The No. 20 Washington men’s soccer team is in line for another postseason appearance this season, but before that happens it must play one more Pac-12 regular season match against Oregon State to end the year.
The Huskies currently lay claim to a 12-5-1 record, and have not played a match in a week and a half since they defeated UCLA 1-0 in Los Angeles.
The long layoff has given the team the opportunity to recuperate and gear up for whatever may lie in store as far as the postseason goes.
“The break has been big for us,” junior midfielder Corban Anderson said. “At this point in our season, I think our bodies are starting to feel it a little bit, so any extra time of rest is great in preparing for the tournament but also our last Pac-12 game. We’ve really enjoyed it, and we needed it, so we’re feeling good.”
This win put the UW in front of UCLA in the conference standings, but No. 22 California pulled two points ahead of Washington in the standings with their win over UCLA this past Sunday.
The Huskies have a great chance to get back ahead of the Golden Bears in the final season standings, however, as Cal goes to No. 3 Stanford to take on the Cardinal, who are undefeated in conference play.
Redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Saif Kerawala won the Pac-12 Player of the Week for his performances last week, the third UW player this season to win the award.
He did not allow a goal in either game he played last week, and in his last 239 minutes and three seconds in goal, he has not let the opposition put up a goal on him.
For seniors like defender Justin Fiddes and defender Garret Jackson, the Oregon State game Thursday will be the last regular season game of their college careers.
“We try not to make a big deal out of a lot of things, but tomorrow we’ll make mention of it because you want to play with that certain conviction and pride that this is your last known game at UW,” head coach Jamie Clark said.
The first game the Huskies and Beavers played ended in a 2-1 victory for the UW, with redshirt sophomore forward Joey Parish coming off the bench and scoring both goals in the win.
“They were missing probably their top forward that game too, and they gave us a lot of problems, so you add him in, and I think they’re one of the more dangerous teams we play against,” Clark said.
The forward that Clark is speaking of is senior Timmy Mueller, who has had trouble staying on the field this season after a great first three years with the Beavers. He has only played in nine games, and has only put up one goal and two assists in limited action.
OSU walked away from the last meeting with 3-6 record, and their season did not get any better. The Beavers have gone 3-5 since, all of these losses coming by way of shutout. They were beaten twice by UCLA and twice by Stanford, and lost to California on top of that.
“Against Oregon State, we just want to make sure we’re moving the ball quickly, decisively, and always playing forward, I think that’s always a big keys when we play those guys because they tend to sit in a lot,” Anderson said. “And always making sure we’re getting on the end of some crosses and set pieces and scoring, and if we do that, we should be good.”
Overall, the long break has reinvigorated the team and given the team the vitality it needs to not only be ready for Thursday, but potentially more games to come.
“It’s the first time all year that everyone’s been healthy, since preseason, so we’re back to full go,” Clark said. “Just as importantly, academically guys are getting ahead of the game too, so guys are now in a good spot, weight off their shoulders, singular focus, that’s how you want it to be.”
The match starts Thursday at 2 p.m. on Pac-12 Networks.
Reach reporter Chris Angkico at email@example.com. Twitter: @chrisangkico