Heads slated downwards after 110 minutes on the pitch on Friday. The chances in front of the net presented themselves once again for the Sun Devils, but too many shots went wide or over the goal for head coach Graham Winkworth’s liking.
“Again, we hit the target six times out of 17,” Winkworth said. “That’s a reflection of our finishing right now. We got to put the ball in the back of the net. We scored in every game this season, knock on wood, but we’re not being clinical enough, we’re not hitting the target enough. We weren’t quite good enough today.”
Arizona State (6-2-2) walked away with a positive result in a 2-2 draw versus Utah (5-3-2). However, the body language displayed by the Sun Devils post match told the story.
In the Pac-12 opener for each club, the Sun Devils felt and looked like the better side for a little over 60 minutes in Tempe. Locked in a tie, the ball squirted in front of Sun Devil forward Dai Williams, with the advantage and an open field she had fellow forwards Marleen Schimmer and Nicole Douglas on each side of her.
Williams decided to pass to her right toward Schimmer, the German received the ball and fired away a shot. Her reaction — a fist pump joined by a yell — let everyone know she’d just put the Sun Devils in the lead.
It didn’t last too long. The Utes responded with a barrage of shots, for the most part Sun Devil goalkeeper Giulia Cascapera did well, she saved eight shots on goal on Friday. Unfortunately for Arizona State, she couldn’t pick up her teammate after the referee pointed to the spot in 76th minute.
Defender Callie Darst got called for a handball in the box. Utah’s Aleea Gwerder blasted the penalty kick past Cascapera to even the match at two.
“She didn’t do that on purpose,” said Arizona State captain Kylie Miniefield about Darst’s handball. “She was trying to press her player, which she needed to do, as she was sprinting towards it, it hit her hand...You can’t blame it on her either because we should have been scoring more.”
Cascapera made multiple saves in the overtime periods to keep the draw alive. Missed opportunities continued on the attack as well in the extra time. Schimmer had a one-on-one chance that didn’t end with a shot on target.
“She had a nice goal, but she missed the target six times today,” Winkworth said. “..We have to improve our finishing, (Schimmer) isn’t the only culprit out here. (Douglas) hit the target twice out of five.”
Once again, the Sun Devils played from behind early. Utes Holly Daugirda and Courtney Talbot created a nice build up that led to Talbot’s tap in on a low-cross in the 17th minute.
The response from the Sun Devils came off the foot of Alexia Delgado on an assist from Douglas. The Mexican international was happy for the score but displeased with the final result.
“I’m happy I came back to the field with a goal and help my teammates, but it’s not the result we wanted at the end,” Delgado said.
Next week the Sun Devils will host a pair of top 10 teams in the form of UCLA and USC.
Arizona State was without Dutch players, midfielder Eva Van Deursen and Lieske Carleer, due to international duties. Winkworth said the Sun Devils were missing runs from the midfield that Van Deursen usually generates and their most consistent defender in Carleer.