Skip to main content

Sun Devil Soccer travels north for contests at Boise State and Denver

Aug 25, 2022

THE GAME: Sun Devil Soccer (0-0-1) at Boise State (0-0-1)
WHEN: Thursday at 5 p.m. MDT/4 p.m. MST
WHERE: Boas Soccer Complex • Boise, Id.
LIVE STATS: Click here

For the fourth time in eight days, the Sun Devil soccer team will suit up when it plays its first road contest of the season at Boise State on Thursday (5 pm MDT/4 pm for those following back in the Valley of the Sun). While the priority is always to come away with a win, it would be an added bonus for ASU if – given the events of its opening weekend – it could 1) play the game 2) start and finish the game within the typical time frame of a soccer game.
The Sun Devils (0-0-1) opened the 2022 season last Thursday (and Friday) hosting 2021 NCAA participant South Dakota. Earlier in the day, there was doubt if the game would even happen due to storms that were forecast later in the evening. As game time approached, the skies started to look less ominous and it was game on – until the 48th minute. 
It was at that point when lightning halted and eventually suspended play for the night. The two teams agreed to finish the game on Friday morning at 10 am. No longer going into a strong wind that created a variety of challenges for ASU on both ends of the field 15 hours earlier, it wasted no time when it resumed play, tying the game at 1-1 in the 50th minute after the first goal of Sun Devil sophomore forward Keri Matthews' career. 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 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 and the game ended in a 1-1 tie.
ASU's next scheduled contest vs. Hawai'i on Sunday did not even get started as the contest was delayed by lightning just as the teams were getting to warm up. After waiting 45 minutes, there was not a definite determination when or if the weather would break and as a result, the game – originally scheduled for a 7 pm start and with Hawai'i not able to play the following day – was canceled.
• Sophomore goalkeeper Birta Gudlaugsdottir tied her career high with nine saves. Eight of those saves came in the first half when South Dakota State had the wind – the same strong winds that was causing the Sun Devils fits on both ends of the field – at its back.
• Matthews led the Sun Devils with five shots. She also tied for the team lead in shots on frame with two, joining Nicole Douglas (three shots) and Olivia Nguyen (both of her shots were on goal).
• Freshman D Andrea Kraetzer and freshman M Enasia Colon were ASU's two first-time starters in the lineup.
"I thought the team handled the adversity of South Dakota State and Hawaii really well based on how we trained. It was a challenge playing [45 of the 48 minutes completed on Thursday night against South Dakota State] into the wind but then we came back the and handled it well with a great response to get the equalizer on Friday. And then obviously [not playing Sunday's game] was a disappointment. We are just itching to play again and so we are looking forward to playing Boise State and Denver, two very strong opponents."
Boise State (11-7-4, 4-4-3 Mountain West in 2021) just missed out on an automatic NCAA Tournament berth last season after falling in the championship game of the Mountain West Conference Tournament. The Broncos won the only prior meeting against ASU, 2-0, in 2013 in Tempe.
Like the Sun Devils, the Broncos (0-0-1) were down at halftime in their 2022 season opener (vs. Utah Valley on Aug. 18) and were able to score a goal in the second half and come away with a draw.
The Sun Devils are led by sixth-year head coach Graham Winkworth. ASU is coming off a 2021 campaign in which it won 10 games, the second time it has posted a double-digit win total (2018 and 2021) in the last four seasons and that does not include the 9-6-2 record that was good enough to earn the squad a berth in in the 2020 NCAA Tournament. Prior to 2018, ASU posted a double-digit win total twice in the previous 10 seasons.
All eyes are focused 2021 NCAA scoring leader Nicole Douglas, who earned Third-Team All-America honors last season and was one 13 players named to the All-Pac-12 First Team. The first Sun Devil to earn All-America honors since 2002, in 2021 Douglas set the single-season school records for goals (19) and points (45). She led the nation in goals (19), goals per game (0.95) and points per game (2.25). 

