Sun Devil Soccer closes out first road trip of 2022 at Denver
THE GAME: Sun Devil Soccer (1-0-1) at Denver (2-1)
WHEN: Sunday at 12 p.m. MDT/11 a.m. MST (in AZ)
WHERE: University of Denver Soccer Stadium • Denver, Colo.
TV / LIVE STREAM: Altitude (Altitude channel finder) OR Pioneers All-Access Live Stream ($9.95 subscription fee)
LIVE STATS: Click here
The Sun Devil soccer team will be looking for a sweep on its first road trip of the 2022 campaign on Sunday (12 p.m. MDT/11 a.m. in AZ) when it faces 2021 Summit League regular season champion Denver.
ASU started its trip with a 2-1 win at Boise State on Thursday. With the win, the Sun Devils improved to 24-7-1 in regular season, non-conference games since 2018.
Both of ASU's opening weekend contests were affected by weather. The Sun Devils' 1-1 tie vs. 2021 NCAA Tournament participant South Dakota State was started on the night of Aug. 18 (played 48 minutes before game was halted by lightning) and finished it on the morning of Aug. 19. ASU's next scheduled contest vs. Hawai'i on Aug. 21 did not even start as the contest was delayed by lightning just as the teams were getting to warm up. The game was eventually canceled.
NOTES FROM LAST GAME
• Nicole Douglas came two goals closer to the school record for career goals scored as she accounted for both of ASU's scores in the Sun Devil soccer team's 2-1 win at Boise State on Thursday.
• Freshman goalkeeper Pauline Nelles was not available last week as she was still competing with the German National Team at the U20 World Cup in Costa Rica. On Thursday, she made her first collegiate start, a difficult assignment for any player making their first start against a quality team like Boise State on the road. All four of her saves came in the second staff as Boise State was desperately searching for the equalizer after the Broncos cut ASU's lead in half in the 74th minute.
• Also making her first start as a Sun Devil was forward Gabi Rennie. Both of Rennie's two shots were on frame.
HEAD COACH GRAHAM WINKWORTH SAID...
"Really proud of the team, I thought in the first half we created some great chances and scored two really good goals… In the second half they came out very physical, but I thought we dealt with that pretty well. We defended well throughout the match. Boise State is good team, they have a lot of talent and are very well coached.
"Denver is really good as well. When I scheduled these games, a part of me was like 'Should I do this?' because not too many programs are going to go to these places – even the Power teams – and picking up victories because they are both really good teams. But for us to put a good resume together we need to come and play against the best teams in the country, including the best mid-majors, and certainly Denver and Boise State fit in that category."
Last season the Pioneers won the Summit League regular season title and made it to the championship game of the Summit League Tournament for the fifth-straight season where they fell to South Dakota State (ASU played SDSU to a 1-1 tie in the 2022 season opener). The all-time series is tied 1-1-1.
This will be Denver's second consecutive contest against a Pac-12 opponent. The Pioneers fell at Utah 2-1 on Friday. They opened the season last week with home wins over San Diego (1-0) and Weber State (2-0).
SETTING THE STAGE FOR 2022
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 is currently in second place in program history in career goals (48), career points (113) and career game-winning goals (15) 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 73 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. She has scored multiple goals in a game 10 times in her career and has tied the single-game school record for goals on three occasions.
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.
NICOLE DOUGLAS RECORD BOOK WATCH
|1. Stacey Tullock (1998-01) 50-25 125
2. Nicole Douglas (2018-present) 48-17 113
|1. Stacey Tullock (1998-01) 50
2. Nicole Douglas (2018-present) 48
CAREER GAME-WINNING GOALS
|1. Stacey Tullock (1998-01) 16
2. Nicole Douglas (2018-present) 15
CHASING HISTORY PART II
Also within reach of breaking a program career record is fifth-year midfielder Eva van Deursen (21 career assists/third place), who needs five 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).
ABOUT THE SCHEDULE
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.
Both of the opponents on ASU's current road trip – Boise State and Denver – just missed out on an automatic NCAA Tournament berth last season after falling in the championship game of their respective conference tournaments.
HOW'S THIS FOR EXPERIENCE?
ASU returns a quartet of fifth-year players in the form of forwards Nicole Douglas (73 starts/73 games) and Olivia Nguyen (38 starts/63 games, including 37 starts in 39 games since start of her junior season) and midfielders Alexia Delgado (59 starts/66 games) and Eva van Deursen (68 starts/71 games). The four players have combined for 238 games in starting experience out of 273 games.
The Sun Devils also return two other players with more than 50 games of starting experience: defender Lieske Carleer (53 starts/54 career games) and defender/midfielder Callie Darst (58 starts in 59 career games). Darst has averaged 88.7 minutes in those 59 games.
ALL RISE FOR THE CAPTAIN
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."
LIESKE LEADS THE DEFENSE
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).
MORE NEW FACES
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 (Aug. 18). Nelles was most recently with the German National Team for the U-20 Women's World Cup. Germany concluded play on August 17. On Aug. 25, Nelles made her first career collegiate start in ASU's 2-1 over Boise State.
SMART SUN DEVILS
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.
LOOKING BACK AT 2021
• 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.
NO MORE FREE SOCCER IN THE REGULAR SEASON
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.