(Photo: James Powel/WCSN)
The Arizona State women’s soccer team looked to play spoiler Saturday, as they took on (12-3) (4-1) University of Southern California. The Trojans, however, were in no mood to be upset, as they took down the Sun Devils 2-0.
The Sun Devils came in to the match as the underdogs, as they were facing a USC team ranked number six in the country. The Trojans only loss on the conference season thus far came at the hands of the California Golden Bears.
“Coach basically told us they’re a top 10 team and we just have to go out there and try our hardest,” senior forward Larisa Staub said. “Their defense was on our forwards the entire time. We had some good through balls, but they were always right there to scoop them up.”
For ASU, this game was all about having a strong mentality
“I thought our spirit was great, I thought we played hard,” head coach Kevin Boyd said. “Our defending was very very good, early on specifically. We were keeping the ball and trying to create chances.”
ASU weathered the storm early, and showed an unwillingness to be intimated by the visiting Trojans. Crisp passing and in sync play was the theme early for the Devils.
ASU limited USC to only a single shot on goal in the first 30 minutes, which was promptly saved by redshirt junior keeper Megan Delaney at the 8-minute mark.
Chances came at a premium for both teams in the first half, as the first 45 minutes resulted in a stalemate. A failure to execute in the final third plagued the Trojans throughout the game, and contributed to the Trojan’s woes.
“Going into the first half we were really proud of ourselves for keeping it 0-0,” Staub said. “Unfortunately they did end up getting that goal in the 50th minute but the whole time we kept the pressure on them.”
The backline of the Devil’s turned in a first-rate performance, holding strong on any USC break away, closing in on Trojan attackers.
ASU appeared intent on playing defensively as the second half opened, stacking the backfield
The floodgates were finally opened as the Trojans opened up a 1-0 lead in the 58th minute. Redshirt senior forward Katie Johnson finished beautifully, putting away the ball in the top of the net after a pass from forward sophomore Leah Pruitt. The goal was Johnson’s seventh on the year.
“We stopped doing the things we had planned on doing,” Boyd said. “We didn’t keep the ball very much in the attack and we just got a little fatigued I think. They’re good, there’s no getting around it, they’re good. It’s hard when you’re chasing like that when you don’t have as much of the ball.”
A would be USC goal after a perfectly executed through ball in the 70th minute was waved off by an offsides call.
The Trojans put another ball in the net in the 76th minute, this time absent of an offsides flag raised in the air. Senior midfielder Savannah Levin scored for her first time this year after streaking down the field unmarked, making it 2-0 Trojans.
Down, but not out, shots by junior midfielder Aly Moon and freshmen forward Christina Edwards in the 80th and 81st minute respectively were both blocked by the USC defense as the Trojans closed in on the victory.
The Sun Devils will look to get back on track Thursday at 7, as they take on Oregon State in Corvallis.