Amid rainy, windy conditions, Sun Devil Soccer falls at Cal 1-0
BERKELEY, Calif. – Sun Devil Soccer head coach Graham Winkworth called last season the 'Lemonade Season,' for what his team was able to accomplish given the various 'lemons' his team and teams all over the country had to deal with in one form or another.
For the better part of this season, Winkworth and the Sun Devils had to reference that same Lemonade recipe as ASU jumped out to its best record after nine games in program history. The Sun Devils accomplished this despite an unlucky spate of injuries that seemed to grow on a weekly basis.
The cumulative effects of the bodies they've been missing and a series of bad breaks has defined the team's conference season up to this point. Just when it appeared ASU had faced about every possible challenge a team could face in a given season, a new one came up on Sunday when Winkworth learned the original site of Sunday's game at Cal could not be utilized due to the field not being playable because of the effects of heavy rains.
Thus – after multiple changes in start times and multiple pregame warmups – the game was ultimately played at Cal's Witter Rugby Field, where the Bears (8-4-3, 4-3-1 Pac-12) edged the Sun Devils, 1-0 (8-7-2, 0-6-2 Pac-12) the fifth time in Pac-12 play the Sun Devils fell by a single goal.
"We worked hard, but the conditions were just nowhere near proper for a soccer game," explained Winkworth. "The winds were so strong that the ball would almost move by itself and the lines that were painted on the field were gone 10 minutes after the game started. We were also missing some bodies and unfortunately we were not able to do enough to get a result but you can't fault the effort."
The game's only goal – scored by Cal's Ayo Oke in the 42nd minute – came off a counter attack by the Bears.
The Sun Devils had 10 shots in the game with four of them on frame. Nicole Douglas, tied for the national lead in goals coming into the game, led ASU in both shots (four) and shots on goal (two).
True freshman goalkeeper Julia Ortega, whose hometown of Moraga is in the Bay Area, was a last-minute replacement for Birta Gudlaugs. Ortega responded to the challenge by making six saves in the game.
"Julia had a good performance and I was pleased and happy for her that she got to do it in front of her hometown fans," Winkworth said.
Winkworth also had praise for Cal goalkeeper Angelina Andersen, acknowledging, "she made three or four really good saves and there is a reason she is in the US National Team program."
The Sun Devil soccer team closes out the home portion of its schedule when it hosts Colorado on Thursday (5 p.m. MST/Pac-12 Network/Arizona/Mountain) and Utah on Sunday (1 p.m. MST/ASU Live Stream). Sunday's game will be Senior Day. Following the game Sun Devil Soccer will recognize student-athletes Lara Barbieri, Isabel Dehakiz, Jessica Hale, Jayda Hylton-Pelaia, Vildan Kardesler, Olivia Kearse-Thomas, Julia Koharko, Hikaru Minami, Nicole Soto, Cori Sullivan, Anna White.