Arizona State didn’t allow New Hampshire to score for 89 and half minutes of the game on Friday. However, both the Wildcats’ goal came within a 32 second stretch.
In the 26th minute, New Hampshire junior forward Kaylan Williams took advantage of a Sun Devil turnover in their own box, Williams drew a foul to earn a penalty. Junior forward Ally Reynolds put the penalty in the back of the net to break the scoreless game.
Williams then wasted no time after the first Wildcats’ goal to tack on another. Coming from the right side of the field, she’d center herself to send a screamer from about 40 yards out over the outstretched arm of Sun Devils’ senior goalkeeper Sydney Day. And just like that a game once knotted at zero turned into a 2-0 lead for New Hampshire (3-2) in 32 seconds.
Arizona State (1-1) battled back for most of the second half, but couldn’t find the equalizer, as they fell 2-1 to the Wildcats.
“The two goals were difficult to overcome. We got to show more quality out on the pitch,” head coach Graham Winkworth said. “We spoke about commitment at halftime, and that’s something we did put out there in the second half. I was much happy with the response from an effort standpoint in the second half.”
At many points during the game, especially during the second half the Sun Devils were very close to scoring another goal. Close was all they got though. A lot of that could be contributed to forwards senior Jemma Purfield and freshman Nicole Douglas missing the game due to their English international duties.
“We got to be more creative in the attacking third of the field,” Winkworth said. “When you’re missing two very creative goal scorers on national team duty it was very difficult for us. And we didn’t overcome that.”
The 48th minute was when the Sun Devils finally broke through. After an Arizona State corner came into the box and rolled away from the scrum of players, the ball bounced to freshman midfielder Alexia Douglas. Douglas let it fly and hit the bottom of the bar to cut the deficit to one.
In two different instances Arizona State came inches away from tying the game after Douglas’ goal. In the 68th, junior midfielder Christina Edwards let the ball go through her legs to let it get to freshman forward Marleen Schimmer. Schimmer had one defender and the goalie to beat. She created enough space for her shot, but it sailed on her to result in a goal kick.
With time winding down, freshman right back Cori Sullivan sent a cross at the goal in the 88th minute. New Hampshire senior goalkeeper Mia Neas had a tiny bit of trouble with the cross, double clutching it near the goal.
Arizona State earned a late corner, but had nothing to show for it and the first loss of the season became official.
The Sun Devils will continue the Sun Devil Desert Classic on Sunday, when they face Southeast Missouri State at 1:30 PST. And they’ll be looking to rebound with a fire.
“Tonight will be a bit of a rough one, but waking up tomorrow morning for our practice and getting ready for our next game. I think we’ll be ready for when the first whistle blows on Sunday afternoon,” senior forward Casey Martinez said.