(Photo: Nicholas Badders/WCSN)
Not willing to go down without a fight, the Arizona State women’s soccer team played until the final moments of Friday night’s game but ultimately fell to Hawaii 1-0 in overtime.
Freshman keeper Nikki Panas performed well, as she dove for shots and took risky chances to come out of the net and boot the ball back to ASU’s waiting forwards. Panas ended the night with a total of nine saves.
“She’s done a great job and she really is a commanding presence back there,” senior defender Madison Stark said.
Head coach Graham Winkworth had nothing but words of praise for his goalie as well. “She’s one of the best goalkeepers in the country,” said Winkworth. “I’ll say it time and time again, she’s a fantastic keeper.”
Forward Jemma Purfield and midfielder Kylie Miniefield brought a strong offensive presence to the field as well, as Purfield led with five shots and Miniefield with three. Both players took advantage of every opportunity to rush the net and pressure Hawaii’s keeper.
While the Sun Devil offense dominated ball control in their attacking third, the Arizona State defense held down the fort in their back field as they continuously snubbed the Rainbow Wahine’s chances of scoring to keep the game tied 0-0.
ASU’s defensive backs got physical with Hawaii and played aggressively from the start, giving very few opportunities to sneak past the back line. The Devils ended the night with fourteen fouls, whereas Hawaii claimed three fouls and a yellow card.
“I couldn’t have played well if my team didn’t back me up on some of them,” said goalie Nikki Panas.
Unfortunately for the Devils, no one was able to find the back of the net and the team was forced to extra time for the fourth game this season.
“We had enough chances, we’ve just got to have a little bit more composure in front of the goal,” mentioned Winkworth. “We’ve got to do better in that final third.”
Freshman forward Olive Jones led the pack to challenge Hawaii’s defense at the start of overtime, as the Sun Devils connected short passes and maintained ball possession.
However, Hawaii’s moment came in the 96th minute, as the referees continued play after a questionable handball not called. Angled perfectly to hit the bottom right corner, Raisa Strom-Okimoto ended the game with her signature golden goal in overtime.
“It’s all about who wants it more,” said Stark after the match. Reflected by the score, Hawaii outshot Arizona State 20-19 to claim their 1-0 victory.
After a tough defeat, the Devils will look to rebound from the loss on Sunday in Tempe against Weber State. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.