Douglas scores 49th career goal in Sun Devil Soccer’s 1-1 draw at Denver
DENVER – Nicole Douglas inched one goal closer to the school record for career goals after scoring the 49th of her career in the Sun Devil soccer team's 1-1 tie at Denver on Sunday.
The Sun Devils (1-0-2) concluded their first road trip of the season 1-0-1 after starting it off with a 2-1 win at Boise State on Thursday.
"Really, really proud of the team," ASU head coach Graham Winkworth said of the two-game road trip. "To come away from home to play Boise State and Denver – two of the best mid-majors in the country, away, on really difficult pitches – I'm really happy with the way we ground out results. We're still undefeated. Both of these teams have been excellent and good luck to them the rest of the season, because they are a very strong opponents, and the coaches did a wonderful job."
The Sun Devils looked lively early, forcing Denver to concede a corner in the opening two minutes. Lucy Johnson served as a catalyst for the early chances, supplying an accurate corner kick to the back post, and taking a pass from Douglas to the edge of Denver's side. Olivia Nguyen was fed a Douglas pass of her own, beating her defender to the center of the box for a shot on goal, forcing the goalkeeper to get a hand on it.
The defense was doing a diligent job pressing, as they were seemingly blocking all of Denver's passing channels. This hard work yielded a result when freshman forward Enasia Colon anticipated a Denver pass and then threaded the ball to Nicole Douglas who beat the last two remaining defenders to send the ball through the gap of the goalkeeper's crouched frame to give the Sun Devils the early advantage. The goal in the seventh minute marked Douglas' third goal in two games and the fifth-year forward is now one goal from tying ASU Hall of Famer Stacey Tullock's record for most career goals (50).
ASU would ride the high of the lead, creating a handful of chances before Denver found its own footing. The defense was immense, when called upon. As Denver started to grab hold of more possession, freshman German international Pauline Nelles looked comfortable with the ball at her feet, fending off an attacker with a crossover. Lieske Carleer and Callie Darst were sturdy at the back also warding off any stray runners that got possession of a through ball.
Denver's 24th minute goal started with a throw in and concluded with Camryn Macmillan's goal of the season to knot the score at 1-1.
The Sun Devils' defense dealt with Denver's persistence by allowing only one shot for the rest of the half. The defenders stretched to poke out every ball they could reach, and put a head on the crosses that came into the box.
A situation Arizona State has become all too familiar with arose just as the second half was about to start. Lightning detected in the area caused a 50-minute delay. It was the third time in four games ASU had a game affected by weather. In the season opener on Aug. 18, ASU and South Dakota got to the 48th minute of play before lightning brought a halt to the contest. The two teams played the remaining 42 minutes the following morning and the game ended in a 1-1 draw. ASU did not even get a chance to start its game vs. Hawai'i on Aug. 21 as the competition ended up being canceled due to lightning.
When play resumed on Sunday, Denver continued to control the ball until a foul on a Pioneer foul on Douglas re-ignited the offense.
"In the last 30 minutes only one team looked like they were going to win the game, and that was us," Winkworth commented.
The efforts on offense would frustrate Denver, as the Pioneers were whistled for three fouls in just over a minute. One of those fouls gave Alexia Delgado an optimal location to field a cross, in which she did, finding Douglas who attempted a header that landed just over the top of the crossbar. The crossbar would repel Eva van Deursen's strike to keep the game level.
"On another day that one flies in" Winkworth affirmed of van Deursen's attempt.
The midfielder's blast, along with a raised attempt from Douglas and a swinging one from Delgado would be three of the five shots ASU would see in the second half, to Denver's three.
As time ticked, the Sun Devils' defense would work to limit Denver's chances, not providing them with a single corner kick after giving them four in the first half. A last-ditch effort from Denver in the 90th minute was blocked by a two-man wall. The final whistle came moments later and the match ended in a 1-1 draw.
The Sun Devils return to Tempe to host UAB on Thursday at 11 am and Georgia Southern on Sunday at 7 pm. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased by clicking here.