Soccer Upsets No. 10 USC to Remain Undefeated
TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Arizona State soccer team (5-0) continued their undefeated season after shutting out Pac-12 foe No. 10 USC, 1-0 on Friday night at Sun Devil Stadium. In the 13th minute, leading goal-scorer Nicole Douglas headed the ball past the off Trojan goalkeeper for the first goal of conference play.
The Sun Devils boosted their all-time record against the Trojans to eight wins to 17 losses since first meeting in 1996. It's the sixth time ASU defeated USC on its home pitch.
This is the first Pac-12 conference win for the Maroon and Gold since Oct. 28, 2018.
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— Sun Devil Soccer (@SunDevilSoccer) February 27, 2021
Nicole Douglas' goal puts her, once again, in the chase for a single-season game-winning goal record. Douglas' three game winners each in 2019 and 2018 ties for eighth all-time. Her 26 career goals further cements her place at No. 7 in the program's career goals record book.
With the shutout, sophomore goalkeeper Gulia Casacapera claimed her third shutout of the season and tied her single-season high (3).
"It feels amazing. We're all buzzing after that," Douglas said. "We went into the game believing that we should win this game and we fought from the get-go to the very end. It was a team effort, really. We're 5-0 now and our first Pac-12 win and we want to just keep on going."
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Just 13 minutes into the match the Sun Devils earned their second corner, leading out of the corner a scrum was in the front of the net with Alexia Delgado finding Nicole Douglas' head for the lone goal of the game.
- The Sun Devils and Trojans battled it out for the rest of the half with Delgado closing out the first with a shot that flew past the upper right post.
- Possession became of ample importance to the Sun Devils as the final 25 minutes approached. Not only were they able to capitalize on possession, but they were clearing out everything USC brought into the final third.
- Holding the goal down, Casacapera faced 15 shots and saved two on the night.
A WORD WITH WINKWORTH
On importance of first win in Pac-12 play:
"Huge. It's a big monkey off everyone's back. It's big. We've been a long time without a win (in conference play) and our last win was against LSU before this season, so getting the first win of 2020-21 against UTEP was a big deal for us, but getting the first Pac-12 win in awhile and particularly against an opponent that is as well coached and talented as USC was phenomenal. So yes, really, really happy."
On this win in comparison to other wins in his career:
"This is the biggest win I've had here at ASU. I had some big wins in my career at previous institutions. I've been lucky enough to beat the No. 1 team in the nation and had a little run in the NCAA tournament but at ASU, this is no doubt the biggest win that I've been fortunate to get and that's due to the credit of not only all of the whole squad that have worked really hard in training and that played tonight but all 26 of them and then an incredible amount of talented staff that do a lot behind the scenes. Obviously my assistant coaches but then there's a lot of people that don't get recognized that contribute to the success. So it's a huge success and I'm delighted for everyone who contributes to the soccer program."
On what to improve before next game:
"We still conceded 15 shots according to the box score tonight so we can still tighten up. I feel like for quite long periods we let them have too much comfortable possession at times and I feel we can get in their faces a little bit more but based on tonight, I thought the players executed extremely well. Being a coach, you always want to see better and I feel like, maybe I'm being picky, but we had two or three other chances that were high percentage shots that we should have probably put the game to bed with. Obviously, USC would feel the same way with a couple of their chances. But I do feel that even if they out-shot us, we might have had the best chances of the game."