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Sun Devil Soccer starts homestand with 11 a.m. contest vs. UAB on Thursday

Aug 31, 2022

THE GAME: Sun Devil Soccer (1-0-2) vs. UAB (2-1-1
WHEN: Thursday at 11 am MST
WHERE: Sun Devil Soccer Stadium • Tempe, Ariz.
LIVE STREAM: Pac-12 Insider
LIVE STATS: Click here
The Sun Devil soccer team will attempt to keep its unbeaten record intact this weekend when it hosts UAB (Thursday at 11 a.m.) and Georgia Southern (Sunday at 7 p.m.).

The Sun Devils are coming off their first road trip of the season in which they defeated Boise State 2-1 before playing Denver to a 1-1 draw on Sunday, a contest in which ASU just missed scoring the go-ahead goal multiple times in the second half.
Nicole Douglas, now one goal from tying and two goals from becoming ASU's all-time leader in career goals, scored all three of ASU's goals last week. She scored the first two goals of Sunday's game – Eva van Deursen and Lucy Johnson helped set up the first and Olivia Nguyen, the second – and then gave the Sun Devils the early lead in Sunday's game via freshman Enasia Colon's first career assist.
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. Keri Matthews' first career goal tied the game at 1-1 after SDSU took the early lead during Thursday's evening session. 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.
• With two goals at Boise State, Nicole Douglas has now scored multiple goals in a game 10 times in her career. She has tied the single-game school record (three goals) on three occasions.
• Freshman goalkeeper Pauline Nelles was not available week one as she was still competing with the German National Team at the U20 World Cup in Costa Rica. She made her first collegiate start at Boise State, a difficult assignment for any player making their first start. 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. She also had a save at Denver.
• Also making her first start as a Sun Devil vs. Boise State was forward Gabi Rennie. Both of Rennie's two shots were on frame.
• For the third time this season, ASU had a game either delayed (vs. South Dakota State, at Denver) or canceled (vs. Hawaii) due to lightning. "Mother nature's really been a challenge for us, but we've managed to keep our focus, keep our discipline on the grass, and not worry about the delays," ASU head coach Graham Winkworth said of ASU's encounters with weather this season. "Whenever we get out there, we're ready. Hopefully, we can have a weekend without lightning and rain getting in the way of the games, so we can enjoy two good soccer games against two good opponents."
"Really, really proud of the team. 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 very strong opponents, and the coaches did a wonderful job.
"[Nicole Douglas] got another goal, another confidence boost. One closer to the record, but she would be the first to tell you that it was a team effort [against Denver]."
The Blazers come in with a record of 2-1-1. They have wins over Chattanooga (1-0) & Kennesaw State (7-2), a 1-1 tie vs. Georgia Southern, ASU's foe on Sunday, and most recently a 2-1 loss vs. current No. 23 Memphis on Sunday... Last season, the Blazers came one win short of the Conference USA Tournament championship game... In the only prior meeting between ASU and UAB last season, defenders Lieske Carleer and Lucy Johnson both found the back of the net and Olivia Nguyen scored her fourth goal of the season in ASU's 5-1 win at UAB. Carleer (defensive player of the week) and Birta Gudlaugsdottir (goalkeeper of the week) both earned Pac-12 player of the Week honors for their performances in ASU's win at UAB and its prior win at Mississippi State.
The Sun Devils are led by sixth-year head coach Graham Winkworth and are 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 - No. 1 in the nation) and points (45). She also led the nation in 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 (49), career points (115) 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), GW goals (16) and assists (25).
Douglas, who has started all 74 games she has played in her ASU 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 10x in her career and has tied the single-game school record for goals (3) 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.
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).
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 last week's opponents – Boise State (W, 2-1) and Denver (T, 1-1) – just missed out on an automatic NCAA Tournament berth last season after falling in the championship game of their respective conference tournaments.
ASU returns a quartet of fifth-year players in the form of forwards Nicole Douglas (74 starts/74 games) and Olivia Nguyen (39 starts/66 games, including 38 starts in 40 games since start of her junior season) and midfielders Alexia Delgado (60 starts/67 games) and Eva van Deursen (69 starts/72 games). The four players have combined for 242 games in starting experience out of 277 games.
The Sun Devils also return two other players with more than 50 games of starting experience: defender Lieske Carleer (54 starts/55 career games) and defender/midfielder Callie Darst (59 starts in 60 career games). Darst has averaged 88.78 minutes in those 60 games.
The heart and soul of the team, Alexia Delgado once again assumes captain duties this season. In 2021, 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 Carleer is 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. Colon recorded her first career assists on Nicole Douglas' goal at Denver (Aug. 28). Nelles was recently with the German National Team for the U-20 Women's World Cup. Germany concluded play on August 17. After missing week one, Nelles started both of ASU's contests at Boise State (Aug. 25) and at Denver (Aug. 28). She made four saves in the second half at Boise State to help preserve ASU's 2-1 win.
• 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 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.