Sun Devil Soccer edged by No. 8 USC, 2-1
LOS ANGELES – The Sun Devil soccer team did not go down without a fight in Sunday's 2-1 loss at No. 8 USC.
Freshman Enasia Colon scored her second goal of the season in the 48th minute to cut USC's lead in half. Over the last 42-plus minutes of game action, the Sun Devils continually pressed looking for the equalizer. During that same span of time, freshman goalkeeper Pauline Nelles made three saves to help keep the Sun Devils within striking distance.
"I'm proud of the team because we finally got our work ethic, our sort of our character back. We played three poor halves in a row – two vs. UCLA and one vs. USC – and you can't play against some of the best teams in the country and have poor halves," ASU head coach Graham Winkworth said. "It's so unfortunate that we're not taking something from that game. Soccer can be very cruel and today we feel like we deserve something from the match, but ultimately we didn't get anything and that's that soccer. But I'm delighted that we've got our identity back from a character standpoint because I felt like they ran their socks off in that second half."
Colon, who played all but three minutes of the contest, led ASU with six shots.
"I thought Enasia did a great job today and what I was most proud about with Enasia is that she was she was working hard on the other side of the ball, which is where I think she could have got better," Winkworth said. "But today she was fantastic defensively, she caused some problems offensively and scored a great goal. And, you know, she'll continue to play herself into a lot of minutes with performances like that."
Also posting multiple shots for the Sun Devils (6-3-2, 2-3 Pac-12) – who as a team outshot USC 21-15 – were Olivia Nguyen and Nicole Douglas, who had three shots each, and Eva van Deursen and Lauren Kirberg, who had two shots apiece. Nguyen (2 SOG) was the only Sun Devil who had more than one shot on goal.
The Sun Devils had more than twice as many shots as USC in the first half (10-4). Unfortunately for ASU, only two of their 10 shots were on frame. The Trojans (8-2-1, 4-1) were also on target with half their shots, but both resulted in goals to put ASU in a 2-0 hole after USC's second goal in the 17th minute.
"They did some different things in their build in in the first half that we were not expecting, so credit to them for doing that," Winkworth explained. "We solved that problem halfway through the first half, and from that moment, I felt like we were the better team. Unfortunately, when you've got one of the best players in the country playing against you, she punishes you quickly if you don't have that solved. So credit to her credit and credit to USC for the great starts. But I'd love to play them again."
Time and again, Douglas worked her way around two, three and even four Trojan defenders to get into the USC penalty area. Although Douglas only had one shot in the first half, the attention she drew from USC's defenders helped create opportunities for her teammates.
The Sun Devils have their only home game in a five-game stretch when they host Utah on Friday at 7 p.m. Click here to purchase tickets for the game.