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November 7, 2010"I like the fact that we stayed focused for almost a complete 40 minutes and that was important to us to try and play possession by possession and build on those possessions."
- Wazzu head men's hoops coach Ken Bone, after the Cougars blew out Lewis-Clark State, 89-49, in their exhibition victory last week.
"We can't buy breaks."
- Wazzu head football coach Paul Wulff talking about the Cougars' close 20-13 loss to California last week.
"We need people to step up."
- Wazzu head volleyball coach Andrew Palileo after last week's loss to rival Washington, keeping the Cougars winless in conference play.
"It's amazing what time will heal. Many of those people don't even remember why they were even upset."
- Great Barrington, Massachusetts, resident Rachel Fletcher, speaking about current warm and fuzzy feelings toward famous Great Barrington-born civil rights activist and scholar W.E.B. DuBois versus hard feelings against him last century.
The ubiquitous ghost spoke from different places on Cougarland Field but at every location the word was the same and it was the only word the Washington Husky soccer players could hear - "lose". It was several days after Halloween but the Huskies' personal ghost was hanging around for overtime because Wazzu head soccer coach Matt Potter had not lost to rival Washington since his first year at the helm and that was eight long years ago. Nothing was going to change this year either - the ghost made sure of that - as Washington took a lead but the ghost made his presence known in the form of true freshman Michaela Castain and approximately 30 minutes later, Wazzu was the proud holder of yet another victory in the Apple Cup of soccer - a 2-1 overtime win over the Huskies. This is important for several reasons - it maintains Wazzu's dominance over the Huskies in soccer, it salvages a disappointing season for the Cougars, it gives reason for a return to excellence in 2011, it gives the Wazzu athletic department their second Pac-10 win for autumn sports and cements soccer as the school's premier autumn sport and it may even prevent the Huskies from getting to the NCAA tournament. Not that that was a motivating factor or anything. But most importantly, of course, it is a win - and those are in short supply in Pullman these days. Not only a win but a Pac-10 win and a Pac-10 win against the rival Huskies.
Meanwhile, the football team continues to look for the magic rock that their first Division I win in 2010 is hiding under. They thought they found it last week when California came to town looking for their first road victory this season and were intending to do it with their third-string-recently-elevated-to-first-string quarterback. It was a scenario that could not have been any riper for a Wazzu victory. Even after getting blasted by Arizona State the week before, the Bears looked to be in a shambles and it was merely a matter of producing the same effort that got the Cougars to within 20 points of Oregon, 17 points of Arizona and 10 points of Stanford. Granted, none of those games were really that close but there was no question that the team had improved enough to be closer than three touchdowns and, in some quarters, that was considered to be massive improvement. All the more reason that it seemed like one of those nature television shows where struggling Cal was looking like a limping gazelle that happened to mistakenly wander past a hungry Cougar den and well, you know what happens next. Only it did not happen. Instead of the gazelle getting mauled by voracious Cougars, the plucky gazelle kicked the Cougars in the chops with its one good hoof and hobbled away to live one more week - since Oregon is the next opponent. That means all that is left on the schedule for potential victories is a road game against Oregon State [where head football coach Paul Wulff is winless on the road in his career and OSU are seeking two wins for bowl game eligibility status] and the anything-can-happen Apple Cup. Translation for potentially getting that first Division I win this year: it does not look good and who knows?
But there is good news on the horizon. The Pac-10/12 announced their football schedules for next season and the Cougars do not have to play USC and replace that game with Colorado - a potentially winnable game, though it is on the road. In fact, the 2011 schedule is crammed [insert preferred humor vehicle here] winnable games against Idaho State, UNLV and Washington. Of course, Idaho State is a Division I-AA [now FCS] opponent, so if the Cougars do not grab a Division I win in their last two cracks at it this season, then they will have to wait until September 10, 2011 and their home game against the Runnin' Rebels for their next chance. The wait is even longer for a Pac-10/12 win if they are unable to get a victory in their next two games - then that game against Colorado on October 1 becomes even larger. If, for some reason, there is a new head coach next year, all bets are off.
