(Photo: James Powel/WCSN)
Once again a huge underdog, the Arizona State women’s soccer team was outclassed by a talented Stanford squad Sunday, losing 2-1.
For the Sun Devils, this one would be about pride.
“We’re a family,” senior keeper Ashley March said. “I think that we were playing for each other out there. It was about more than the game of soccer tonight, it was about the seniors, it’s about a generation leaving and a new generation coming in.”
Still without their dynamic goal-scoring juniors forwards Ali Moon and Jazmarie Mader, the Sun Devils had trouble finishing in the attacking third.
“For what we have on the field right now, I think we’re playing the best we can play,” head coach Kevin Boyd said. “I look at today and the team played their heart out and that’s what everybody should’ve wanted to, come out and play the absolute hardest they can.”
The visitors from Palo Alto were ranked third in the NSCAA Coaches Poll coming into the match and made sure a letdown would not be in the works.
The Sun Devils, however, fought hard to stay above water on their senior day. March made her first start of the season tonight and delivered a stellar performance.
“It’s about coming into every single game and treating your opponent like they’re the best in the world,” March said. “The team came out with an amazing passion and I think that’s something I would’ve expected from them.
ASU matched Stanford chance for chance in the game’s first 30 minutes, equaling their opponents corner count.
“We were doing a good job matching up with them,” Boyd said. “When we’re fatiguing their soccer qualities are coming out on us and we’re just not getting it done
The two teams went into the halftime with a 0-0 stalemate
“It was an even half,” Boyd said. “We’re holding them to 0-0, they probably had a little more of the ball in the first half, but as a whole, it was very even.”
Fireworks erupted in the 51st minute, as Stanford junior midfielder Andi Sullivan appeared to wrap up and throw ASU junior midfielder Madison Kmetko to the ground. Sullivan, a US National Team call up, was given a yellow card as a result.
Only one minute later, an ASU handball led to a penalty kick for Sullivan. The former Pac-12 freshman of the year left no doubt and put away the ball with ease, giving Stanford a 1-0 lead.
Sullivan added to her goal count in the 64th minute, finding the back of the net and scoring off a pass in a crowded box. She was assisted by redshirt sophomore forward Kyra Carusa.
In the 67th minute, the Sun Devil goal drought ended. On her senior day, senior Larisa Staub scored off a deflection after a set-piece, making the score 2-1 Cardinal.
“It was all a big blur,” Staub said. “Basically I jumped up with the girl and I think I skimmed the ball and it just went in.”
After allowing the goal, Stanford buckled down on defense, holding the score at 2-1 as time expired.
Today marked the Sun Devil’s sixth loss in a row. ASU will close out their season at 3:00 Friday at home against Arizona.