(Photo: James Powel/WCSN)
The Arizona State Women’s soccer team continued their winning ways Friday night, taking down the Titans of Cal State Fullerton 2-0 in their non-conference play finale.
ASU looked to build on the momentum they gained in their last game, dispatching Northern Illinois 3-0.
The Titans were coming off a 1-0 loss to another Pac-12 team in Oregon, and looked to flip the script against the Devils.
Neither team was able to break the stale mate early, with both squads struggling to take control.
Four fouls in the first 15 minutes by the Titans gave ASU some chances off of free kicks. However, some stellar defense by Cal State Fullerton broke up the opportunities. The Titan’s backline held strong, stifling ASU’s runs.
A key lucky break went the Devil’s way in the 22nd minute, with redshirt senior midfielder Lucy Lara scoring thanks to some good fortune. Lara’s shot deflected off Fullerton’s keeper Jennifer Stuart and trickled into the net to give ASU a 1-0 lead.
“I honestly don’t know how it even happened,” Lara said. “I literally didn’t think it was going to go in.”
Both teams played physically on defense throughout the first half, resulting in a Jamie Salas yellow card in the 42nd minute. The first period ended quietly, with neither teams getting many chances as the minutes winded down.
“If I see someone sprinting back and I’m the closest one there I’m obviously going to go help her out,” Lara said.”I feel like we all have that mentality of having each other’s backs.”
The Sun Devils struck early in the second half, with sophomore midfielder Adriana Orozco scoring two minutes in. The goal came off a beautiful assist from sophomore forward Natalie Stephens.
I think putting us up gave us a confidence boost, Orozco said. “The game could still go either way and another goal really brought up the energy of the team.”
Shortly after, Stephens almost made it 3-0 Devils, chipping a shot over the opposing keeper’s head that deflected off the far post.
All eyes were once again on freshman goalkeeper Emma Malsy, as she looked for her second shutout in as many games.
“I kind of take each game the same, Malsy said. “Going in with a positive mindset, focusing on my little things, the technique and making sure I’m solid behind the ball.”
ASU had more energy than their opponents in the second period overall, winning more balls and creating more chances
“We needed more of a test and today we got a better test,” head coach Kevin Boyd said. “I thought the battle was excellent and it prepared us more for conference. Now we go into UCLA and we know what that’s like.
The Devils will look to continue their winning ways at UCLA in Los Angeles on Thursday as they open up Pac-12 play.