ASU Women's Soccer Travels to the Bay Area to Face Top-Ranked Stanford and California

Oct. 30, 2009

The Arizona State women’s soccer team makes its final road trip of the regular season this week when it travels to the Bay Area to face top-ranked Stanford on Friday (7 p.m. PT) and California on Sunday (1 p.m. PT).

Last Game

Arizona State (7-5-3, 0-4-1) went into an overtime game for the third consecutive week. The Sun Devils would not end up with the result they wanted as Arizona defeated the Sun Devils 2-1 in double overtime.
    The game was a tale of two halves. Arizona controlled most of the action in the first half with a 7-4 advantage in shots. The offensive pressure the Wildcats were able to apply resulted in a goal in the 15th minute which gave the Wildcats an early 1-0 lead.
    It was Arizona State though that controlled the second half action holding a 9-3 advantage in shots and a 3-1 advantage in corner kicks.  ASU had numerous chances to tie the game and in the 86th minute of play would do just that when forward Courtney Tinnin scored her second goal of the season.
    Despite seeming to control the action during both of the overtime periods, ASU was not able to score the game-winning goal. Arizona would win the game in the second overtime when freshman forward Alex Smith found the back of the net after the ball came her way on a free kick.

Scouting Stanford (17-0, 6-0 Pac-10)

Currently the consensus top-ranked team in the country, Stanford has out scored its opponents 59-10 this season. The Cardinal has a 397-114 advantage in shots this season and has taken 104 cornet kicks while its opponents have taken only 29.  Last week at Washington State the Cardinal was pushed into overtime for the first time this season before coming away with a 2-1 win. The Sun Devils are 3-6-3 all-time against Stanford. Under Kevin Boyd the Sun Devils are 0-1-1 against the Cardinal after a 0-0 tie in Tempe in 2007 and a 5-0 defeat last season in Palo Alto in which the Sun Devils were without the serviced of starting goalkeeper Briana Silvestri.Arizona State has surprisingly faired well against Stanford as it has a 3-6-3 record against them.

Scouting California (8-7-1, 2-4)

Cal has lost its last four decisions, including two in overtime, since starting the Pac-10 season with a pair of wins. Cal is led by forward Alex Morgan who leads the team in goals (11), assists (6), points (28) shots (76) and is tied for the team lead in game-winning goals (3). Cal leads the all time series with a record of 6-4-2 against ASU. Prior to coming to Arizona State current Sun Devil head coach Kevin Boyd spent 10 seasons as the head coach at California where he complied 124-63-20 record and led the Golden Bears to the NCAA Tournament eight times.

Working Overtime

One of the keys to ASU’s earlier 7-1-2 start was its relative success in overtime compared to last season when it was unable to break into the win column as it went 0-4-3 in seven overtime contests. In its first four overtime games this season the Sun Devils were 2-0-2. However in Pac-10 play the Sun Devils are 0-2-1 with losses against third ranked UCLA 3-2 in double overtime and at Arizona 2-1 in double overtime.Last week’s 2-1 lose to Arizona represented the seventh time the Sun Devils have been involved in an overtime contest.

Harkin Anchors ASU’s Defense

One of the biggest factors in ASU’s success during Kevin Boyd’s two-plus seasons as head coach has been the Sun Devils’ ability to hold the opposition’s attack in check. While goalkeepers Briana Silvestri and Alyssa Gillmore have risen to the challenge when opponents have gotten within scoring range, senior defender Liz Harkin has made a habit of preventing opposing players from getting clear shots on Silvestri and Gillmore.

“When you have a player like Liz Harkin on the back line your defense automatically becomes one of the strengths of your team,” said ASU head coach Kevin Boyd. “She’s one of the best if not the best defender in the country. She doesn’t get beat and she has added more knowledge and more technique to what she does and she is much more vocal this year.”

Last season Harkin earned first-team All-Pac-10 honors and following the season joined the U.S. U-20 Team which captured the gold at the U-20 World Cup in Chile. Now with international experience under her belt, Boyd feels that Harkin is poised for an outstanding senior year.

Thus far in 2009 Harkin has continued to distinguished herself as one of the nation’s best. Earlier this season Harkin was named to both the Lady Vol Classic and Sun Devil Desert Classic All-Tournament Teams. She was named the Defensive MVP of the Sun Devil Dessert Classic after helping the Sun Devil shutout Old Dominion 1-0 (Sept. 4) and tie eighth-ranked Virginia 1-1 (Sept. 6).

Elston Sparks the Sun Devils' Attack

One of the biggest offensive bright spots for the Sun Devils in 2009 has been the play of junior midfield Alexandra Elston. Named to the Pac-10 All-Freshman team two years ago, Elston has demonstrated time and against this season why she is one of the top midfielders in the Pac-10. She currently leads the Sun Devils in points (13), is tied for first in goals (4) and is tied for first in assists (5). Earlier this season Elston helped carry the Sun Devils to victory as she notched both goals in ASU’s 2-1 overtime win over San Diego State. In addition to tying her single-game career high for goals, Elston also tallied the fifth game-winning goal of her career, which moved her into a tie for eighth place on ASU’s all-time list. For her effort against the Aztecs, Elston was named to the TopDrawerSoccer.com National Team of the Week for Women’s Soccer.

