Farquharson’s Goal Lifts No. 18 Sun Devil Soccer Over Oregon State
TEMPE- Ariz. – If there is one thing Cali Farquharson has proven during her Sun Devil career it’s that she has a lot of options in her tool bag when it comes to scoring goals. Like a golfer who still finds the bottom of the cup despite not using the ideal swing, Farquharson showed on Sunday she can still find the back of the net even when she doesn’t connect on a shot the way she intended.
“I just wanted to drive it and kick it as hard as I could. I mis-hit it but was able to place it in the right spot,” said Farquharson of her shot that produced the game-winning goal in the 75th minute of ASU’s 1-0 win over Oregon State on Sunday.
The win for the Sun Devils (8-1-3, 1-0-2 Pac-12) extended their unbeaten streak to nine games (7-0-2), matching the longest unbeaten streak they have ever had in the same season (the 2000 team won its first nine games).
For the Sun Devils, Farquharson’s goal brought a positive end to the weekend, which was hanging in the balance when ASU found itself engaged in a scoreless tie with the Beavers (0-9-3, 0-3) past the midway point of the second half. Although they have not lost since August, the Sun Devils were still seeking their first Pac-12 win after posting ties in their first two league contests. While last week’s tie vs. top-ranked UCLA felt more like a win, Friday’s tie against Oregon left the Sun Devils feeling like they missed out on an opportunity.
“Execution was great. I think we played a lot better today than Friday,” said ASU head coach Kevin Boyd. “Our focus was better and our energy was better than it was against Oregon on Friday night. We came and bounced back from a game we were not satisfied with.”
Unlike Friday’s game against the Ducks in which they were unable to generate dangerous scoring opportunities until after falling behind, the Sun Devils were much more lively on the offensive end on Sunday. Although they were not overwhelming the Beavers with shots in the first half, the Sun Devils were perpetually creating situations that nearly led to excellent scoring chances.
One player who helped the Sun Devils bring more consistency to their attack on Sunday was midfielder Mackenzie Semerad, who Boyd said was a difference maker when she entered the game.
“I thought she played great” said Boyd of Semerad’s contributions on Sunday. “She changed the game in the first half when she came on to the field. Her energy and speed was able to help us get the win.”
The Sun Devil bench once again showed it is one of the team’s biggest strengths as the team seldom has a drop in its level of play when subs enter the game. Boyd cited this as one of the factors in Sunday’s win, particularly in the second half.
“We rotated a couple players into the game and that helped us stay fresh,” said Boyd. “We are not dropping our level of game when we sub. We have players that come off the bench to make us better.”
Added Semerad, “It is really important that when we make changes on the field that whoever comes into the game raises the energy on the field.”
As the second half wore on, Farquharson started to become more aggressive in taking the ball toward the goal, however she would consistently draw double-teams which impeded her progress.
It was ASU’s second-leading scorer, Aly Moon, who helped free Farquharson up for the shot that led to the goal as she momentarily drew the attention of the OSU defense while dribbling around the box. With orange jerseys starting to close in on her, Moon slipped the ball to Farquharson, who, rather than go towards goal, pulled up for a shot outside the penalty arc and placed the ball in the far upper post for the goal.
It came as no surprise to Boyd that Farquharson was still able to have such a major influence on the game, despite fighting through an ankle injury she incurred in the opening minutes of Friday’s game against Oregon.
“I rated her at around 40-50% ready to play in the first half,” said Boyd of where Farquharson was relative to her injury. “Oddly enough, in the second half she came in at around 70%. I’m not sure what happened during the break but she was ready to go.
“She’s just a special player. She is a great soccer player in every sense. I am glad to have her on the field. Even at 60-70% ready, it makes a huge difference just having her on the field. There is no surprise she got the goal.”
It was the 30th goal of Farquharson’s career, which moved her into a tie for fourth place on ASU’s all-time list (tied with Brittany Cooper/2002-05). Farquharson joins former Sun Devil and Hall of Famer Stacey Tullock as the only other player in program history to score double digits in goals three straight seasons. She also moved into fourth place on ASU’s all-time list with her 10th career game-winning goal.
Helping the Sun Devils make the 1-0 lead stand up was a quartet of players who played all 90 minutes on Sunday – defenders McKenzie Berryhill, Mckenzie Grossman and Madison Stark and goalkeeper Chandler Morris, who made four saves to collect her fourth shutout of the season. Also playing all 90 minutes and having an effect on both ends of the field was senior midfielder Brianna Gonzalez.
ASU will play its next three games on the road, starting next week when it travels to the Pacific Northwest to take on Washington (Friday at 7 p.m. PT) and Washington State (Sunday at 1 p.m. PT).