Sun Devil Soccer unable to take advantage of scoring opportunities in loss to OSU
TEMPE, Ariz. – Despite having more than twice as many shots on goal as its visitors from Corvallis (11-5), in a statistical quirk not uncommon to soccer relative to other sports, the Sun Devil soccer team came out on the wrong end of a 3-1 decision on Sunday.
"Congratulations to Oregon State first of all, they worked extremely hard for the result," ASU head coach Graham Winkworth said shortly after the team celebrated its seven-member senior class following the game. "But I do feel like we were our own worst enemy today. And we didn't put in a solid performance. There's a lot of emotion around the game. And we did the best we could to play around that. As coaches, we got to get better. We didn't do a good job as coaches to get the team prepared for the game.
"We were poor from open play and on set pieces. We just did not do a good job. But it wasn't just defensively, it was offensively as well. We had, despite a poor performance, enough chances to win a couple of games in that one game alone. So just disappointed from front to back."
After scoring their most goals against a Pac-12 opponent since 2012 in Thursday's 5-1 win over Oregon, the Sun Devils (8-5-3, 4-5-1 Pac-12) appeared to have carried that momentum into Sunday's game after Nicole Douglas, who set the single-game school records for goals (4) and points (9) in Thursday's win, scored on a penalty kick in the 16th minute to give ASU the early advantage.
Douglas was directly responsible for drawing the foul that set up the penalty kick after she was fouled in the box on a 1 v 1 situation.
Olivia Nguyen nearly extended ASU's lead to 2-0 in the 29th minute after being on the receiving end of an excellent cross from Gabi Rennie. Unfortunately, Nguyen's sliding shot right in front of the goal was stopped by OSU goalkeeper Hailey Coll.
Oregon State (5-10-3, 1-8-1) evened the score in the 31st minute after a pair of Beavers teamed up to set up a look for OSU's Amber Jackson, who scored her third goal of the season to tie the game.
ASU goalkeeper Pauline Nelles came off her line to make an outstanding sliding save in the 39th minute to keep the Beavers from claiming the advantage and the game would remain tied at 1-1 at the half.
The Sun Devils were extremely efficient with their shots in the first 45 minutes, placing 67 percent of their shots on frame, forcing Coll to make five saves.
The Beavers took five shots in the second half. Their first four attempts came in pairs, each pair separated by five or fewer seconds. Unfortunately for the Sun Devils, the second shot of each sequence was a rebound for a goal, the second of those goals coming in the 67th minute to put ASU in a 3-1 hole.
The Sun Devils outshot the Beavers 7-1 from that point. Eva van Deursen (two SOGs), Enasia Colon (one SOG) and Nguyen (one SOG) combined for four shots on frame, all of which were saved by Coll, who ended the game with nine saves.
Following the game, the team celebrated the careers of this year's senior class, one of the best in the history of the program: Fifth-year seniors Alexia Delgado, Nicole Douglas, Olivia Nguyen and Eva van Deursen and Giulia Cascapera, Callie Darst and Tahlia Herman-Watt. The program's NCAA appearance in 2020 (played in the Spring of 2021), the program's first since 2014, and three winning seasons – including a pair of 10-win campaigns – are among the most notable of the several accomplishments of this year's class.
"We couldn't get too high after (Thursday's 5-1 win over Oregon) and we can't get too low (about Sunday's loss)," Winkworth said. "And as disappointed as we are about one game, it's not about one game. Today, it is about honoring the seniors who put so much effort into transforming this program into one that is challenging the best teams in the nation and some of the all-time Sun Devils – some of the greatest players to ever kick the ball – some of our greatest Sun Devils are in this senior class.
"I just hope that they look back and think that as a staff, and as a head coach that we just had a small piece of forming them into the incredible young women that they are. I know that all the credit needs to go to them. They came in, they chose us first. They worked so hard, they've worked so tirelessly, and they've led the younger players as well. They're amazing players. But like I said in the little speech before they came out, I'm just going to miss seeing them daily. And I've been struggling emotionally myself."
Up next for the Sun Devils is the regular-season finale against Arizona. Game time on Friday is 7 p.m. Click here to purchase tickets for the game.