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Sun Devil Soccer takes on No. 21, unbeaten Texas Tech on Sunday

Sep 11, 2021

THE GAME: Sun Devil Soccer (6-1) vs. No. 21 Texas Tech (6-0-1)
WHEN: Sunday at 10 am MST
WHERE: Murphey Field at Mulcahy Soccer Stadium • Tucson, Ariz.
WATCH: Pac-12 Arizona (Cable or satellite log-in required) 
LIVE STATS: Click here

For the second consecutive Sunday (10 a.m. MST on Sept. 12) the Sun Devil soccer team (6-1) will be facing an unbeaten team when it takes on No. 21 Texas Tech (6-0-1) in Tucson in a game that can be seen on Pac-12 Arizona. Last Sunday, ASU was defeated by then-No. 17/current No. 7 LSU, 5-2, in a battle of 5-0 teams. ASU bounced back with  a 1-0 win on Thursday against Nebraska.
The Sun Devils went from receiving votes up to No. 21 (Aug. 31) in the United Soccer Coaches Top 25 after their road wins at Mississippi State(1-0) and at UAB (5-1). ASU was downgraded to receiving votes after last week's lost to No. 17 LSU. ASU also fell one spot to No. 4 in the Pacific Regional behind fellow Pac-12 schools UCLA (No. 1) and Stanford (No. 2) and Oregon State (No. 3).
The Sun Devils have dropped all four of their prior meetings with Texas Tech. Like Sunday's game, all four of the meetings have taken place in Tucson.
• This was the second straight season ASU started 5-0. On Sept. 5, ASU was looking for its first 6-0 start since 2000 before being defeated by No. 17 LSU, 5-2. Last season ASU would go on to start the season 6-0-2 before its first 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.
• Nicole Douglas scored the 34th goal of her career in Thursday's win over Nebraska. Douglas is currently in third place on ASU's all-time list in both career goals (34) and career points (82) and is tied for fourth place with Elizabeth Bogus in career GW goals (12).
• Douglas (seven goals) & fellow senior forward Olivia Nguyen (five goals) have combined for 12 of ASU's 21 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. 9), the Sun Devils are among the top 25 teams in the nation in shots on goal per game (11th/10.3), assists per game (17th/3.1), points per game (23rd/9.1) and scoring offense (24th/3.0 goals per game).
• Individually speaking, Nicole Douglas is 3rd in the nation in GW goals (3), 6th in points per game (2.6), 7th in goals per game (1.0) and shots on goal per game (2.7) and 8th in shots per game (5.0). Nguyen is 22nd in the nation 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 ASU 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 – as the team was forced to start the season without returning two-year starter Giulia Cascaperan due to injury. Gudlaugs has played every minute of in four of ASU's last five games, including a pair of shutout wins at Mississippi State (Aug. 26) and vs. Nebraska in Tucson (Sept. 9).
• Freshman defender Olivia Coleman made her first career start in ASU's win vs. Nebraska (Sept. 9).
• The Sun Devils' defense has allowed an average of only 4.9 shots on goal per game while averaging 10.3 of their own. In their 5-2 loss to LSU on Sept. 5, the Sun Devils had more shots (22-17), more shots on goal (11-8) and a slight 4-3 advantage in corner kicks in the matchup of then-5-0 teams.
• 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 Thursday's win over Nebraska.
"Superb effort from the team today. 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."
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 this season. 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 capture road wins Mississippi State (1-0 on Aug. 26) 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 58 of her career games
• Lieske Carleer - Has started all 40 gamed she has played in/DNP vs. Nebraska (9/9) 
• Giulia Cascapera – Started all 34 career games coming into the season. Is not likely to return from preseason injury
• Callie Darst – Has started 21 straight games and 43 of 44 career games
• Eva van Deursen – Has started last 20 games and 55 of 58 career games
• Alexia Delgado – Had started 15 straight games and 49 of 55 career games. Has not played since Aug. 22
• Jessica Hale – Has started 19 of last 20 games 
• Jazmine Wilkinson – Has started 20 of 24 career games
• Olivia Nguyen – Has started 23 of last 24 games
• Cori Sullivan – Has started 24 of 36 career games
• Olivia Kearse-Thomas - Has played in 71 games with 41 career starts
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.