Sun Devil Soccer closes out regular season at Arizona on Friday
THE GAME: Sun Devil Soccer (10-7-2, 2-6-2 Pac-12) at Arizona (4-13, 1-9 Pac-12)
WHEN: Friday at 7 p.m. MST
WHERE: Murphey Field at Mulcahy Soccer Stadium • Tucson, Ariz.
WATCH: Pac-12 Arizona
LIVE STATS: Click here
The Sun Devil soccer team (10-7-2, 2-6-2 Pac-12) will look to close out the 2021 regular season the same way it started it – on a winning streak – when it travels to Tucson to face Arizona (4-13, 1-9) on Friday (7 p.m. MST).
STATE OF PLAY
The Sun Devils closed out the home portion of their 2021 schedule with wins over Colorado (3-2 on Thursday) and Utah (4-1 on Sunday) last week. Nicole Douglas posted the ninth multi-goal game of her career against Colorado (two goals) and added a goal and two assists vs. Utah on Sunday. Olivia Nguyen also scored a goal in both games. With 10 wins this season, the Sun Devils have now won posted a double-digit win total twice (2018 and 2020) in the last four years. Prior to 2018, ASU posted a double-digit win total twice in the previous 10 seasons.
The following program single-season marks were broken on Sunday:
• Points – Now with 43 points this season (18 goals, seven assists), Douglas surpassed ASU Hall of Famer Stacey Tullock's previous record of 41 points (17 goals, seven assists in 1999).
• Goals – Douglas' goal on Sunday was her 18th of the season, passing Tullock's record of 17 goals in 1999.
• Assists – With two assists vs. Utah (Nos. 9 & 10 in 2021), Eva van Deursen passed Manya Makoski record of nine assists set in 2002.
PERSEVERANCE IN THE FACE OF ADVERSITY
While they were not getting the results they desired each successive week – including near upsets of current No. 8 USC, No. 3 UCLA and No. 18 Washington State – the Sun Devils' competitive spirit never waned. Outside of its ties at Washington (2-2 on Sept. 24) and vs. Washington State (2-2 on Oct. 15), all of ASU's Pac-12 contests had been decided by one goal coming into its road trip to the Bay Area. Its 2-0 loss at Stanford (Oct. 21) was the first time in league play in which ASU was involved in a contest decided by more than one goal. That setback was followed by another one-goal game, a 1-0 loss at Cal (Oct. 24) played amid heavy rains and 30 mph winds.
Quality depth, resilience and a team-first mentality of playing for each other were among the reasons ASU did not fold when injuries started to pile up. It did just the opposite as it put together its best nine-game record in program history (8-1). Included in its non-conference wins was a 3-2 win over then-No. 21 and previously unbeaten Texas Tech on Sept. 12 in Tucson.
ASU has faced adversity all season – 22 different players have been in the starting lineup – and has still managed to play at a high level that enabled it to jump out to leads of 2-0 (at Washington), 1-0 (vs. USC) and 3-1 (vs. UCLA). ASU's outstanding abilities on the attacking end also played a major role in the Sun Devils' 2-2 tie vs. Washington State on Oct. 15. Down 2-0 after 30 minutes of game time ASU was faced with this task: To get any kind of result it would have to score two goals against the nation's top team & top goalkeeper in goals-against average. It meant scoring one more goal than WSU had given up in its eight previous contests coming into the game. Given the circumstances, one could argue ASU responded to the challenge with one of its best performances of the season as Olivia Kearse-Thomas and Nicole Douglas both scored in a game that ended in a 2-2 draw.
After winning all five of its one-goal games in non-conference play, ASU has not been as fortunate in the same situation in Pac-12 play with five of its six league losses coming by one goal. Its 3-2 triumph over Colorado (Oct. 28) was ASU's first positive result in a one-goal game in league play.
SERIES NOTES VS ARIZONA – ASU LEADS 17-9-1
ASU went unbeaten in the first 13 meetings (12-0-1). Arizona has won seven of last 12 meetings. ASU's last win in Tucson came in 2015 when one of the program's all-time greats Cali Farquharson concluded her career with a hat trick in ASU's 4-1 win.
Senior forward Nicole Douglas has been nothing short of sensational this season. The national leader in goals (18) & points (43) – is also No. 1 in goals per game (0.95) & No. 3 in points per game (2.26) – Douglas has either scored or assisted on a goal in all but five games in 2021. This season Douglas broke the single-season school records for goals and points.
GETTING IN ON THE ACT
Joining Douglas in breaking records this season has been senior Eva van Deursen who last week notched three assists – one vs. Colorado and two vs. Utah – to reach 10 for the season and break Manya Makoski's single-season school record of nine assists set in 2002
TOP OFFENSIVE CONTRIBUTORS
Douglas (18 goals/7 assists/43 points) & fellow seniors Nguyen (7 goals/3 assists/17 points), van Deursen (3 goals/10 assists/16 points), Olivia Kearse-Thomas (4 goals/2 assist/10 points) & Cori Sullivan (two goals, five assists, nine points) have combined for 34 of ASU's goals. Sophomore Jazmine Wilkinson (two goals) has also scored multiple goals.
