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Sun Devil Soccer concludes regular season hosting Territorial Cup® match on Friday night

Nov 3, 2022

THE GAME: Sun Devil Soccer (8-5-3, 4-5-1 Pac-12) vs. Arizona (8-6-3, 5-4-1 Pac-12)
WHEN: Friday at 7 p.m. MST
WHERE: Sun Devil Soccer Stadium • Tempe, Ariz.
WATCH: Pac-12 Arizona
LIVE STATS: Click here
PURCHASE TICKETS: Click here
 
UP NEXT
The Sun Devil soccer team will look to end the regular season on a winning note and solidify its spot in the upcoming NCAA Tournament when it hosts Arizona on Friday (7 pm MST) at Sun Devil Soccer Stadium. 
 
The Sun Devils (8-5-3, 4-5-1 Pac-12) will look to display once again what has become one of the program's defining qualities in recent years: resilience. 
 
After last Thursday's 5-1 win over Oregon, ASU's finest performance of the season in which it scored its most goals against a Pac-12 opponent since 2012 when it defeated USC 5-4 in 2OT, it was defeated by Oregon State 3-1 on Sunday. ASU appeared to have carried the momentum from Thursday's win into Sunday's game after Nicole Douglas, the current reigning Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week, scored on a penalty kick in the 16th minute to give it the early advantage. Despite going on to have more than twice as many shots as OSU (11-5), ASU was unable to come up with the victory.
 
SERIES NOTES VS ARIZONA
ASU went unbeaten in the first 13 meetings (12-0-1)… Arizona has won eight of last 13 meetings... ASU's last win in the series came in 2015 when one of the program's all-time greats, Cali Farquharson, concluded her career with a hat trick in ASU's 4-1 win... Six of the last seven meetings have been decided by a single goal, including Arizona's 2-1 OT win last year in Tucson. Nicole Douglas scored her 19th and final goal of the season in the 82nd minute to force overtime. Unfortunately for the Sun Devils, a penalty kick awarded to Arizona – the product of an unintentional handball in the box called on ASU – brought the game to an abrupt end.
 
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
• The Sun Devils (8-5-3, 4-5-1 Pac-12) enter the regular season finale in sixth place in the Pac-12. A win on Friday would lift ASU into a tie for fifth place with Arizona (8-6-3, 5-4-1). UCLA (17-1, 9-1 Pac-12) and Stanford (16-2-1, 9-1) are tied for first, USC follows in third place (11-2-3, 7-1-2) and Cal (10-4-5, 5-3-2) in fourth place. Washington (9-6-3, 3-6-1/seventh place) follows ASU and Washington State (8-6-4, 2-5-3) and Utah (6-7-5, 2-5-3) are tied for eighth place.
• In the all-important NCAA RPI, ASU started the week at No. 34, one of 11 Pac-12 teams ranked in the top 65. It was joined by UCLA (No. 1), Stanford (No. 9), USC (No. 24), Cal (No. 37), Arizona (No. 38), Washington State (No. 56), Washington (No. 60), Utah (No. 61), Oregon (No. 62) and Colorado (No. 63).   
• As of Nov. 2, ASU is ranked among the top 25 teams in the nation in assists per game (2.62/ninth), points per game (7.0/15th) and scoring offense (2.19 goals per game/25th).
• ASU has been led by returning All-American Nicole Douglas. The program's all-time career leader in goals (60), points (140) & game-winning goals (17), Douglas comes into Friday's game ranked seventh nationally in goals per game (0.88), ninth in points per game (1.94), 19th in shots on goal per game (2.0) and 24th in game-winning goals (4). 
• 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 Grambling State (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. After an unlucky stretch in Pac-12 play, Douglas reminded everyone of her one-of-a-kind ability to go off at any time with single-game records of 4 goals and 9 points in ASU's 5-1 win over Oregon (Oct. 27). She notched goal No. 14 vs. Oregon State on Oct. 30. 
• Eva van Deursen (25 career assists) needs one assist to pass ASU Hall of Famer Stacy Tullock's and take over sole possession of ASU's record for career assists. Van Deursen is currently ranked 33rd in the nation in shot accuracy (.606). Lucy Johnson, who has missed three games this season, currently leads ASU in assists (8) and is two assists away from tying van Deursen's single-season record of 10 set last season.
• Prior to its loss vs. Stanford (Oct. 2), 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 Alexia Delgado (4 goals) combined for 15 of those 21 goals. By the season's 8th game, van Deursen and Delgado had set new single-season career highs in goals. Delgado scored her fifth goal at Washington (Oct. 23) and Van Deursen added her sixth goal vs. Oregon (Oct. 27).
• Both Lucy Johnson (vs. UAB) and Kennedy Mayo (vs. Toledo) have tied the single-game school record for assists (3). 

