(Photo: Kristina Vicario/WCSN)
The Arizona State Sun Devils fell to the No. 23 Cal Golden Bears Sunday afternoon in a 1-0 loss, making this their sixth consecutive loss on the season.
The main problem for the Sun Devils was letting the Golden Bears get better chances and creating good ones themselves. ASU did manage to take better care of the ball and keep more possession than they did against Stanford however they just couldn’t get to the next step.
In the first half it was Cal who had the upper hand. The Sun Devils were matching the Golden Bears when it came to progressing up the field, however Cal started to gain more control in the first half as they seemed to create better chances. The Sun Devils weren’t producing quality opportunities at all.
The Golden Bears would’ve been up 2-0 up at halftime had it not been for redshirt senior goalkeeper Chandler Morris. In the fourth minute junior forward Arielle Ship found enough space to blast a shot towards the upper corner of Morris’ net, but the keeper denied the goal with diving save.
In the 22nd minute, there was another real chance for Cal to get on the scoresheet as Ship was one-on-one with Morris. Morris made the initial save and senior forward Samantha Witteman had the follow up shot but it was cleared off the line by sophomore defender Madison Stark.
After that, the Sun Devils struggled to get inside Cal’s 18 and really put pressure on them.
“The first half Cal absolutely outplayed us,” Head Coach Kevin Boyd said. “The second half we outplayed them”
To start off the second half ASU had a lot more energy and was moving faster than the first half. However, the game changed when sophomore forward Aly Moon suffered a head injury.
Cal sophomore keeper Emily Boyd was racing with Moon for a ball going into the Cal box. As Boyd went to clear the ball, she accidently missed, punching Moon in the face and following through with an elbow.
The game was paused for around 20 minutes as Moon received medical attention and eventually carried off the field by paramedics.
According to the ASU staff, Moon was responsive but was taken to the hospital for “precautionary reasons”
Although it is a big blow to the offense sophomore forward Jessica Raybe said when one of their own goes down it helps them “pull together as a team.”
“It makes us play harder.” Raybe said. “We played way harder after Aly got hurt because we were playing for her.”
With the injury to Moon this game, and previous injuries to senior forward Cali Farquharson and senior midfielder Tommi Goodman, the ASU offense was struggling to find the rhythm they had at the beginning of the season.
Farquharson is the leading goalscorer this year and Moon in second.
In the second half, the chances were coming and the pressure on the Cal defense was growing but the people who usually put the finishing touch on the ball were absent to do so.
With ASU heading to California next weekend to face USC and UCLA, keeping possession and finishing are needed to break the losing streak.
For practice this week Boyd said they are going to work on keeping the ball more.
“We need a reminder on how to keep the ball.” Boyd said. “We didn’t look like ourselves in the first half.”
In addition to that ASU can expect their leading goalscorer to play for them on Friday against USC.
“We had a chance to play her [Farquharson] today but we opted not to” Boyd said. “Again just being conservative.”
ASU will take on USC this upcoming Friday at 3 P.M. PST.