Sun Devil Soccer plays at No. 8 USC on Sunday
THE GAME: Sun Devil Soccer (6-2-2, 2-2 Pac-12) at No. 8 USC (7-2-1, 3-1 Pac-12)
WHEN: Sunday at 12 p.m.
WHERE: Soni McAlister Field • Los Angeles
WATCH: Pac-12 Network
LIVE STATS: Click here
Coming off its first two losses of the season after starting the 2022 campaign with an eight-game unbeaten streak, the Sun Devil soccer team (6-2-2, 2-2 Pac-12) will play its second straight contest against a Top 10 team when it plays at No. 8 USC (7-2-1, 3-1 Pac-12) on Sunday at 12 p.m. on Pac-12 Network.
ASU's accomplishments over the first six weeks of the season included a five-game winning streak, the program's second 6-0-2 start in three seasons and its first 2-0 start in Pac-12 league play since 2007.
In ASU's Pac-12 opener at Colorado (Sept. 23), Alexia Delgado scored the game's first goal and midfield teammate Eva van Deursen accounted for the other two, including the game-winner with three seconds remaining in ASU's dramatic, 3-2 win.
ASU had to come from behind to defeat Cal (2-1 on Sept. 29) to get off to its first 2-0 start in league play since 2007. For the second straight game, fifth-year seniors Delgado and van Deursen found the back of the net for the Sun Devils. Van Deursen's goal in the 73rd minute – assisted by Delgado and Lucy Johnson – gave the Sun Devils a lead they would not relinquish.
ASU had to deal with the bitter taste of defeat for the first time this season after it was not able to score a goal for the first time this season in a 2-0 setback to Stanford on Oct. 2. Most recently, the Sun Devils were held scoreless for the second consecutive game in a 4-0 loss at top-ranked UCLA on Oct. 6.
ASU's 1-0 win over the Trojans in the spring of 2021 in Tempe snapped USC's five-game winning streak in the series. Nicole Douglas' goal in the 13th minute was the only goal in the win... Douglas scored ASU's only goal in last season's 2-1 loss... As a freshman in 2012, former Sun Devil Cali Farquharson tied the single-game school record for goals (3) and set the single-game school record for points (8) in ASU's 5-4, double-overtime win over USC. Former Sun Devil Tommi Goodman's first career goal was the game winner in the second overtime.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
• ASU (2-2 in the Pac-12) comes into Sunday's game in a four-way tie for fifth place (Cal, Oregon and Washington). UCLA (4-0) leads the way followed by Stanford & USC (tied for second place at 3-1) and Washington State in fourth place (2-1-1).
• Thursday's loss at UCLA was ASU's second straight after having its five-game winning streak snapped in last Sunday's 2-0 loss to Stanford. Prior to the loss to Stanford, ASU averaged 4.2 goals per game during their winning streak. The common dominator in their first two losses? Trying to score goals against not only the top two teams in the Pac-12 in goals against average, but also two of the best in the nation: UCLA (first in the Pac-12 and 22nd in the nation, 0.545 GAA) and Stanford (second in the Pac-12, 33rd in the nation, 0.667 GAA).
• ASU is currently in the midst of a six-game stretch in which it is facing five teams currently among the top half of the conference standings: vs. Stanford (Oct. 2), at UCLA (Oct. 6), Sunday's game at USC and then – after it hosts Utah next week (Oct. 14) – back on the road for games at Washington State (Oct. 20) and at Washington (Oct. 23).
• As of Oct. 7, ASU is ninth in the nation in assists per game (2.70), 15th in points per game (7.7) and 19th in scoring offense (2.5 goals per game).
• ASU has been led by returning All-American Nicole Douglas. Now the program's all-time career leader in goals (55), points (129) and game-winning goals (17), Douglas is currently 10th in the nation in goals per game (.90), eighth in points per game (2.0), 18th in shots on goal per game (2.0) and 29th 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 scored nine goals in ASU's next 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 in her career.
• Prior to its loss vs. Stanford, ASU scored 21 goals during a five-game winning streak (6 vs. UAB, 5 vs. Grambling State and Toledo, 3 at Colorado and 2 vs. Cal). Douglas (6 goals), van Deursen (5 goals) and Delgado (4 goals) combined for 15 of those 21 goals. By the season's eighth game, Van Deursen and Delgado had already set new single-season career highs in goals.
• Both Lucy Johnson (vs. UAB) and Kennedy Mayo (vs. Toledo) have tied the single-game school record for assists (3).
• Olivia Coleman, who earned a starting spot on the ASU back line as a freshman before a season-ending injury last season, returned to action at UCLA (Oct. 6).
STATE OF PLAY
The fact the Sun Devils did not encounter a loss until the season's ninth game is a testament to the team's focus and leadership. Both of ASU's opening weekend contests were affected by weather. ASU's opening game, 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 Aug. 19 after SDSU took the lead the previous night. ASU's next scheduled contest vs. Hawai'i (Aug. 21) was canceled (lightning).
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). It 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 from the extended break with a pair of 5-0 wins over Grambling State (Sept. 14) & vs. Toledo (Sept. 18) before opening Pac-12 play with a dramatic, 3-2 win at Colorado (Sept. 23) and a come-from-behind, 2-1 win over Cal.