MAKING HISTORY
All eyes have been focused 2021 NCAA scoring leader Nicole Douglas, who earned Third-Team All-America honors in 2021 and was one of 13 players named to the All-Pac-12 First Team. The first Sun Devil to earn All-America honors since 2002, in 2021 Douglas set single-season school records for goals (19/No. 1 in the nation) and points (45). She also led the nation in goals per game (0.95) and points per game (2.25).
 
On Sept. 1, 2022, Douglas became ASU's all-time leader in career goals after scoring twice in ASU's 6-2 win over UAB. Douglas tied and then and passed Sun Devil Hall of Famer Stacey Tullock (50 goals/1998-2001) vs. UAB. On Sept. 14 vs. Grambling State, Douglas became ASU's new career leader in points (126/54 goals and 18 assists) and game-winning goals (17), passing Tullock in both categories Grambling State (Sept. 14). 
 
Douglas, who has started all 87 games in her career, accounted for a goal or assist in all but five games last season and had a stretch in which she scored at least one goal in seven straight games. She has scored multiple goals in a game 13x in her career and had tied the single-game school record for goals (3) on four occasions – most recently in ASU's 5-0 win over Grambling State (Sept. 14) – before surpassing it with single-game school records in both goals (4) and points (9/4G, 1A) in ASU's 5-1 win over Oregon (Oct. 27).
 
On Aug. 18, it was announced Douglas was one of 60 players on the 2022 Hermann Trophy Watch List. Presented annually by the Missouri Athletic Club, the Hermann Trophy is the nation's highest individual honor recognizing the National Player of the Year.
 
CHASING HISTORY
Also within reach of breaking a program career record is fifth-year midfielder Eva van Deursen (25 career assists/tied for first place), who needs one assist to pass Sun Devil Hall of Famer Stacey Tullock (25 assists/1998-2001) and take over sole possession of the top spot. Van Deursen has accounted for a single-season, career-high six goals and five assists this season. 
 
She scored two goals, including the game-winning goal with three seconds remaining in ASU's 3-2 win at Colorado (Sept. 23) and followed with another game-winner in the 73rd minute of ASU's 2-1 win over Cal (Sept. 29). Van Deursen was named to the College Soccer News Women's National Team of the Week for the week ending Sept. 25.
 
In 2021, van Deursen set the school's single-season assists record (10) in addition to scoring three goals. At season's end, van Deursen led the Pac-12 and was No. 19 in the nation in assists per game (0.56). She tied her single-game career high in assists (two) twice in ASU's wins at UAB (Aug. 29) and vs. Utah (Oct. 31).
 
HOW'S THIS FOR EXPERIENCE?
ASU returned a quartet of fifth-year players in the form of forwards Nicole Douglas (87 games/87 starts) and Olivia Nguyen (77 games/50 starts, including 49 starts in her last 53 games since start of her junior season) and midfielders Alexia Delgado (80 games/73 starts) and Eva van Deursen (85 games/80 starts). The four players have combined for 27 goals and 16 assists this season – Douglas (13G/3A), van Deursen (6G/5A), Delgado (5G/5A) and Nguyen (2G/3A) – and collectively have amassed 329 games played, including 290 starts.
 
The Sun Devils also have three other players with 60 or mores games of experience: senior defender Lieske Carleer (64 games/63 starts) and senior defender/midfielder Callie Darst (63 starts in 70 career games). Although this is her first season with ASU, New Mexico State transfer Hannah Leitner has played in 60 games (43 starts). A starter in two games in 2022, Leitner scored her first goal as a Sun Devil in ASU's 2-0 win at Washington State (Oct. 20).
 
Juniors Lucy Johnson (started 10 of 11 games she's played in 2022) and Jazmine Wilkinson (starts in 10 of 15 games she has played in 2022), have also provided the team with important contributions this season. Johnson, who tied the single-game school record for assists (3) vs. UAB on Sept. 1, currently has a team-high eight assists and Wilkinson has accounted for one goal and two assists.
 
THEY MAY BE YOUNG, BUT THEY CAN PLAY
The Sun Devils have also relied on a number of freshmen and sophomores, who have contributed to their success this season.
 
Sophomore forwards Keri Matthews and Kennedy Mayo have provided the opposition with additional scoring options to be aware of on its scouting reports. Matthews has scored a pair of goals to go with two assists. Mayo proved how dangerous she can be, accounting for a goal and a single-game, school record-tying three assists in ASU's 5-0 win vs. Toledo (Sept. 18). On the defensive end, Lauren Kirberg has provided the Sun Devils with several solid efforts on what has become a younger back line as the season has progressed.
 
The versatility of Fr. Enasia Colon – can play in the midfield or up top – has been a plus for the Sun Devils this season. She has played in all 15 games with seven starts and has scored a pair of goals to go with five assists (tied for second on the team).
 
