Leading into the NCAA Tournament, Siena women’s soccer had conceded three goals all season on its way to winning the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
How did an Arizona State team handle the task of a tough defense? The Sun Devils scored four goals en route to winning their first-round matchup of the NCAA Tournament.
Arizona State also shutout Siena, handing them their first loss of the season in a 4-0 win for the Devils.
Unsurprisingly, Nicole Douglas was the first to find the back of the net. The Sun Devils’ leading goal scorer happened to be in the right spot at the right time.
Olivia Nguyen sent in a pass to Eva Van Deursen to the center of the box, and her shot was deflected and bounced right to Douglas. The English forward sent in it to put the Sun Devils up in the ninth minute.
The early goal seemed to be the confidence boost Arizona State needed. In the last three game before the tournament, the Sun Devils didn’t score a goal in any of them.
“They were very professional,” Arizona State coach Graham Winkworth said. “We went back to basics the last week or so - all about what got us to this point, on and off the pitch, and that’s the high level of culture we’ve got, thinking about what each player is asked to do in each position, and we went back to basics. Obviously, part of that is scoring goals for the attacking players, and part of that is set pieces. I’m really pleased with about an hour of the performance.”
On Wednesday, the attack never stopped, leading to 24 shots, 10 that were on goal and six corner kicks.
“The first goal is always the important one because it can determine the rest of the game, so we were on the front foot, and the goals just kept on coming,” Douglas said. “I was so happy to see the other players get some minutes as well that don’t normally get minutes, and they made an impact on the field.”
Freshman Lucy Johnson starred on those corner set pieces. In the 61st minute, she took in a quick pass from Alexia Delgado. Johnson kept dribbling toward the box until she launched a shot off her left foot that curled into the top left corner for her first career goal.
Eight minutes later, Johnson and Delgado started the set piece the same way. However, this time Johnson sent in a high-arching cross.
Olive Jones went high above Siena keeper Leslie Adams to get her head on it. The ball floated on the line and Sun Devil defender Lieske Carleer sent it in for good measure.
Late in the contest, Cori Sullivan put the cherry on top for the day. She scored in the 88th minute.
Arizona State goalie Giulia Cascapera didn’t have a lot of action, as Siena only put one shot on goal that she saved. Johnson and Jessica Hale didn’t allow much on the outside and limited space for any opportunities.
Siena’s Jayanna Monds had a nice look in the 48th minute in what could’ve been the equalizer at the time. Instead, the shot inside the box was deflected by Callie Darst, who had raced over to block it.
The Sun Devils will now face ninth-seeded Duke on Saturday. The Blue Devils played in both the fall and spring. They have only played five games since March, but are well-tested.
Duke played No. 5 West Virginia — lost 3-2 on March 27 — and drew with No. 16 Vanderbilt on April 11. It will be another 9:00 a.m MT/12:00 p.m. ET start and the contest can be seen on ESPN3.