Arizona State goalkeeper Birta Gudlaugs made one of her nine saves in the 61st minute. As good as the stop was, No. 21 USC’s (7-2, 2-0 Pac-12) pressure was relentless. Savannah DeMelo followed up the loose ball in the box and sent it in for the eventual game-winning score in USC’s 2-1 win Thursday.
USC put nine more shots on goal than Arizona State (8-2-1, 0-1-1) in Tempe. The Sun Devils only finished with two shots on goal both coming from Nicole Douglas.
Douglas scored her 12th goal to put the Sun Devils up in the first half. Cori Sullivan came off the bench and immediately made an impact. She made a few great passes that weren’t converted until she got it to Douglas in the 30th minute. Sullivan made a great move and got it to the conference’s leader in goals, Douglas made one touch and put it in.
Arizona State played a great first half overall, but finished on a sour note. USC’s Hannah White pressed the Sun Devil defense before rolling a perfect ball to Simone Jackson in front of Gudlaugs. Jackson won the one-on-one to even the score as the teams headed into halftime. White’s attack certainly was good, but it appeared Arizona State’s backline had a clear breakdown in communication leaving Jackson alone.
Douglas challenged USC keeper Anna Smith in the 80th minute. Smith stopped the laser shot, but didn’t catch it. Unlike DeMelo’s, USC cleared the ball away before Arizona State could clean it up.
The Sun Devils will try to find their first Pac-12 win against the conference’s top-ranked team, UCLA on Sunday.