Sun Devil Soccer returns home to host No. 21 USC on Thursday
THE GAME: Sun Devil Soccer (8-1-1, 0-0-1 Pac-12) vs. No. 21 USC (6-2, 1-0 Pac-12)
WHEN: Thursday at 6 p.m. MST
WHERE: Sun Devil Soccer Stadium • Click here to purchase tickets
WATCH: Pac-12 Arizona (Cable or satellite log-in required)
LIVE STATS: Click here
For the first time since Sept. 5, the Sun Devil soccer team (8-1-1, 0-0-1 Pac-12) will return to the friendly confines of Sun Devil Soccer Stadium when it hosts No. 21 USC (Thursday at 6 p.m.) and No. 3 UCLA (Sunday at 3 p.m.).
The Sun Devils had an 8-1 record after nine games, the second most wins after nine games in program history. Included in ASU's wins was a 3-2 win over then-No. 21 and previously unbeaten Texas Tech on Sept. 12 in Tucson. The Sun Devils opened Pac-12 play last week with a 2-2 tie at Washington.
Thursday's game vs. USC can be seen on Pac-12 Arizona. Daron Sutton will have the call.
IN THE RANKINGS
After their 8-1 record in non-conference play, the Sun Devils earned a No. 15 ranking in the United Soccer Coaches Top 25, its highest ranking in program history. The voters were not very forgiving of the Sun Devils after their 2-2 tie at Washington (Sept. 24), dropping ASU out of the poll. ASU led among teams in the receiving votes category.
The Sun Devils initially entered the Top 25 on Aug. 31 after starting the season 3-0, including road wins at Mississippi State (1-0) and at UAB (5-1). ASU was downgraded to receiving votes after its 5-2 loss to then-No. 17 LSU. The Sun Devils moved back into the Top 25 after defeating Nebraska and then-unbeaten and then-No. 21 Texas Tech in (both matches were in Tucson).
For the second consecutive season the No. 15 Sun Devil soccer team and Washington were not able to determine a winner after 110 minutes of play. Nearly seven months after playing to a 1-1 tie in the desert, the Sun Devils and Huskies battled to a 2-2 draw last Friday in the Pac-12 opener for both teams.
It took Nicole Douglas a little more than 25 minutes to secure the eighth multi-goal game of her career to put the Sun Devils up 2-0, a lead that would remain for the remainder of the half. Unfortunately for ASU, goals by the Huskies in the 67th and 77th minutes knotted the score at 2-2 and eventually forced overtime where neither team was able to secure the victory.
SERIES NOTES VS USC
ASU is 8-17 in the all-time series against USC. ASU's 1-0 win over the Trojans last season in Tempe snapped USC's five-game winning streak in the series. Nicole Douglas' goal in the 13th minute was the only goal in last season's win. ASU was outshot 15-6, but allowed only two shots on goal. As a freshman in 2012, former Sun Devil Cali Farquharson tied the single-game school record for goals (3) and set the single-game school record for points (8) in ASU's 5-4, double-overtime win over USC. Former Sun Devil Tommi Goodman's first career goal was the game winner in the second overtime.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
• 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 then-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. ASU's 8-1 represented the second-most wins after nine games in program history.
• As of Sept. 27, ASU was among the top 50 teams in the nation in scoring offense (26th/2.7 goals per game), assists per game (27th/2.5), points per game (28th/7.9) and shots on goal per game (8.6)... Individually, Nicole Douglas is second in the nation in game-winning goals (4), third in points per game (2.6), fourth in goals per game (1.1) and 17th in shots on goal per game (2.4) and Eva van Deursen is 23rd in assists per game (0.62),
• Nicole Douglas scored the 37th and 38th goals of her career in last week's 2-2 tie at Washington. Douglas is currently in third place on ASU's all-time list in both career goals (38) and career points (90) and is tied for second place in career GW goals (13). Douglas' 11 goals this season are good for No. 6 on ASU's all-time single-season goals list, while her 26 points are tied for seventh. ASU Hall of Famer Stacey Tullock holds the single-season standards in both categories (17 goals/41 points in 1999).
• Douglas (11 goals) & fellow senior forward Olivia Nguyen (five goals) have combined for 16 of ASU's 27 goals. Although Douglas and Nguyen have accounted for the majority of the goals, the Sun Devils have had 10 different players find the back of the net.
• Eva van Deursen missed ASU's games vs. then-No. 21 Texas Tech and at Colorado College due to an national team call up. She made her presence immediately felt in her return at Washington (Sept. 24), as she and Kiki Stewart assisted on Douglas' first goal of the game in the 17th minute. It was van Deursen's fifth assist of the season and 15th of her career, moving her into a tie for ninth-place on ASU's all-time list for career assists.
• 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 seven of ASU's last eight games, including three shutouts: at Mississippi State (Aug. 26 vs. Nebraska in Tucson (Sept. 9) and at Colorado College (Sept. 17).
• ASU has overcome 1-0 deficits in three of its 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.
• ASU has scored at least one goal in every game and has scored multiple goals seven times this season.
DEVILS HAVE ACCUMULATED THREE PAC-12 POW AWARDS THIS SEASON
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 59 of her career games.
• Lieske Carleer - Has started all 41 game of the 42 games she has played in/DNP vs. Nebraska (9/9) and did not start at Washington (Sept. 24), her first game coming back from injury.
• Giulia Cascapera – Started all 34 career games coming into the season. Is not likely to return from preseason injury.
• Callie Darst – Has started 24 straight games and 46 of 47 career games.
• Eva van Deursen – Has started last 21 games she has played in and 56 of 59 career games. Did not play vs. Texas Tech (9/12) and at Colorado College (9/17) due to international call-up.
• Alexia Delgado – Had started the last 15 of last 16 games she has played in and 50 of 56 career games. Returned from injury in ASU's contest at Washington (Sept. 24) after not playing since Aug. 22.
• Jessica Hale – Had started 21 of last 22 games. Did not play due to injury at Washington (Sept. 24).
• Jazmine Wilkinson – Has started 23 of 27 career games.
• Olivia Nguyen – Has started 26 of last 27 games.
• Cori Sullivan – Has started 27 of 39 career games.
• Olivia Kearse-Thomas - Has played in 74 games with 42 career starts.
RECAPPING LAST SEASON
ASU is coming off their best season under head coach Graham Winkworth, finishing the regular season with an 9-6-2 record and making the postseason 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 of NCAAs.
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.