Sun Devil Soccer kicks off Pac-12 play at Colorado on Friday
THE GAME: Sun Devil Soccer (4-0-2, 0-0 Pac-12) at Colorado (6-1-2, 0-0 Pac-12)
WHEN: Friday at 3 p.m. MST/4 p.m. MDT
WHERE: Prentup Field • Boulder, Colo.
LIVE STREAM: Colorado Live Stream
LIVE STATS: Click here
The Sun Devil soccer team (4-0-2) starts Pac-12 play on Friday (3 p.m. MST/4 p.m. MDT) when it travels to Boulder, Colo., to face the Colorado Buffaloes (6-1-2). This will be ASU's second trip to the state of Colorado this season. Last month (Aug. 28), the Sun Devils played Denver to a 1-1 tie.
The fact the Sun Devils are unbeaten is a testament to the team's focus despite the obstacles it has overcome to play the games it has thus far. Both of ASU's opening weekend contests were affected by weather. ASU's opening game, a 1-1 tie vs. 2021 NCAA Tournament participant South Dakota State, started on the night of Aug. 18 and finished on the morning of Aug. 19. Keri Matthews' first career goal tied the game at 1-1 on Friday after SDSU took the lead during Thursday's evening session. ASU's next scheduled contest vs. Hawai'i (Aug. 21) did not even start (lightning). The game was eventually canceled.
ASU was able to start and finish its first road contest, a 2-1 win at Boise State (Aug. 25) without any unusual stoppages. However, weather issues once again came into play – a 50-minute lightning delay before the start of the second half – in ASU's 1-1 tie at Denver (Aug. 28).
ASU returned home and scored its most goals since the 2021 season opener in a 6-2 win over UAB (Sept. 1). The Sun Devils then went 13 days without playing a game after their home contests vs. Georgia Southern (Sept. 4) & Pepperdine (Sept. 8) were canceled (Covid-19 protocols).
ASU returned to action last week with a pair of 5-0 wins over Grambling State (Sept. 14) and vs. Toledo (Sept. 18).
The tremendous job ASU has done of playing through adversity should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed the program in recent years. During the Covid season of 2020 (played in the spring of 2021), ASU made its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2014 and was just short of making its first Sweet 16 after falling to Duke in double OT. Last season, ASU still managed to post a double-digit win total (10) despite having to play 22 different players in the starting lineup due to an unlucky spate of injuries.
Including this season's 4-0-2 record, ASU now 28-7-2 in regular season, non-conference games since 2018, including a 14-1-2 the last two seasons.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
• ASU comes into Friday's game leading the nation in assists per game (4.0), is second in points per game (10.67), sixth in scoring offense (3.3 goals per game) and ninth in shots on goal per game (10).
• ASU has been led by returning All-American Nicole Douglas. Now the program's all-time career leader in goals (55), points (128) and game-winning goals (17), Douglas enters Friday's game leading the nation in goals per game (1.5), points per game (3.17) and SOG per game (3.17), is fourth in total goals (9), sixth in total points (19) and seventh in game-winning goals (3).
• After not finding the back of the net in ASU's season opener vs. South Dakota State (Aug. 18), Douglas has since scored all nine of her goals in ASU's last five games. In ASU's 5-0 win over Toledo (Sept. 14), Douglas, who was named the Pac-12's offensive player of the week on Sept. 19, tied the school's single-game school record for goals (3) for the fourth time in her career. She has now scored multiple goals in a game 12 times and has accounted for 28 goals in ASU's last 26 games.
• ASU has scored 16 goals in its last three games (6-2 vs. UAB and 5-0 vs. Grambling State and Toledo). Nine different Sun Devils have scored in that stretch with three players accounting for multiple goals Douglas (6), Alexia Delgado (2) and Eva van Deursen (2).
• Both Lucy Johnson (vs. UAB) and Kennedy Mayo (vs. Toledo) have tied the single-game school record for assists (3). Teammate Enasia Colon is 19th in the nation in assists per game (0.67).
• 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 has since started the last five games and last week earned her first complete game shutout vs. Toledo.
IT'S EARLY, BUT STILL WORTH NOTING...
At the outset of conference play, the Sun Devils have the second-highest RPI among Pac-12 teams. UCLA was at the very top of the pack, followed by the Sun Devils at No. 31. Every Pac-12 team was among the Top 100 with Washington State (No. 38), Washington (No. 44) and Stanford (No. 47) also among the Top 50.
SERIES NOTES VS COLORADO – ASU LEADS 6-5-1
Both teams have enjoyed a stint in the series in which they went 4-0-1 against the opposition in a five-year stretch. Last season, ASU received a a pair of goals from Nicole Douglas and one from Olivia Nguyen in ASU's 3-2 win. Douglas' goal in the 77th minute put the Sun Devils ahead to stay.