(Photo: James Powel/WCSN)
The Arizona State women’s soccer team (5-3-2) was overpowered Thursday, dropping their Pac-12 opener 0-2 to the 11th ranked Bruins of UCLA.
The Bruins came out firing on all cylinders, scoring two goals in the first eight minutes. Both goals came courtesy of UCLA freshman midfielder, Jessie Fleming, a coveted recruit and Canadian native.
The Sun Devils looked completely overmatched early on by a strong Bruins attack.
ASU conceded seven shots to the Bruins in the first 30 minutes- six of which were on target- while failing to get a shot of their own in the same time.
The Sun Devils were forced to go into a defensive minded scheme, stacking the back line in response.
Freshman keeper Emma Malsy, who was coming off back to back shutouts, was forced to make several crucial saves, but could not keep every ball out. UCLA scored their first goal in the 5th minute as a result of smooth passing. Flemming then knocked back her second of the night in the 8th minute off a strike from well outside the box.
The Sun Devils started to find their bearings soon after, holding the Bruins scoreless for the last 35 minutes of the half.
Malsy settled in as the half continued, finishing the first 45 minutes with five saves. She would finish the game with only six (YOU HAD “6”), needing to save just one ball in the second half.
On the attacking third, the Sun Devils did not get their first shot of the game until the 53rd minute with junior defender Madison Stark breaking through. Junior forward Jazmarie Mader had the Devil’s first shot on goal minutes later.
Momentum began to swing ASU’s way as the second half progressed
UCLA kept their composure in check throughout the match, limiting fouls and holding organization. Countering ASU’s 2nd half breakthrough was UCLA’s freshman goalkeeper Teagan Micah. The Australia native finished with five saves, and earned her fifth shutout of the year.
Even in a 2-0 shutout, ASU showed resiliency, outshooting their opponents 13-12 after failing to get a shot off in the first half.
The Sun Devils will play their next game on Thursday against Utah in Tempe at 4:30 pm.