On the back line, Sun Devil freshmen and sophomores have all risen to the challenge when their number has been called: Fr. Andrea Kraetzer has played in all 16 games (14 starts), Fr. Meighan Farrell has played in 15 games (eight starts, including last six contests), Fr. Ava Wright has played in 14 games (10 starts), So. Lauren Kirberg has played in 14 games (five starts).
 
Fr. GK 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 15 games and on Sept. 18, Nelles earned her first complete game shutout vs. Toledo. She had her second and made a career-high nine saves in ASU's 0-0 tie vs. Utah (Oct. 14) and added a third in ASU's 2-0 win at Washington State (Oct. 20). Nelles and Birta Gudlaugsdottir also combined for ASU's first shutout vs. Grambling State (Sept. 14). 
 
TRANSFERS
The Sun Devils welcomed two transfers to the program, Gabi Rennie and Hannah Leitner. Rennie, who had an assist in her Sun Devil debut vs. South Dakota State, joined the Sun Devils after starting her career at Indiana University. She also spent time with the New Zealand national team and scored a goal for them in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Rennie's role has increased as the season has progressed. She has played in 13 games and started three contests.
 
In her three seasons playing for New Mexico State, Leitner became the program's all-time career assists leader (12) and tied for eighth in career goals (nine). Like Rennie, Leitner has also played a more significant role as of late. Leitner, who scored her first goal as a Sun Devil in ASU's 2-0 win at Washington State (Oct. 20), has played in 11 games and has started two contests.
 
GREAT CULTURE EQUALS GREAT SUCCESS
The fact the ASU did not encounter a loss until the season's ninth game is a testament to the team's focus and leadership. Both of its 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 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. 
 
Again the Sun Devils proved their mettle, ending a four-game winless streak (0-3-1) with a 2-0 win at Washington State (Oct. 20).
 
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 2OT. 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.
 
HOW WE GOT HERE
The Sun Devil soccer team'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), Delgado scored the game's first goal and midfield teammate van Deursen accounted for the other two, including the game-winner with three seconds remaining in ASU's 3-2 win. 
 
ASU started what most outside the state of California would consider to be the toughest possible four-game stretch in the Pac-12 with a come-from-behind win over Cal (2-1 on Sept. 29). 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.
 
The Sun Devils had to deal with the bitter taste of defeat for the first time this season after it was not able to score a goal – also a first this season – in a 2-0 setback to Stanford on Oct. 2. The Sun Devils were again held scoreless in a 4-0 loss at top-ranked UCLA on Oct. 6. ASU concluded the difficult string of games with a 2-1 loss at then-No. 8 USC on Oct. 9. 
 
Heading into its game vs. Utah (Oct. 14), ASU was coming off its best half of soccer in the loss at USC. Freshman Enasia Colon's goal in the 48th minute cut ASU's two goal deficit in half. Against the Utes, ASU had a pair of excellent scoring opportunities, but was not able to get on the board. The Sun Devils were outshot 13-4 in the second half but kept the Utes from scoring with phenomenal back-line play. The 61st and 71st minute saw heroic efforts from ASU defenders to keep the match scoreless. On both occasions, the last remaining Sun Devil defenders were tasked with making timely slides to shake the ball away from the attacker heading for a one-on-one with their goalkeeper. Freshman goalkeeper Pauline Nelles made a career-high nine saves to secure her second career clean sheet. Playing a big role in helping Nelles keep Utah off the scoreboard were senior Lieske Carleer, sophomore Lauren Kirberg and a trio of freshmen: Andrea Kraetzer, Meighan Farrell and Ava Wright. 
 
A pair of Arizona natives, fifth-year senior Olivia Nguyen (sixth game-winning goal of her career) and New Mexico State transfer Hannah Leitner (first goal as a Sun Devil) provided all the scoring in ASU's 2-0 win at WSU (Oct. 20) to snap ASU's four-game winless streak. Nelles, added seven more saves vs. Washington State to post her second consecutive shutout. The Sun Devils nearly left the state of Washington with a sweep. Delgado's goal in the 14th minute gave the Sun Devils the early advantage, one they continued to maintain until the Huskies scored two goals in the space of 2:18 late in the game to come away with the 2-1 win.
 
ASU showed its incredible spirit, brushing off the disappointment of the tough loss at Washington and rebounding with its best game of the season in 5-1 win over Oregon (Oct. 27). Douglas set single-game school records for goals (4) and points (9) in the win.
 
Unfortunately for the Sun Devils, their finest performance of the season in which they scored their most goals against a Pac-12 opponent since 2012 when they defeated USC 5-4 in 2OT, was followed by a 3-1 loss to Oregon State on Oct. 30. ASU appeared to have carried the momentum from its emphatic win over the Ducks into its game vs. OSU after Douglas scored on a penalty kick in the 16th minute to give ASU the early advantage. Despite going on to have more than twice as many shots as OSU (11-5), ASU was unable to come up with the victory.