Wednesday Win: Women’s Soccer historic start in 2019

Kagan chats with players in an early morning practice Friday morning, Sept. 27. 

In his first season as head coach of the Oregon State Women’s Soccer program, Matt Kagan led the Beavers to a perfect 8-0 start to regular season play, which set a program record.

The streak started with a 5-0 exhibition win against British Columbia on Aug. 18 and ended with a 2-1 loss against Washington State on Sep. 28. 

Amid the streak, OSU recorded four-straight shutouts for the first time since 2007, defeating Saint Mary’s, New Mexico, UC Davis and Houston by a combined score of 12-0. The team outscored opponents 21-3 through the eight-game stretch of regular season play that followed the exhibition win against British Columbia.

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According to junior midfielder Kaillen Fried, the success on the field could be contributed to two things: a change in mindset and better organization as a team. 

“Our goal is to improve every day because if we can be a little better each day than the last that will add up. This is a mindset that the coaches brought to our team,” Fried said in a September email. “I’m an outside back and have learned more about defense and organization in these last 6 months the coaches have been here than in my whole life.”

Leading the Beavers’ scoring was redshirt sophomore forward Mckenzie Weinert, who scored six goals. Freshman forward Brianna McReynolds added four goals and four assists, including scoring three goals in the 5-0 win at Houston. Sophomore goalkeeper Bridgette Skiba also kept a clean sheet in five of the nine matchups. 

Though it can be easy to credit the coaching change for success, Kagan noted  during an early season interview that the spotlight should remain on the players themselves.

“These kids are everything,” Kagain said. “Obviously with the wins, there’s been a lot of focus on Matt Kagan, which I don’t think is right to be honest. The focus should be on these players. These players have come in, they wanted a change, they’re focused every day, they work their tails off.”

Scott Barnes, OSU Vice President & Director of Athletics, said in an early-season email that he was proud of the team’s strong start.

“We are all very proud of what our student-athletes and coaches have accomplished thus far in such a short period of time,” Barnes said. “We are excited that he is leading our women’s soccer student-athletes.”

Kagan joined Oregon State after the team went 2-17 in 2018, hired just over a month after OSU fired former head coach Linus Rhode. He was one of 81 people to apply for the position and joined OSU after two seasons as the associate head coach at Mississippi State.