After a slow start in the first half of Sunday’s game, No. 24 University of Central Florida (4-1-0) put up two goals in the first 10 minutes of the second half to put the game out of reach and beat the Arizona State Sun Devils (1-2-1), by a final score of 2-1.
Another game of heavy defense seemed to determine how this game was going after Arizona State goalie Nikki Panas put together a third straight scoreless half (dating back to last game), after shutting out Central Florida during the first 45 minutes.
Just over a minute into the second half, the shutout streak ended for Panas as Central Florida’s Dina Orschmann found the back of the net for the second time this season. Only nine minutes later, the Knights doubled their lead on Morgan Ferrara’s second goal of the season off a corner.
The Sun Devils may have been down, but they weren’t quite out of it yet. In the 75th minute, Angela Boyle just barely missed a free kick attempt and two minutes later, Jemma Purfield stole the ball off a poor pass from UCF’s goalkeeper just outside the box to find herself with an open net and scored her first goal as a Sun Devil.
The last 13 minutes of the game proved to be hectic as Arizona State was trying to come back from their goal deficit. The Sun Devils had a quality free kick opportunity from 20 yards out in the closing minutes, but could not finish it, as it led to a corner. On their last chance of the game, ASU could not capitalize, ending the match at 2-1 and giving Arizona State their first loss since the season opener on August 18th.
No. 24 ranked Central Florida proved to be too much for Arizona State as the former led in terms of shots on goal (5-3) and corner kicks (6-3).
Arizona State looks to rebound next week as they head down to Tucson to face off against Texas Tech (3-1-0) on Friday at 4:30 p.m. MST and Florida Gulf Coast University (5-2-0) on Sunday at 3:00 p.m. MST in the annual University of Arizona tournament.