Scoring Machine Sends Soccer to Second Round
GREENVILLE, N.C. -- Moving on! Sun Devil Soccer (9-5-2) unleashed a scoring machine on Siena in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, dominating 90 minutes in a 4-0 shutout win on Wednesday morning. Arizona State faces No. 9 overall seed Duke on Saturday, May 1 at 9 a.m. MST.
The Sun Devils put on a masterclass in all-around match control, taking 24 shots and ten on goal while holding the Saints to seven shots and only one on target.
Junior forward Nicole Douglas collected the game-winning goal in the first ten minutes of play, capitalizing on a deflected shot by Eva van Deursen that she sent to the back of the net with a quick one touch. It is her ninth goal of the season and the 29th of her career.
— Phoenix Rising FC (@PHXRisingFC) April 28, 2021
ASU continued to pressure through the first frame and went all-in on its offensive power in the second half. Eleven minutes after halftime, defender Lucy Johnson found herself with her first goal of the season, extending the ASU lead to 2-0. The scoring train didn't stop there. Eight minutes later, Lieske Carleer scored off a set piece with assists from Johnson and Olive Jones.
Enter Cori Sullivan for good measure. The Arizona native wanted in on the action, going for five shots in the final three minutes of regulation. Her determination finally paid off as she collected the fourth and final goal of the match in the 89th minute.
SUN DEVILS WIN
SUN DEVILS WIN
SUN DEVILS WIN
SUN DEVILS WIN
SUN DEVILS WIN
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— Sun Devil Soccer (@SunDevilSoccer) April 28, 2021
"Only seven ASU teams have made it to the NCAA Tournament.. and there've been some incredible players coming through as our alumni since 1996 when it began... So it's exciting for me to see these young ladies who have now etched their names in the same history level as that group and are now one opportunity away from the Sweet Sixteen which is something that we've talked about since we arrived here," said head coach Graham Winkworth
ASU's four goals are the most the Saints have conceded in a game all season. Before the NCAA Tournament, Seina conceded only three goals all season.
Thanks to an impenetrable back line, Giulia Cascapera was forced to make only one save through 85 minutes of play. She collected her sixth shutout of the season which ties her for fifth in ASU's single season records.
UP NEXT: ASU faces No. 9 overall seed Duke on Saturday, May 1 at 9 a.m. MST. Duke (10-5-3, 4-2-2) played its regular season in Fall 2020 and added on several non-conference matches in March and April before earning a first round bye in the NCAA Tournament.
"We're grateful just to play - but to play against teams with such prestigious histories like Duke, what a cool opportunity," said Winkworth. "We're going to be excited, we'll rest and recover tonight and then we'll look to do a lot of work over the next few days in preparation for one of the national powers."
HOW IT HAPPENED
- The Sun Devils looked to pressure early, and Douglas had the answer. Siena's backline wasn't enough to stop Eva van Deursen's shot in the box was deflected by a defender and sent directly to Douglas on the right side of the goal. With one touch, Douglas tallied her ninth goal of the season in the 10th minute of play.
- ASU attacked accurately, nailing three shots on goal in the first 30 minutes of regulation. Alexia Delgado saw a great opportunity in the 30th minute from the top of the box but was blocked by a Saints defender. On the other end of the pitch, the ASU defense stifled the Saints, holding them to zero shots on goal.
- With 10 minutes left, Cori Sullivan played into another scoring chance for the Sun Devils with a big shot that forced a save by the Saints goalkeeper.
- ASU finished the first half with five shots on goal and held Siena to only three shots, zero on target.
- Like the first half, ASU entered the second half firing. Olivia Nguyen kicked her third shot of the match that Siena's netminder eventually saved. Nguyen would go for another one and then set up Douglas for a shot from the left that couldn't find the back of the net.
- After a stream of Sun Devil opportunities, Lucy Johnson made her mark - scoring her first collegiate career goal with a long cross from the right corner on top of the box. The Sun Devils extended their lead to 2-0 at the 62nd minute.
- Relentless offensive pressure sealed the deal for ASU as Lieske Carleer scored the third goal of the match off of a set-piece.
