Sun Devil Soccer nearly captures dramatic, last-minute win before settling for 1-1 draw
TEMPE, Ariz. - After a weather delay pushed a second half of soccer into an entirely new day, the Sun Devil Soccer team came away with a 1-1 draw against 2021 NCAA participant South Dakota State.
The Sun Devils (0-0-1) conceded a goal in the 16th minute prior to play being suspended last night. A little more than 15 hours after the game originally kicked off, Keri Matthews scored her first career collegiate goal to tie the game. The Sun Devils were denied a dramatic win when it was ruled they were offsides after Eva van Deursen found the back of the net in the 90th minute.
Both teams knew there was a chance Thursday's season opener could be halted by lightning when the game started.
— Sun Devil Soccer (@SunDevilSoccer) August 19, 2022
ASU showed a sense of urgency early and played as if it did not even notice the strong winds it was facing when it was on the attack in the first half. Alexia Delgado and van Deursen meddled their way through the midfield to create a good string of possessions in the first few minutes.
The opening fifteen minutes were full of Matthews' take-ons, which looked to be ASU's most threatening move going forward. The sophomore attacker signified she would be a major threat after injuries impacted her playing time last season. ASU would continue to look for Matthews, letting her run with the ball to cut in, hoping to get the ball into the penalty area.
The Sun Devils had great movement, with lots of balls coming into the box from the wings, but no one to get to the box in time to capitalize.
South Dakota State's first shot on goal was a challenging one, forcing goalkeeper Birta Gudlaugsdottir to make a lateral diving stop in the air to keep the game scoreless.
The Jackrabbits (0-0-1) gained more traction on the offensive side and scored the game's first goal in the 16thminute off a strike near the post.
"I thought those fifteen minutes last night, we absolutely controlled, but then we lost our heads and didn't recover until the second half, today," ASU head coach Graham Winkworth said. "Every time the ball came to somebody [last night], especially in the wind, we just couldn't control it."
The Sun Devils continued to be pressured by the Jackrabbits with three more shot attempts coming in just 36 seconds. Despite SDSU having a 9-3 advantage in shots on goal in the first half, Gudlaugsdottir (eight saves in the first 45 minutes) and the defense stood ground, leaving their deficit at one goal.
As the second half began, lightning edged closer, halting the game in the 48th minute. With weather making it impossible to carry on, the two squads agreed to conclude the contest on Friday morning.
The unorthodox game – it would end up taking 16 hours to complete the full 90 minutes –resumed with the Jackrabbits' fifth corner of the game, all the more significant as the Sun Devils had none.
As the 50th minute approached, Matthews' work and persistence finally paid off after she scored to knot the game at 1-1. Lucy Johnson and Indiana transfer Gabi Rennie, who played for New Zealand in the most recent Summer Olympics, teamed up to set up Matthews' goal.
The goal reverted the Sun Devils back to their form in the opening 15 minutes of the game, the night before. Finding Matthews, who would continue to supply balls into the box, Delgado and van Deursen commanded the midfield, holding a large proportion of possession and lots of give-and-go gave the Sun Devils the chance to move past the form they fell into last night. ASU's biggest scoring threat, Nicole Douglas, was seeing more action near the goal, as well.
"It was just about trying to bring the team back to [those first 15 minutes]," Delgado said. "Play simple, find your passes, and just relax. Don't panic with the ball."
One of ASU's five corner kicks (all coming in the second half) sailed to the dependable Lieske Carleer, whose header slipped over the cross bar, keeping the game tied at 1-1.
The back four and Gudlaugsdottir banded together to ward off any potential danger over the final 26 minutes as SDSU had a single shot on goal in the second. Up front, the Sun Devils continued to push, getting off eleven shots off in the second half to match the Jackrabbits' 16 total shots.
A foul on South Dakota State well outside the box in the 90th minute, gave the Sun Devils the last scoring opportunity of the game. Delgado took the kick, finding Carleer, heading it closer to the goal, with van Deursen's header putting it past the opposing goalkeeper. The home team's euphoria immediately following the would-be game winning goal quickly turned to incredulity after it was ruled ASU was offsides.
Matthews led ASU in shots (five) and tied for the team lead with Douglas and Olivia Nguyen in shots on goal (two).
The Sun Devils will return to Sun Devil Soccer Stadium on Sunday (7 p.m. MST) to host Hawaii. Fans can purchase tickets by clicking here. The match can be seen on Pac-12 Network/Arizona.