed as the kicking order started at the beginning. The 11th kick came from Kate Deines as she put hers in the back of the net. Junior goalkeeper Jorde LaFontaine-Kussmann made her second stop of the PK period to seal the upset and send the Huskies to the Sweet 16.
The Huskies then traveled to Irvine, Calif., to face the No. 16 Anteaters. Although UW was 5-0 all-time against UCI entering the match and UCI was making its first tournament appearance, the Huskies were the underdog. After a scoreless first half and first overtime period, freshman Allie Beahan scored the game-winning goal in the second overtime as UW pulled another upset.
For just the second time in school history UW was headed to the Elite 8. The 2004 team also went to the Elite 8 but was stopped by Princeton. The Huskies met up with No. 18 Boston College for the first time ever. For the third-straight game UW played to OT, this time coming out on the short end with a 1-0 loss in the first OT period.
Despite falling short of their overall goal, the Huskies had plenty to be proud of as they were deemed the "Cinderella" team after the Portland upset and doing something only one other team in school history had ever done. UW also finished second-best amongst Pac-10 school's behind No. 1 Stanford who was the national runner-up.
After just missing out on being in the top 25 coaches poll all season, the Huskies were 15th in the final poll
Deines, LaFontaine-Kussmann and Pele all earned All-Region honors. Deines led the team with nine goals and moved up in several offensive categories all-time at UW. Waitley and Pele leave UW near the top of the games played/started records.
"There were a lot of key performers for us this year, notably Kate, whose role changed from midfielder to defender late in the season, but she didn't skip a beat in leading our team and helping us win games," said Gallimore. "Sarah (Martinez) was finally healthy enough to give us a more than solid year. When her effort wasn't translating into points for us there were intangibles in leadership and presence that were instrumental in helping our team win."
LaFontaine-Kussmann, in her first year at UW, posted 10 wins and seven shutouts, ranking amongst the best all season in the NCAA in goals against average.
"The competition in goal for our team, between Kari Davidson, Jorde and Dani Boross reaped high rewards for our entire team at training and in games," said Gallimore. "That position alone, made our team tough to beat because in practice players were always going against a goalkeeper that tested their scoring ability and it paid off for us in games. That group will all return next year to fight it out again, and it's an absolute dream scenario for us to have in goal."
The Huskies showed a lot of depth in 2010 and what the future holds for UW as freshman Lindsay Elston was named to the All-Pac-10 Freshman team and fellow freshmen Beahan, Lindsey Bos, Molly Boyd, Annie Sittauer, Brianna Sweeney and Hillary Zevenbergen all contributed key minutes throughout the season.
"In addition to the players mentioned, the biggest strength of our 2010 squad was the balance we had throughout the group and how much everyone contributed whether it be as starter or reserve, the attitude and effort of every player was unified into one goal: being our best and I think it showed," Gallimore said.
"Our seniors will be difficult to replace but we will sign a very talented group of freshmen in February that will complement our returning team," Gallimore added. "As it happens every year, the dynamic will change and the personality of the team will change, but one thing will remain the same: the purpose and focus of the group to be their best. That I can count on. We're looking forward to an even more successful campaign in 2011 thanks to the work and accomplishments of the 2010 squad."