- Kiki Stewart unleashed a dangerous chance, bringing Siena's keeper to the top of the box and directing a shot just past the left post.
- In the final minutes, it was clear Cori Sullivan was hungry for a goal. She tried and tried, kicking five shots in the last three minutes of play. She beat out a one-on-one challenge with a Siena defender to tally the fourth and final goal of the match.
A WORD WITH WINKWORTH
On team's performance:
"They were very professional. We went back to basics the last week or so - all about what got us to this point, on and off the pitch, and that's the high level of culture we've got, thinking about what each player is asked to do in each position, and we went back to basics. Obviously, part of that is scoring goals for the attacking players, and part of that is set pieces. I'm really pleased with about an hour of the performance."
On 1-0 lead at halftime and potential to open up scoring in second half:
"I was frustrated because I felt like we should've maintained possession a little bit more than we did in the first half. In the first 15 minutes, we moved the ball around really well; we scored a great team goal that was basic soccer - pass and move, pass and move. It was a good team goal, but then we stopped doing it for half an hour, and that was frustrating. We should've continued to move the ball around for the remainder of the first half, and we didn't. However, in the second half, I felt we went back to basics again and moved the ball around well, kept possession, and made Siena do the running. I do want to say a huge congratulations to Coach Karbowski and his staff and all of his players because they've had an incredible season winning their conference championship. I've come from a mid-major program myself, and they've had an amazing year, so congratulations to Siena."
On performance today carrying into match against Duke:
"We know a little bit about Duke; we've watched some of them. I didn't get into too much scouting yet. They're very attractive to watch. They play some beautiful soccer, kind of like playing a Stanford or a UCLA in the way they play; they're very possession-oriented. But to be honest, it almost suits us because we're similar in the way we play: possession-oriented soccer. It should be an enjoyable game to watch for the neutral because both teams try to play futbol the right way and I think that suits both teams. We're excited. But at the same time, when you look at the seedings, and you see No. 3 UCLA and No. 8 USC, we know that we can compete with those teams because we have. Duke is one of the best teams in the country, and year after year, we know that, and we respect that, but we also know we can play at their level if we play to our best. In the USC and UCLA games, we were at our best, and if we want to stand a chance on Saturday, we're going to have to be at our best again because Coach Church is an incredible coach with a lot of experience. I look at it the same way we looked at USC, UCLA, and Stanford, and any of the Pac-12 schools. Every game is an opportunity during what has been a crazy year. We're grateful just to play - but to play against teams with such prestigious histories like Duke, what a cool opportunity. We're going to be excited, we'll rest and recover tonight, and then we'll look to do a lot of work over the next few days in preparation for one of the national powers."
On defensive performance:
"I feel like we defended well. It was a bit open in the middle of the path sometimes, but I can't complain. We were solid defensively. Giulia Cascapera didn't have to do too much, and our back line was exceptional. Credit to all of the defenders but a special mention for Jess Hale today because I thought she was very good in the right-back position and getting forward while also having the engine to get back as well. We wanted fullbacks to get a little bit further forward in these games than we maybe showed in recent matches."
Nicole Douglas Quotes:
"I think the team played really well. We stuck to the game plan. There were spells where we didn't play the best soccer, but we dug deep and carried it throughout the 90 minutes of the game and are happy with our performance."
"The first goal is always the important one because it can determine the rest of the game, so we were on the front foot, and the goals just kept on coming. I was so happy to see the other players get some minutes as well that don't normally get minutes, and they made an impact on the field."
"It was so great to get back on the scoresheet. I mean, that's your job as a number nine, right? So I'm happy to get on the scoresheet, but I'm also excited for the other girls who made it on the scoresheet. Everyone deserves the opportunity to get goals, and everyone can get goals - I mean, you see Lucy Johnson, and she's a left-back, so anyone has the ability to score. I'm just really proud of everyone."
"At the end of the regular season, we just went back to basics. That's what we needed to do. Getting more touches on the ball and the forward line has been working on their creative skills in the attacking half. We've all come together as well."