(Photo: Scotty Bara/WCSN)
The Arizona State soccer team’s championship dreams were brought to a halt after third-seeded Kentucky defeated the Sun Devils 3-1 in Charlottesville, VA.
This marks the fourth time in history that ASU made it to the second round of the NCAA tournament and lost.
Kentucky midfielder Courtney Raetzman opened the scoring just five minutes into the game.
The Wildcats continued to be the more dominant team for the remainder of the half, outshooting ASU 8 to 2.
“We gave up a goal fairly early, and it just put us on our heels. We had to chase the game from then on out,” ASU head coach Kevin Boyd said.
Even so, only three of the Wild Cats’ shots fell on frame in the first 45 minutes.
Coming into the second half ASU midfielder Whitney Kanavel scored her second goal of the season to make it a 1-1 game. It came in the 49th minute as she found an opening at 25-yard line and drove the ball past Kentucky goalkeeper Taylor Braun.
Kentucky quickly recovered and in the 52nd minute forward Zoe Swift one-timed a through ball from Raetzman past ASU goalkeeper Chandler Morris to give the Kentucky the 2-1 lead.
Just 13 minutes later, forward Cara Ledman scored her third goal of the season and sealed Kentucky’s victory.
Although ASU lost today and has never made it past the second round of the championship, Boyd believes that this year’s experience will give the team the necessary boost it needed to make it farther next year.
“Part of it is gaining experience. This is the first time this group has gone to the second round before,” Boyd said. “Now we’re on second round playground. Next step is to get third round playground. Most times you need experience in order to be able to take that next step.”