(Photo: Steve Rodriguez/ASU Athletics)
The Arizona State women’s soccer team concluded its rigorous five game road trip tonight, falling to the second ranked UCLA Bruins 3-0.
It was the Sun Devils’ second time in four games taking on the No. 2 ranked team in the country, and UCLA overwhelmed Arizona State from the start.
The Sun Devils back line remained stout throughout the majority of the first half, crowding extra defenders in the box and playing tight, woman-to-woman defense. However, UCLA continued to create tremendous opportunities and pressure on Sun Devil goalkeeper Chandler Morris. The Bruins offense would finally break through in the 17th minute when Ally Courtnall netted her first goal of the season in a shot from the top of the penalty box.
UCLA controlled much of the possession in the first half, and the Sun Devils were incredibly fortunate to only be down 1-0, as they only had two shots on goal.
UCLA squelched any hope the Sun Devils had of a comeback with two quick goals to start the second half. In a brilliant display of physicality and speed, freshman forward Darian Jenkins found the right corner of the net for her ninth goal of the season. Fourteen minutes later, forward Courtney Proctor put UCLA up 3-0 with her second goal of the season. UCLA goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland continued her dominance of Pac-12 opponents, preserving her conference lead in goals against average.
UCLA advanced to 16-1 all-time against the Sun Devils and 9-0 at home. UCLA also added its 10th shutout in 14 games.
After starting off their brutal five game road trip winning two of their first three games, the Sun Devils will go back to Tempe, riding a two game losing streak.
Despite their recent struggles, the remainder of Arizona State’s schedule appears to be favorable in their quest for a NCAA tournament spot. Playing four of their last five at home against teams with a slightly better RPI ranking, head coach Kevin Boyd will look to lead the Sun Devils to the tournament for the fourth time in five years.
Arizona State (8-6-1 overall, 3-3 in the PAC-12) will host Washington and Washington State next weekend at Sun Devils Stadium.