Volpe Always a Scoring Threat

Another Sun Devils who is no stranger to success on the offensive end is junior forward Karin Volpe, who led the Sun Devils in goals, points and shots each of the last two seasons and is currently second on the team in points (12), second in assists (12) and tied for second in goals (4). In early September Volpe was named the Pac-10’s Player of the Week after being the driving force behind the Sun Devils’ 3-2 come-from-behind, double-overtime win over the Tennessee Lady Vols in Knoxville. After scoring the tying goal with 13 seconds left in regulation, Volpe would give the Sun Devils the win after scoring again in the 107th minute. Against Northern Arizona (Sept. 27), she turned in one of the best single-game efforts in program history as she scored two goals and assists on two others in ASU’s 4-0 win. The six points in a single game are a career best for Volpe and represent the second-highest single-game point total in program annals. Volpe is currently in fourth place on ASU’s all-time list in career game winning goals (8) and is eighth in both career goals (18) and career points (45)
 
Fab Frosh

One storyline head coach Kevin Boyd was excited about heading into 2009 was the potential of this year’s freshman class. Five members of that class - forwards Bianca Doller, and Kiara Williams, defender Sierra Joseph, midfielder Taylor McCarter and goalkeeper Alyssa Gillmore - have started at least one game for ASU this year. A little more than 12 minutes into ASU’s season opening win over UC Irvine (Aug. 21), Boyd’s excitement was quickly validated as McCarter (assist) and Doller (goal) teamed up for ASU’s first goal of the season. Doller came up big during her first Pac-10 home games as she scored both of ASU’s two goals against Washington State (Oct. 16) and Washington (Oct. 18) and moved herself in to a tie for third on the team in goals (3). In August, during her first road game ever as a Sun Devil, Dolller, who is currently fourth on the team in points (8), came up big in the second half of ASU’s win over Tennessee as she assisted on both Karin Volpe’s game-tying goal with 13 seconds left and her game winner in double overtime. Later, it was another freshman who would provide the Sun Devils with offensive heroics as Kiara Williams came off the bench to score both of ASU’s goals (and the first two of her career) in ASU’s 1-0 win over Old Dominion and 1-1 tie against Virginia. Williams, who made the first start of her career against San Diego State on Sept. 11, was named to the Sun Devil Classic All-Tournament Team and was recognized by CollegeSoccer360.com in being named one of its “Primetime Performers of the Week.”  Against San Diego State (Sept. 11), freshman defender Sierra Joseph made her presence felt on the offensive end as her free kick set up the game-winning goal by Alexandra Elston in ASU’s 2-1 overtime win. At Nebraska (Sept. 20), McCarter helped send the contest into overtime with the first goal of her career.

Another freshmen who is establishing herself is goalkeeper Alyssa Gillmore, who tied the single-season school record with 14 saves earlier this season at third-ranked UCLA.

Another player who has consistently provided the Sun Devils with a spark on the offensive end has been forward Courtney Tinnin. Although she is in her second year in the program, Tinnin, who was the Gatorade Player of the Year for the state of New Mexico in 2008, still has four years of eligibility after being forced to miss last season because of a knee injury she suffered in the season’s second game. Tinnin is currently first on the team in assists (5), second in shots (27) and third in points (9). Against Northern Arizona (Sept. 27), Tinnin notched the first goal of her career in ASU’s 4-0 win. Last week she forced overtime at Arizona after scoring her second goal of the season in the 86th minute to tie the game at 1-1.

Head Coach Kevin Boyd

Was named the third coach in the history of the ASU women’s soccer program on March 30, 2007... Prior to coming to Arizona State spent 10 seasons as the head coach at California where he complied 124-63-20 record and led the Golden Bears to the NCAA Tournament eight times... Last season the Sun Devils nearly qualified for the NCAA Tournament despite losing six players to season ending injuries. ASU’s 8-8-4 record included a win against seventh-ranked and defending national champion USC, ASU’s first win over a Top-10 squad since 2001. In 2008 the Sun Devils also defeated No. 20 UC Santa Barbara and recorded ties at seventh-ranked Texas and at No. 22 California... In 2007, Boyd’s first season at ASU, the Sun Devils produced a double-digit win total (10-9-1) for the first time since 2003... On the academic side, the Sun Devils have earned 21 Pac-10 All-Academic citations in Boyd’s two seasons, including six first-team members and one second-team member. ASU has also had three student-athletes earn Academic All-America honors. In 2007-08 the Sun Devils’ 3.55 cumulative GPA was among the top 15 in the country according to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America... Under Boyd the, California produced 28 first or second-team All-Pac-10 Conference selections while also garnering 21 selections to the Academic All-Pac-10 first or second teams. Additionally, Boyd’s teams carried a stellar overall GPA, leading all Cal teams during the 2003-04 season (3.34)... In his final season at California he led the Golden Bears to the third round, their deepest run in the tournament in nearly 20 years... Attended Tri-State University in Angola, Ind., where he was a four-year letter winner. An honorable mention All-American in 1989, Boyd was a three-time team captain for the Trojans while earning three all-district selections, three all-area selections and three all-MICL selections as a sweeper. For his efforts, he was inducted into the Tri-State Hall of Fame.

Record at ASU: 25-22-8.
Career Record: 149-85-28

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