Douglas and defense the difference in Sun Devil Soccer’s 1-0 win over Nebraska
TUCSON, Ariz. – Nicole Douglas scored her team-leading seventh goal of the season and Birta Gudlaugs recorded her second clean sheet of 2021 in the Sun Devil soccer team's 1-0 win over Nebraska on Thursday.
The Sun Devils (6-1) were coming off their first loss of the season, a 5-2 decision to current No. 7 LSU on Sunday, a contest in which the Sun Devils were not able to capitalize on a number of good chances that could have made a difference in the outcome.
"Superb effort from the team today," ASU head coach Graham Winkworth said after Thursday's win. "First half, I thought we were very good. I thought we created a lot of high-percentage chances, and I was really pleased with the football we were playing, combined with the heart and desire that the girls showed. (In the second half) we did not play as much of the football that we played in the first half, but the heart and desire was there for 90 minutes. And that's the number one thing we want as a Sun Devil, so really proud of the girls, really proud of their efforts, and I couldn't be happier. It is a great result against a really talented Nebraska team."
Both ASU and Nebraska (4-3) had the same number of shots (11) and shots on goal (6). Gudlaugs, a true freshman who has played in every game and started all but one, made six saves in the game. She was joined by another true freshman in the starting lineup, defender Olivia Coleman who started for the first time in her career and provided the Sun Devils with 61 minutes of solid play in the game.
The game's only goal came in the seventh minute when Eva van Deursen slipped a pass to Douglas with three defenders in the area. With a pair of Cornhuskers giving chase, Douglas was able to get off a clean shot that resulted in the 34th goal of her career. It was also her 12th career game-winning goal moving Douglas into a tie for fourth place on ASU's all-time list with Elizabeth Bogus (2002-05).
The Devils got excellent support from the bench as all seven reserves who entered the game – Lucy Johnson (35 minutes), Dai Williams (33 minutes), Lauren Kirberg (29 minutes), Caetlyn Johannes (25 minutes), Olivia Kearse-Thomas (23 minutes), Tahlia Herman-Watt (15 minutes) and Kennedy Mayo (10 minutes) – had double-digit totals in minutes played.
Douglas (5/2) and Cori Sullivan (3/2) combined for eight of ASU's shots and four of the team's shots on goal.
With her assist on Douglas' goal, van Deursen moved into a three-way tie for first place on the team, joining Douglas and Sullivan with four assists apiece.
Thursday's game was just the second contest this season in which ASU was not able to score multiple goals. They are 2-0 in such contests, including a 1-0 win at Mississippi State on Aug. 26. The Sun Devils are also 3-0 in one-goal games. Last season the Sun Devils were 4-4 in games that were decided by a goal, including a 3-2 record in games that went to overtime (not including ties).
In their first seven games of this season and last season, ASU is 11-1-2 (6-1 this season and 5-0-2 last season).
ASU will close out the weekend with another trip to Tucson when they face Texas Tech on Sunday at 10 am MST. It will be the second Sunday in a row in which the Sun Devils will be facing an unbeaten team as the Red Raiders moved to 6-0-1 with a 2-1 win at Arizona on Thursday. Sunday's game can be seen on Pac-12 Arizona.