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No. 21 @SunDevilSoccer hosts No. 17 LSU in matchup of 5-0 teams

Sep 4, 2021

THE GAME: No. 21 Sun Devil Soccer (5-0) vs. No. 17 LSU (5-0)
WHEN: Sunday at 2 pm MST
WHERE: Sun Devil Soccer Stadium • Tempe, Ariz.
TELEVISION: Pac-12 Arizona 
LIVE STATS: Click here
The No. 21 Sun Devil soccer team will be looking for its first 6-0 start since 2000 when it hosts No. 17 LSU on Sunday (2 p.m. MST) in the second and final day of the annual Sun Devil Classic. The game will be televised live on Pac-12 Arizona.
The Sun Devils improved to 5-0 and extended their winning streak in non-conference, regular season games to 11 (10-0-1 going back to the 2019 season) after a 4-2 win over CSUN on Friday. For the third time in her illustrious career, senior forward Nicole Douglas tied the single-game school record with three goals in helping the Sun Devils rally from an early 1-0 deficit.
The Sun Devils went from receiving votes up to No. 21 in the United Soccer Coaches Top 25 after their road wins last week at Mississippi State (1-0) and at UAB (5-1). ASU is also No. 3 in the Pacific Regional behind fellow Pac-12 schools UCLA (No. 1) and Stanford (No. 2). 
This will be the second all-time meeting between the Sun Devils and Tigers. ASU came out victorious in the only prior meeting (1-0 win in 2019 at LSU). Douglas scored the game's only goal in the 52nd minute of play.
• This is the second straight season ASU has started 5-0. Last season ASU would go on to start the season 6-0-2 before suffering their its loss in the season's ninth game. ASU's best winning streak to start a season came in 2000 when it started 9-0. That season ASU won a school record 14 games and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history.
• After her three-game performance in Friday's win, Douglas is now in third place on ASU's all-time list for career goals (33), is tied for third place with former Sun Devil Elizabeth Bogus (2002-05) for career points (80) and is in fifth-place in career GW goals (11).
• Douglas (six goals) and fellow senior forward Olivia Nguyen (four goals) have combined for 10 of ASU's 18 goals. Although Douglas and Nguyen have accounted for the majority of the goals, the Sun Devils have had nine different players find the back of the net.
• In the national rankings (through games played Sept. 2), the Sun Devils are among the top 20 teams in the nation in shots on goal per game (8th/11.0), assists per game (11th/3.6), points per game (11th/10.8), scoring offense (14th/3.6 goals per game), and shots per game (17th/21.0).
• Individually speaking, Douglas is 2nd in the nation in shots per game (5.6), 4th in shots on goal per game (3.2), 4th in points per game (3.2), tied for sixth in GW goals (2), 12th in goals per game (1.2) and 31st in assists per game (0.8). Nguyen is tied for 6th in GW goals (2). Both of them came in the first week of the season in ASU's wins over Central Arkansas (6-1) and Southeastern Louisiana (2-1). Nguyen helped the Sun Devils stave off Southeastern Louisiana's upset bid after she scored two goals in just under 11 minutes, including the game winner in the 90th minute.
• The Sun Devils started the season with a pair of true freshman goalkeepers – Julia Ortega and Birta Gudlaugs each played a half in ASU's first two games – at the team was forced to start the season without returning two-year starter Giulia Cascapera due to injury. Gudlaugs has played every minute of ASU's last three games, including a shutout win at Mississippi State on Aug. 26.
• In its first five games, the Sun Devils' defense has allowed an average of only 6.0 shots per game.
• ASU has overcome 1-0 deficits in three of their wins: vs. Central Arkansas, vs. Southeastern Louisiana and vs. CSUN. The Sun Devils would go on to wins those games by a combined score of 12-4.
The following is what ASU head coach Graham Winkworth had to say following Friday's win over CSUN.
"I'm delighted with the result and happy to get another victory. I'm a little disappointed and what's most encouraging is the players are disappointed with their level of performance today. A sign of a good team is to get results when playing poorly. I don't think we were poor, but we weren't at our best and so I think we've got to reflect on that in the next couple days and come back and put in a stronger effort against a very talented LSU team on Sunday. Overall, I'm happy to get a positive result but just a little disappointed with the performance today."
Nicole Douglas (Offensive POW/Week One), Lieske Carleer (Defensive POW/Week Two) and Birta Gudlaugs (goalkeeper of the week) have combined for three Pac-12 Player of the Week honors after the season's first two weeks.
Douglas opened the season with a pair of goals and assisted on three others to tie the second-highest, single-game point total in program history (seven) in helping lead the Sun Devils to a 6-1 win over Central Arkansas on Aug. 19.
Both Carleer and Gudlaugs played big roles in helping the Sun Devils remain unbeaten (4-0 on Aug. 26) after capturing road wins at Mississippi State (1-0 on Thursday) and at UAB (5-1 on Aug. 29). Carleer played all but seven minutes of the two games and contributed to a defensive effort that allowed a single goal including a shutout at MSU and conceded only 13 shots in two games. Carleer helped ASU get off to a good start in the 5-1 win at UAB after the junior defender scored her first goal of the season in the 13th minute to give ASU an early 1-0 advantage. Gudlaugs earned the first shutout of her career in the win at Mississippi State. The true freshman keeper made eight saves in ASU's two wins and gave up a single goal in 180 minutes of play. 
• Nicole Douglas – Has started all 56 of her career games
• Lieske Carleer - Has started all 39 of her games 
• Giulia Cascapera – Had started all 34 career games coming into the season
• Callie Darst – Has started 19 straight games and 41 of 42 career games
• Eva van Deursen – Has started last 18 games and 53 of 56 career games
• Alexia Delgado – Had started 15 straight games and 49 of 55 career games
• Jessica Hale – Has started 17 of last 18 games 
• Jazmine Wilkinson – Has started 18 of 22 career games
• Olivia Nguyen – Has started 21 of last 22 games
• Cori Sullivan – Has started 22 of 34 career games
The Sun Devils are coming off their best season under head coach Graham Winkworth, finishing the regular season with an 8-5-2 record and making a postseason run for the first time since 2014 and the eighth time in school history. ASU made it to the second round of the tournament to become the fifth ASU soccer team to advance to that stage in the NCAA Tournament.
Winkworth and company boasted an undefeated non-conference slate, including an overtime comeback thriller at Grand Canyon to protect the win-streak. ASU continued its unbeaten streak through eight games and notched wins against UCLA, Stanford, and USC to become only the fourth team in history to beat all three programs in a single season. With a 4-4-2 record in Pac-12 Conference play, the Sun Devils finished in the middle of the table after being picked to finish last in the preseason poll.
The Sun Devils scored 28 goals in 17 games, second-most in the Pac-12 Conference. ASU boasted one of the strongest defensive lines in the Pac-12, conceding only 16 goals and forcing ASU's keepers to make only 57 saves - fifth-fewest amongst Conference competitors.