(WCSN/ Liesl Babicka)
The Territorial Cup will go back to Tucson after Arizona State dropped its seventh game in a row to its rival the University of Arizona.
ASU got the game’s first shot on goal in the 6th minute. Freshman forward Olivia Hernandez dribbled to the side of a defender and ripped a hard ground ball from high in the box that was saved by sophomore goalie Lainey Burdett.
Arizona responded with three shots on goal in a ten-minute span between minutes fourteen and twenty-four, all of which were saved by junior goalie Megan Delaney.
The Devils got another dangerous shot on goal in the 31st minute. Natalie Stephens sent a ball in to junior forward Jessica Raybe who fired a shot off. Burdett was able to make a diving save to keep the game even.
The closest ASU came to scoring was in the 42nd minute on a thirty-yard free-kick by senior midfielder Lucy Lara. The shot glanced high off the left post, and Arizona cleared the rebound.
The high-action first half finished scoreless, with the advantage in shots going to Arizona 7-5, and 4-2 on goal.
“We went into the locker room with our heads held high,” senior defender McKenzie Grossman said. “We played them to the half, we played well, we were right up there, we were winning first and second balls so we just had the same kind of idea coming out in the second half.”
After an uneventful first nineteen minutes of the second half, the Wildcats made the first move.
Junior defender Madison Stark cleared a dangerous cross by kicking it above the goal, nearly scoring an own goal.
Unfortunately for the Devils, that was a sign of what was about to come, as freshman defender Samantha Falasco headed the ensuing corner kick inside the far post on a bounce to put Arizona up 1-0.
ASU nearly responded four minutes later, as a cross briefly stayed loose in the box for the Devils, and senior defender Mckenzie Grossman got a foot on the ball very close to the net, but it was just wide of the left post.
The teams traded possession and a shot over the next ten minutes, and ASU got the best chance they would see for the rest of the game in the 79th minute.
Junior forward Jessica Raybe caught up with a long forward pass into the box, but settled for a weak one-touch shot on goal instead of settling the ball and taking a stronger shot.
ASU kept up the offensive pressure in the last ten minutes, forcing three corner kicks and keeping possession deep in the attacking zone.
However, the only shot on goal for ASU in that timespan was a soft header by freshman forward Christina Edwards in the 88th minute.
The Sun Devils came close to scoring on a corner-kick in the game’s waning seconds, but it was kicked wide left as the clock ran out on their season.
“Obviously ending like that sucks,” said an emotional Lara. “I’m going to miss these girls so much, and I’m going to miss everything about ASU, and it’s just a lot for me right now.”
Head coach Kevin Boyd reflected on what has been a rough stretch of Pac-12 play to finish the season.
“It’s the same script over and over,” said coach Boyd. “We play hard, we play well, we create the best chances and we lose the game because we don’t score on any of those chances.”
ASU finishes the season with a seven goal losing streak and a 6-11-2 overall record.