Women’s Soccer, Sun Devils Battle to Scoreless Draw
TEMPE, Ariz. – Kasey Wardle made five saves and despite spending nearly 30 minutes reduced to 10 players, the University of Utah women's soccer team managed to forge a 0-0 draw with the Arizona State Sun Devils on Friday night in Pac-12 action at the Sun Devil Soccer Stadium.
The Utes now have seven conference points so far in 2022, own a 2-3-1 conference record and are 6-5-3 overall. ASU is 2-3-1 in league fixtures and 6-3-3 overall.
"I'm incredibly proud of our Utes for their resiliency to find another gear," said coach Hideki Nakada, "and not only stay in the match, but to take over for much of the last 30 minutes with 10 players."
The advantage in shots belonged to the Utes, 16-13, and Utah's nine shots on goal were four more than their hosts could muster. Five Utes contributed multiple volleys, including a team-high four by Kelly Bullock and three courtesy of Taliana Kaufusi. Maryn Granger, Luisa Delgado and Kaela Standish were all credited with two.
In goal, Wardle picked up her second consecutive clean sheet while logging a career-high five saves. This marks the first time in 2022 Utah has put up back-to-back shutouts.
Arizona State had the edge on the stat sheet over the first 45 minutes, outshooting their guests 9-3, but four stops from Wardle helped make sure the match stayed scoreless.
The Utes put the first ball on frame, thanks to a shot from Bullock in the third minute that was saved by Pauline Nelles, but the next four efforts on goal came from the Sun Devils. Their best chance to get on the scoreboard in the first period came in the 25th minute, when Nicole Douglas fired the ball on target from the top of the box, but Wardle was on the spot to deflect it over the net.
Utah quickly went on the attack in the early part of the second half and nearly grabbed the lead on a Bullock header from just outside the six-yard box in the 55th minute. Eight minutes later, the Utes were put in the precarious position of having to continue with 10 players when Ryann Cull was sent off, the first red card of the season issued to a Utah participant.
Despite this setback, the Utes continued to press for the go-ahead goal and outshot the Sun Devils 5-1 after Cull's disqualification. Nulles was up to each challenge, however, including two stops on short-range headers by Granger. Wardle's only second-half save came in the 66th minute to seal her second straight clean sheet.
"We created numerous opportunities to go ahead," said Nakada, "but unfortunately we weren't able to put the game away. We grew as team tonight and I'm looking forward to hosting two great teams at home next week."
The final homestand of the season for Utah begins on Thursday with a showdown against USC at Ute Field at 6 p.m.
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