Arizona State fans know the athletic season has returned when Nicole Douglas is finding the back of the net on the pitch. The English forward kicked off the Sun Devil athletic calendar and the soccer season scoring a pair of goals in Arizona State’s (1-0-0) 6-1 win over Central Arkansas (0-1-0).
Douglas gave the Sun Devils their first lead of the season after a masterful piece of footwork in the box. She scored again in the 27th minute on an assist from Dai Williams. The two goals made it 32 for Douglas’ career, and putting her third on the all-time list in Sun Devil program history. She only trails Cali Farquharson (44) and Stacey Tullock (50).
Plenty of other Sun Devils got in on the action. Olivia Nguyen quickly found the equalizer following a quick Central Arkansas goal in the sixth minute. Eva van Deursen and Cori Sullivan — assisted by Douglas — each had superb strikes on their second-half goals.
Jayda Hylton-Pelaia, an East Carolina graduate trasnfer, also got in on the action. She fired in a shot that bounced off Bear keeper Kasja Pruner’s hands and rolled in for a goal.
Starting Sun Devil goalkeeper Giulia Cascapera was nursing a preseason injury, leading to freshman Julia Ortega starting in goal. She was very untested despite a lackluster start from the Sun Devils’ backline. An uncharacteristic mistake from Arizona State’s defender led to Central Arkansas’ lone goal.
Birta Gudlaugs, a fellow freshman and the only other keeper on the Sun Devil roster, also got action on Thursday. She made this save pushing the ball over the bar.
No bears allowed ♀️— Sun Devil Soccer (@SunDevilSoccer) August 20, 2021
Birta Gudlaugs gets her first Sun Devil save! pic.twitter.com/qlPDsUfFV5
Vildan Kardesler and Isabel Dehahiz, who each suffered major inuries in the spring season were still out, but according to AZCentral’s Jeff Metcalfe, there is optimism they could return for this season. Team captain Alexia Delgado did not play on Thursday.
Arizona State plays again on Sunday against Southeastern Louisiana in Tempe at 7:00 p.m. local time.