• 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 started 6-0-2 before its first loss in the season's ninth game.
• After its 8-1 record in non-conference play, ASU earned a No. 15 ranking in the United Soccer Coaches Top 25, its highest in program history.
• Douglas posted the ninth multi-goal game of her career with two in ASU's 3-2 upset of Colorado on Oct. 28.
• Douglas (18 goals) & Olivia Nguyen (7 goals) have combined for 25 of ASU's 41 goals. Although Douglas and Nguyen have accounted for the majority of the goals, ASU has had 10 different players find the back of the net this season.
• Eva van Deursen missed ASU's games vs. then-No. 21 Texas Tech and at Colorado College due to national team call up. On Sept. 19, van Deursen helped the Dutch U23 National Team claim a 3-0 win over Sweden. Also receiving national call-ups this season have been senior captain Alexia Delgado (Mexican National Team) and Tahlia Herman Watt (New Zealand National Team). Both were away during ASU's contests in the Bay Area.
• ASU started the season with a pair of true freshman goalkeepers – Julia Ortega & Birta Gudlaugs each played a half in ASU's first two games – as the team was forced to go without two-year starter Giulia Cascaperan due to injury. Gudlaugs has played every minute 12 times this season and is the owner of three shutouts. Ortega has started five contests, including ASU's last three games. She made a (then) season-high six saves at Cal (Oct. 24) and followed that with a season-high seven saves in ASU's 3-2 win over Colorado (Oct. 28). Ortega was once again in goal (made six saves) in ASU's 4-1 win over Utah (Oct. 31).
• ASU has scored at least one goal in all but three games (at Oregon - Oct. 10, at Stanford - Oct. 21 and at Cal - Oct. 24) and has scored multiple goals 11 times this season. No. 3 UCLA (Oct. 3), ASU scored more goals in the first half (three) than UCLA had given up in all 10 of their games combined (two). The three goals were the most scored against the Bruins since the 2019 NCAA Tournament – a span of 27 games.
• ASU has had 22 different players in the starting lineup this season. Nicole Douglas & Callie Darst are the only players who have started every game. van Deursen has started all 17 games she has played in.
• Douglas (Offensive POW/Week One), Lieske Carleer (Defensive POW/Week Two) and Birta Gudlaugs (goalkeeper of the week/Week Two) have combined for three Pac-12 Player of the Week honors this season.
• Nicole Douglas – Has started all 70 of her career games.
• Callie Darst – Has started 33 straight games and 55 of 56 career games.
• Lieske Carleer – Has started 50 of the 51 games she has played in/DNP vs. Nebraska (9/9) & Texas Tech (9/12).
• Alexia Delgado – Has started 21 of last 22 games she has played in and has started 56 of 63 career games. Returned from injury in ASU's contest at Washington (Sept. 24) after not playing since Aug. 22. Due to Mexican National Team call up, was not with the team for its games at Stanford (Oct. 21) and at Cal (Oct. 24).
• Eva van Deursen – Started last 30 games she's played in & 65 of 68 career games. DNP vs. Texas Tech (9/12)/at Colorado College (9/17) due to international call-up.
• Jessica Hale – Had started 21 of last 22 games she has played in and 32 of 57 career games. Has missed ASU's last 11 games due to injury.
• Jazmine Wilkinson – Has started 26 of 35 career games.
• Olivia Nguyen – Has started 34 of last 37 games and 35 of 60 career games. All of her career goals (11) and assists (8) have come in the last two seasons.
• Cori Sullivan – Has started 34 of 48 career games and has accumulated six goals and seven assists in her career.
• Olivia Kearse-Thomas – Has played in 83 games with 45 career starts has 11 goals and six assists in her career.
• Isabel Dehakiz – Started the first six games last season before a season-ending injury. Has started 31 of 51 career games. Her 21 minutes on the field vs. UCLA on Oct. 3, represented the first time she played since last season. She was in the starting lineup at Oregon State (Oct. 7), at Stanford (Oct. 21) and at Cal (Oct. 24).
• Jayda Hylton-Pelaia – Has 71 starting assignments in 75 career games. Has started 16of her 19 games as a Sun Devil after transferring from East Carolina.
• Lucy Johnson – Has started 18 of 25 career games, including seven of 14 this season. Missed five games in 2021 due to injury and returned to action at Stanford on Oct. 21.
• Dai Williams – Has started 14 of 37 games with one start in 11 games in 2021.
• Tahlia Herman-Watt – Started nine of 16 games last spring & has played in 12 games this season (one start at Oregon State (Oct. 7). Was not with team at Stanford (Oct. 21) or at Cal (Oct. 24) due to New Zealand National Team assignment.
• Vildan Kardesler – Originally joined ASU as a transfer from Pitt. Has started 30 of 42 career games, including five of the six contests she played in last spring before her season was cut short due to injury. Made her first appearance of 2021 in ASU's 3-2 win over Colorado (Oct. 28).
• *Giulia Cascapera – Started all 34 career games coming into the season but has not played due preseason injury.
*Has not played this season
RECAPPING LAST SEASON
ASU is coming off its 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 that far.
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.