Nguyen's heroics help Sun Devil Soccer remain unbeaten
TEMPE, Ariz. – Senior Olivia Nguyen scored two goals in just under 11 minutes, including the game winner in the 90th minute of Sun Devil Soccer's 2-1 win over 2021 NCAA Tournament participant Southeastern Louisiana on Sunday.
The Sun Devils (2-0) dominated the game statistically, posting overwhelming advantages in shots (33-4), shots on goal (17-3) and corner kicks (8-0). Yet for all it had done right in the game, ASU found itself on the wrong end of a 1-0 score for much of the second half, a deficit that was the product of a goal by Southeastern Louisiana's Ellie Williams in the 47thminute.
Nguyen, senior Nicole Douglas, and sophomores Lucy Johnson and Jazmine Wilkinson each had three shots on goal to combine for 12 of ASU's 17 shots on frame.
Despite creating a flurry of scoring opportunities after falling behind, the Sun Devils were unable to get anything past Southeastern Louisiana goalkeeper Nadine Maher (14 saves) through 75-plus minutes.
ASU's constant pressure on the offensive end helped produce the equalizer in the 79th minute. Senior Cori Sullivan's cross was just over the head of Douglas, who attempted to tie the game with a header. Although Douglas – covered by a pair of SLU defenders – just missed, the ball landed in a perfect spot for Nguyen whose alert shot tied the score at 1-1.
It appeared the game was headed for overtime as the score remained tied entering the final minute of regulation. The Sun Devils had other ideas as they refused to let extra time determine the outcome after Nguyen scored the go-ahead goal with 46 seconds left in regulation. Nguyen's presence of mind was once again a key in the goal as she gathered a ball that was initially played into scoring position by Wilkinson.
"Delighted to get another win on a night like tonight," ASU head coach Graham Winkworth said. "I want to congratulate (Southeastern Louisiana) coach (Chris) McBride, his staff and his players for an immense effort. They are incredible and they defended so hard and so well for 90 minutes. I'm excited for our team and happy for (Olivia Nguyen) to get the goals she got on a couple of great finishes. I'm really proud of the team and am looking forward to the next one."
For the second-straight game the goalkeeping duties were split true freshman Birta Gudlaugs and Julia Ortega.
With Sunday's win, the Sun Devils extended their unbeaten streak in non-conference, regular season games to eight games (7-0-1) going back to the 2019 season.
Next up for ASU is its first road trip of the season for games at Mississippi State on Friday (7 pm CDT/5 pm MST) and UAB on Sunday (12 pm CDT/10 am MST).