A fifth-year player, Douglas enters the 2022 season in second place in program history in career goals (46), career points (109) and career game-winning goals (14) and is tied for seventh in career assists (17). Sun Devil Hall of Famer Stacey Tullock (1998-2001) holds the school record in all four categories: goals (50), points (125), game-winning goals (16) and assists (25). 
Douglas, who has started all 72 games she has played in her Sun Devil career, accounted for a goal or assist in all but five games last season and had a stretch in which she scored at least one goal in seven straight games.
On Aug. 18, it was announced Douglas was one of 60 players on the 2022 Hermann Trophy Watch List. Presented annually by the Missouri Athletic Club, the Hermann Trophy is the nation's highest individual honor recognizing the National Player of the Year.
Also within reach of breaking a program career record is fifth-year midfielder Eva van Deursen (20 career assists/third place), who entered the 2022 campaign needing six assists to become ASU's all-time leader: Manya Makoski (second place/22 assists/2002-05), ASU Hall of Famer Stacey Tullock (first place/25 assists/1998-2001).
Last season, van Deursen, who also scored three goals, set the school's single-season assists record with 10. At season's end, van Deursen led the Pac-12 and was No. 19 in the nation in assists per game (0.56). She tied her single-game career high in assists (two) twice in ASU's wins at UAB (Aug. 29) and vs. Utah (Oct. 31).
Included on ASU's 2022 schedule are six contests against teams that qualified for last season's NCAA Tournament: South Dakota State (T, 1-1), Pepperdine, Stanford, UCLA, USC, and Washington State. Thursday's opponent (Boise State) just missed out on an automatic NCAA Tournament berth last season after falling in the championship game of the Mountain West Conference Tournament.
ASU returns a quartet of fifth-year players in the form of forwards Nicole Douglas (72 starts/72 games) and Olivia Nguyen (37 starts/62 games, including 36 starts in 38 games since start of her junior season) and midfielders Alexia Delgado (58 starts/65 games) and Eva van Deursen (67 starts/70 games). The four players have combined for 234 games in starting experience out of 269 games.
The Sun Devils also return two other players with more than 50 games of starting experience: defender Lieske Carleer (52 starts/53 career games) and defender/midfielder Callie Darst (57 starts in 58 career games). Darst has averaged 88.7 minutes in those 58 games. 
The heart and soul of the team, Delgado will once again assume captain duties this season. Delgado was a workhorse on the pitch logging 60 minutes in all but one of the matches she appeared in, and 104 minutes in a game against Washington St. 
"Alexia is the greatest leader I have ever met," said head coach Graham Winkworth. "Her professionalism is unbelievable. She is an extremely intelligent player to the point that she reads the game just that little bit quicker than just about any opponent I have seen. She is a coach on the pitch and our incredible captain."
Entering her senior year, Lieske Carleer will be the backbone of the Sun Devils' defense. In 2021 she started 17 games and played every minute in eight of those games. She earned Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week honors for her performances at Mississippi St. where she played all but seven minutes of the game and at UAB. In those two games, Carleer's work on the defensive side helped the Sun Devils blank the Bulldogs and allow only one goal against UAB.
The Sun Devils welcome two transfers to the program, Gabi Rennie and Hannah Leitner. 
Rennie, who had an assist in her Sun Devil debut vs. South Dakota State, joined the Sun Devils after starting her career at Indiana University. She also spent time with the New Zealand national team and scored a goal for them in the Tokyo Olympics. 
In her three seasons playing for New Mexico State, Leitner became the program's all-time career assists leader (12) and tied for eighth in career goals (nine).
The Sun Devils will also be welcoming nine freshmen to Tempe: goalkeepers Pauline Nelles and Kayla Letcher; defenders Andrea Kraetzer, Ava Wright, Meighan Farrell and Mya Wheeler; midfielder Brianna Nunley and a pair of newcomers who can play at multiple positions: Enasia Colon (midfield/forward) and Mia Lanni (midfield/forward). 
Colon and Kraetzer were both in the starting lineup in ASU's season opener vs. South Dakota State. 
Nelles was most recently with the German National Team for the U-20 Women's World Cup. Germany concluded play on August 17.
• 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. 
• Due to injuries, ASU had 22 different players in the starting lineup. Nicole Douglas and Callie Darst were the only two players who started all 20 games. 
• After winning all five of its one-goal games in non-conference play, ASU was not as fortunate in Pac-12 games as it went 1-6 in such games and also had a pair of ties.
• After losing two-year starter Giulia Cascapera in fall camp, the goalkeeper duties were split between freshmen Birta Gudlaugsdottir and Julia Ortega. 
• Douglas (19 goals) and fellow striker Olivia Nguyen (seven goals) combined for 26 of ASU's 42 goals. Although Douglas and Nguyen accounted for the majority of the goals, ASU had 10 different players find the back of the net in 2021. 
Sun Devil Soccer is appearing on Pac-12 Networks seven times in 2022: vs. South Dakota State (opening night on Aug. 18), vs. Hawaii (Aug. 21), vs. Pepperdine (Sept. 8), at USC (Oct. 9), vs. Utah (Oct. 14), at Washington State (Oct. 20), vs. Arizona (Nov. 4).
Sun Devil Soccer was well represented on the 2021 Pac-12 Fall Academic Honor Roll as 19 Sun Devils earned recognition from the conference. In addition, Lieske Carleer and Eva van Deursen were both named to the 2021 CoSIDA Academic All-District® Women's Soccer Team.
This past April, the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved changes to overtime rules in men's and women's soccer for both the regular season and the postseason, effective for the 2022 season.
For the regular season, overtime has been eliminated, meaning if a game is tied after the regulation 90 minutes, it will end in a tie. Previously, teams played two 10-minute overtime periods in a sudden-victory (golden goal) format, and if neither team scored, the game ended in a tie. 
In conference tournaments and NCAA postseason games, the sudden-victory component has been eliminated, and teams will play two 10-minute overtime periods instead. Also, when a substitution is made by the winning team in the last five minutes of the second overtime, the game clock will stop.
If the game remains tied, a penalty-kick shootout will be held to determine the winner.