The Sun Devil players almost fell to the pitch in unison, each as devastated as the other. Arizona State (7-2-2, 3-1-2 Pac-12) watched as Cal (5-3-1, 3-3-0) swarmed Amaya Gray following her golden goal in overtime for the 2-1 win.
The script the Sun Devils had used in their undefeated conference stretch was essentially used against them. They weren’t the team clawing and scraping for any way to find an equalizer. They weren’t the better and more aggressive attacking side in overtime.
That was Cal.
For the first and the majority of the second half, Arizona State was the better team. Early attacks were directed on long balls to Cori Sullivan on the wing.
She had multiple one-on-one chances but didn’t score. Sullivan did have a shot from deep that almost looked like a cross in the 47th minute that bounced off the inside of the post.
The lone goal came off the head from freshman Jazmine Wilkinson. Alexia Delgado had nearly scored on her own header that was saved by Cal’s Angelina Anderson.
She immediately got back and launched a perfect ball for Wilkinson to score her first career goal on.
“It feels amazing to get my first goal,” Wilkinson said. “It was a great team effort. I have to give credit to Alexia for that amazing ball. It just feels great. I love getting in the air, I love getting those headers.”
Nevertheless, it was only one goal. When the Sun Devils put 11 shots on goal and had other opportunities to add to their lead, it left them disappointed.
“In the first and second half, we outplayed them,” Nicole Douglas said. “We created chances on chances but we weren’t clinical enough today and couldn’t put our chances away.”
Cal had its own collection of shots on goal. The most important in regulation came off the foot of Rilee Harmon. She smashed a ball from outside the box and hit the crossbar. The rebound bounced directly to Keely Roy, who put it away to tie the game in the 68th minute.
The Golden Bears started to be more aggressive in their attacks from there. For a 10-minute stretch, it felt like they created most of their shots in that span.
As a whole, fatigue played a factor for ASU. Every starter but two played the entire game. The only two reserves that checked in, Kiki Stewart and Dai Williams, each played less than 15 minutes and Williams exited due to injury.
Arizona State coach Graham Winkworth confirmed following the contest that Vildan Kardesler and Isabel Dehakiz won’t return this season and that there’s an outside possibility that Lucy Johnson does.
The depth has started to disappear, but Winkworth is proud that his team hasn’t used it as an excuse.
“The girls have faced a lot of adversity. We’ve lost a lot of important players of our roster as the season as gone on to long-term injuries,” Winkworth said. “I’m really proud how they’re facing that adversity and not using it as an excuse. Whatever players we got, we got to do the best that we can.”
Arizona State will attempt to bounce back against the defending national champions in the Stanford Cardinal. Both teams are coming off a loss and will meet on Sunday at 2 p.m. local time.
“Two weeks ago, we lost to Arizona and they responded by putting in an incredible performance...at the No. 3 team in the nation,” Winkworth said. “Stanford is an incredible soccer team but what an opportunity to bounce back against the defending national champions.”