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ASU Soccer: Sun Devils struggle to score against Rocky Mountain schools

A draw and a loss

Brady Vernon/House of Sparky

The Arizona State Sun Devils (6-3-1, Pac-12 1-1-1) looked promising after a hard-fought tie against No. 18 Colorado (9-0-3, 1-0-2) on Thursday at Sun Devil Stadium but lose their unbeaten streak after a crushing loss to the Utah Utes (4-6-1, 1-2-0) on Sunday.

After a full 110 minutes of play against the 18th ranked Colorado, the Sun Devils came back to draw the game, 1-1. The Sun Devils had one of their best performances of the year making the Colorado goalkeeper make 12 saves for the day.

”I thought this might have been our best all-around performance to this point of the season,” head coach Graham Winkworth said on his team’s performance. “If it wasn’t for their goal keeper, who happens to be a local player, I think there could have been two or three goals we would have scored.”

The Sun Devils would have to come back after a 13th minute goal by Colorado. In the first half the Sun Devils had four shots on target. The Sun Devils would not find the back of the net until the 51st minute.

Off a corner kick, ASU senior defender and captain Jemma Purfield placed the ball perfectly into the six-yard box to find senior defender Madison Wolf who headed the ball into the back of the net, tying the game at one.

The game went into overtime, but neither team could find the game winner.

On a cloudy Sunday afternoon, the Sun Devils lost their unbeaten streak of five games after a 2-0 loss to the Utes without their leading goal-scorer freshman forward Nicole Douglas.

Douglas missed the game against the Utes and is expected to miss two big match-ups against No. 2 USC and No. 16 UCLA next week. Douglas was called up to England’s Under-19 Women’s National Team in the first round of European Qualifier held in Croatia.

“When you lose your top goal scorer, it’s a challenge and with Douglas gone away, but it is what it is,” Winkworth said. “We have a deep squad but unfortunately we didn’t coach them up well enough to score some goals today.”

Douglas should return just in time for the match against the defending NCAA National Champions and No. 1 Standford Cardinal on Saturday, October 13.

In the first half the Sun Devils and the Utes had a back-and-forth first half. The Sun Devils had five shots on goal to the Utes three.

Just before the half, Utah snuck one in the back of the net, giving the Utes a 1-0 lead over the Sun Devils. Utes midfielder Paola Van Der Veen’s shot was too strong for Sun Devils sophomore goalkeeper Nikki Panas.

The Utes would add another to their lead in the 54th minute, doubling the Utes lead to 2-0. The Sun Devils had opportunities of their own, as they had 19 shots, nine on target and three of those hit the cross bar.

“Between the two goalkeepers, on Thursday and today, I think the goalkeepers for the opposition team made 23-25 saves,” Winkworth said on the opposing goalkeepers. “So, we definitely worked their goalkeepers and created more chances then the opposition, but the only ones that count are between the posts.”

The Sun Devils would lose their first conference game, and lose their winning streak after the 2-0 loss to the Utah Utes.

“I think we have to look back on the game and reflect on the performance,” Purfield said. “We all realized it wasn’t good enough, but I think we need to unpick it a little bit more in detail in the film room and think about how we can improve into our games in California.”

The Sun Devils will look to bounce back as they have a tough week of Pac-12 play in front of the. The Sun Devils will travel to Los Angeles to take on No. 16 UCLA on Thursday, October 4th at 5 p.m. MST and No. 2 USC on Sunday, October 7th at 12 p.m. MST before they come back to Tempe to take on No. 1 Stanford on Saturday October 13th at 7 p.m. MST.