Arizona State’s NCAA Tournament run came to a close on Saturday afternoon, falling at the hands of No. 9 Duke in double overtime.
Despite the season-ending defeat, there was no reason for the Sun Devils to hang their heads. ASU went toe-to-toe with one of the top teams in the nation, and was on the brink of advancing one step further in the tournament.
After Duke grabbed an early 1-0 lead, the Sun Devils were in desperation mode entering the final minutes of the match.
ASU continued to put on an attack and generate a couple of chances. Then in the 87th minute, the dam finally cracked.
On a pass into the box, junior forward Nicole Douglas spun and cranked a shot off of her right foot that fluttered over Duke goalkeeper Ruthie Jones. The shot clanked off the crossbar and directly down to the goal line.
Never giving up on the play, Cori Sullivan came charging in to head the loose ball into the net and knot the score at one, giving the Sun Devils life to keep their postseason hopes alive.
Just nine minutes prior to the game-tying goal, ASU goalkeeper Giulia Cascapera also kept the game alive by making a terrific save on a Duke scoring opportunity.
Throughout the match, Cascapera made a variety of clutch stops, including another point blank save in overtime. She made five saves in total on Saturday.
Following Sullivan’s late goal, the game extended to overtime, where both teams traded chances. ASU had a chance to win on a corner kick that was stopped on the goal line, and Duke had opportunities on the other end as well.
However, after the first OT, the Blue Devils came through with the back-breaking golden goal.
In the 102nd minute, Duke’s Sophie Jones received a pass on the far post that she was able to get past Cascapera for the game-winner.
It was a tough result for an ASU team that had fought back with everything it had, but if there was one thing taken from Saturday’s result, it’s that the future is bright for Graham Winkworth’s group.
The Sun Devils return their entire starting lineup and nearly their entire roster next season, and will look to build off this season’s postseason run.