There’s not many other people you’d rather have at the spot in collegiate soccer right now with the game on the line than Nicole Douglas. The nation’s leading goal-scorer had a chance to put Arizona State (9-7-2, 1-6-2 Pac-12) in position for its first Pac-12 win this season.
She delivered the strike past the opposing keeper Dani Hansen. The Sun Devils hung on after Douglas’ second goal of the match to beat Colorado (7-7-3, 2-4-3) 3-2.
Douglas got her first penalty opportunity that she put away in the fifth minute. Douglas came into the week in a three-way tie for the most goals in the nation with Georgia’s Mollie Belisle and St. John’s Zsani Kajan. Belisle went scoreless and Kajan scored once on Thursday meaning Douglas is the nation’s current leader in goals scored. She also tied former Sun Devil Stacey Tullock’s single-season program record for goals scored in a season set back in 1999.
The other piece of the puzzle in the win was a finish from someone besides Douglas. Colorado quickly responded in the 15th minute to even the contest at one. What did Olivia Nguyen decide to do? Put together a marvelous finish for her sixth goal of the season in the 27th minute.
Goal Sun Devils! @olivia_nguyennn finds the back of the net to put @SunDevilSoccer back on top, 2-1.— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) October 29, 2021
https://t.co/A3Ctir9i8Q#ForksUp | #Pac12Soccer pic.twitter.com/pr6Vax0ioj
Julia Ortega started in goal for the Sun Devils. She made seven saves, and to be fair the two goals she surrendered were two beautiful strikes from Shyra James and Gabbi Chapa.
Another positive from the night was the season debut from Vlidan Kardesler, who missed most of the spring season due to injury.
The Sun Devils are unlikely to return to the NCAA Tournament, but Douglas’ goal watch should be something to watch the next two games. Eva van Deursen, who assisted the Nguyen goal, currently has eight assists this season, one short of the program’s single-season record.
Records might fall on Sunday when Arizona State hosts Utah for Senior Day.