It always nice to bounce back after a loss. Especially when your star player puts her team on the board early. For Arizona State (6-1-0), that was the story on Thursday against Nebraska (4-3-0).
The Sun Devils struck quickly in their first action since their ranked loss to LSU. Eva van Deursen started the action in the seventh minute. She dribbled ball around a few Nebraska defenders before she fed the ball to Nicole Douglas in the box. The English forward won the 50-50 ball, clearing enough space for her seventh goal of the season.
“When you lose a game, you want to get back on the pitch as fast as possible to try and rectify that. We knew that we played well against LSU...we had a great opportunity today against a really good Big Ten opponent and it’s a huge result” Arizona State coach Graham Winkworth said.
Arizona State had a lot of chances that didn’t quite get through. Early in the second half, Cori Sullivan had a nice run and move to get into the box. She gave Douglas a nice pass, but her shot was saved, earning the Sun Devils a corner kick. On the ensuing corner, the Sun Devils had multiple chances, yet the ball never found the back of the net.
Freshman keeper Birta Gudlaugs certainly put her first rough performance on the season past her. She kept a clean sheet against Nebraska making six saves and standing tall in the final few minutes against a few good looks from the Cornhuskers.
“(Today) was really important (for her),” Winkworth said. “She’s done a good job throughout the season...She had a big save today to keep it 1-0. Happy for her, when you concede four goals in one half (against LSU) it can be psychological on a player. To have a clean sheet the next week speaks to her character.”
The Sun Devils play their second game of the weekend in Tucson on Sunday. It’ll be another contest against a ranked team in No. 21 Texas Tech at 10:00 a.m.