Arizona State soccer (8-5-2, 4-4-2 Pac-12) had one of its best seasons in recent history, but Friday exemplified the next hurdle it’ll have in the future; its rival. Arizona (9-5-1, 4-5-1) extended its win streak over the Sun Devils to six following a 2-0 result in favor of the Wildcats.
Early on, Arizona’s long balls gave the Sun Devils’ backline trouble. The Wildcats’ athletic forward Jada Talley had a shot pushed away by Arizona State keeper Giulia Cascapera in the fifth minute. In the 15th minute, Talley got behind the line again on a deep pass and chipped it over Cascapera for the goal.
Jill Aguilera took in a cross in the 59th minute, that gave her a clear shot in front of goal. A nifty move to create space from a Sun Devil defender allowed her to add on to her team’s lead.
The Arizona State attack only managed four shots on goal. Sun Devil coach Graham Winkworth credited Arizona’s defense and that its physically style is a poor matchup for his team.
Winkworth’s team heads into Monday’s NCAA Tournament selection on a three-game losing streak. However, the coach is confident that his team’s overall resume will earn them one of the 17 at-large bids in the 48-team field.
“I am pretty confident, I’d be disappointed if that doesn’t happen,” Winkworth said. “Two years ago, we didn’t have a big win. This year we beat one of the best teams in the country (UCLA), who will probably be a No. 1 seed...No one else has beaten UCLA...We are the only team to have beaten (UCLA and USC). I’d be devastated for the team if we’re not in the NCAA Tournament.”