[Photo: James Powel/WCSN]
The Arizona State Women’s soccer team (6-4-2, 1-2-1 Pac-12) picked up its first win of Pac-12 play Thursday with a 3-2 win in two overtimes against Washington (5-7-1, 0-4 Pac-12).
The Huskies were the clear assailant in the first 25 minutes of the game.
They only led 1-0 in the shots and shots on goal departments to that point, but had the clear majority of possession in that time frame.
Washington repeatedly sent in crosses deep into the box, testing freshman goalkeeper Emma Malsy once or twice but to no avail.
In the 20th-30th minutes, ASU started to ramp up the pressure on the Husky defense, and got the game’s first goal in the 28th minute.
The goal by junior midfielder Aly Moon was set up on a smooth pass from senior midfielder Lucy Lara.
Moon finessed the pass well inside the box, deked out a defender, and took a beautiful bending shot from close range that curled inside the right post. The goal, however, ended up being the only dangerous scoring chance from the Sun Devils in the first half.
In fact, Malsy and the ASU defense had problems with a couple of long lead passes by Washington late in the half.
One got past Malsy in the 40th minute, as she mistimed the pass and found herself awkwardly diving late and failing to stop a shot that rolled past her from the top right of the box.
In a similar situation four minutes later, Malsy ran out to the top of the box again, this time successfully clearing the pass on a desperate slide tackle, preserving the 1-1 tie going into the break.
This marked the third game in a row in which the Sun Devils surrendered a goal in the last six minutes of the first half.
The struggles for the ASU defense continued into the second half. Washington got a couple of crosses deep into the box, one of which just missed the head of the attacker, and the other was volleyed just wide right.
But these chances foreshadowed the go-ahead goal by the Huskies in the 53rd minute. Junior forward Shannon Simon headed home a beautiful cross right in front of Emma Malsy to put the Huskies in front.
ASU tried to counter the goal with some offensive pressure of their own, but ran into problems stringing together passes in the Washington box. Such problems were reminiscent of the last three games, in which ASU only mustered one goal in total.
However, ASU gained offensive momentum after a Washington goal was called off in the 62nd minute. After ASU’s chance to win the game flashed before its eyes on the goal callback, the momentum appeared to swing their way.
ASU started to dominate possession in the offensive zone, and continuously tried its luck with crosses and through passes.d
In the 87th minute, it paid off. Aly Moon’s shot from just inside the top left of the box bounced off the goalkeeper and landed in the space behind her. Senior forward Larisa Staub split two Husky defenders to the deflected ball and slammed it home to even the score.
The Sun Devils played most of the remaining three minutes in the attacking zone, ending regulation strong.
In overtime, ASU started off controlling the tempo, possessing the ball and getting two decent chances early in the extra session.
However, Washington caught a second wind and swung the momentum to their favor in the second half of overtime, and early in the second overtime.
Their best chance to win came on a cross into the box that was volleyed by a Husky defender just right of the post.
Two minutes later, the Sun Devils executed on a prime offensive chance. Larisa Staub found senior forward Lucy Lara on a pass into the center of the box, and Lara fed sophomore forward Natalie Stephens who was charging up the right wing. Stephens simultaneously slid for the ball when junior Husky goalkeeper Sarah Shimer tried to cover it, and as it trickled past her a desperate attempt by a Husky defender to clear the ball bounced off junior midfielder Madison Kmetko and in for the game-winner.
While the goal itself was lucky, the passing to set up the chance was well executed and better reflected coach Boyd’s strategy of getting scoring chances in more dangerous areas as a result of better passing, as opposed to taking long shots.
The Sun Devils will take the field in the evergreen state once more, as they head to Pullman to face Washington State Sunday at 11:00 a.m. The game will be televised and streamed live on Pac-12 Networks.