The Lounge was pleased to see the massive national influence we wield in the collegiate football universe last week. After displaying our dismay with the fact that Oregon was not ranked #1 instead of measly Auburn, the BCS Taliban saw the errors of their ways and immediately promoted the Nikes to the top spot, where they will stay after throttling the hapless Huskies last week. As it stands right now, it is an Auburn-Oregon match-up for the national championship but TCU looks good as well and so does Boise State and gee, that got the Lounge to thinking - would it not be nice to have a playoff system to work all this out on the actual field of play?
Just as the winning withdrawal symptoms were beginning to get worse, hoop season arrived in Beasley Coliseum last week with the men planting a big exhibition winning kiss on Lewis-Clark State. The men are looking good this year and we see good things happening to them as foretold in CougZone's men's hoop Pac-10 predictions. The women have their opening exhibition today and they, too, should be able to improve somewhat in the 2010-11 season. Ah, hoop season has finally arrived.
"I never knew Wazzu was that dominant," says Coach Burberry, who professes subtle ignorance after Wazzu defeated the Huskies again in soccer.
Death, taxes and beating the Huskies, Coach - that is what life has been all about since Wazzu head soccer coach Matt Potter, became the head coach in 2003. After suffering an initial setback in his first year, Potter has never again experienced the feeling of a loss to the Huskies - that is seven straight years without losing to their main rival - the longest stretch of Husky dominance in any Wazzu sporting program. But better than that for Potter and the Cougars is the fact that the future is even brighter. Despite ending the season in their usual fashion of not losing to the Huskies, the Cougars had a disappointing year and will not be going to the NCAA tournament for a third consecutive time. But unlike this year, where Potter lost a massive amount of important seniors from last year's team and had to rebuild team depth, next year he will have a seasoned squad of mostly experienced sophomores, juniors and seniors that should get Wazzu back to the NCAA promised land.
"I liked that win but even better, I liked the new players," says Burgermeister Meisterburger about the men's hoop exhibition win.
Specifically, the new player named Faisal Aden is one who BM fancied, as Aden led all Cougar scorers with 22 points in their 40-point win over L-C State. Now, Aden will have a much tougher time finding those points as the season progresses and more difficult opponents are faced, but it is heartening for head coach Ken Bone to know that Aden is not having any difficulties in finding his shot right out of the gate. With junior guard Klay Thompson expected to get plenty of defensive attention throughout the year, it will be a bonus for Wazzu if Aden can consistently create his shot and produce points and, of course, make Wazzu a more dangerous offensive team. Defensively, the Cougars returned to their former selves of holding opponents under 50 points and although, again, the caliber of opponent was not Pac-10-worthy, it is still a good idea for the current Cougars to get the taste of that specific defensive effort flavor in their mouths - down the road, when the going gets considerably tougher, they will need to recall how that tasted.
Last week should have been a celebration of the birth of famous actor/comedian John Candy but Candy died of a heart attack at age 43 in 1993 and the world lost their only legitimate Yosh Schmenge [half of the Schmenge Brothers duo with fellow SCTV actor/comedian Eugene Levy]. The Lounge only mentions this because many television channels will soon be bombarded with Planes, Trains and Automobiles movie showings over the next six weeks and it is important to know where comedy lives and why it does not mow its lawn as frequently as you might like.
The Lounge Scientists were busy this week searching for extraterrestrials [not Paris Hilton or Lindsay Lohan - real extraterrestrials] and have joined in with the observatories in 12 nations around the world to help coordinate their search for life on other planets.
"This is a real coming of age for exoplanets," says Lounge Scientist #12, Frank Drake, a scientist in West Virginia who, reputedly, thought he saw an exoplanet in his closet one day.
"Lose" came the ghostly wail from all four corners of Cougarland .
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