(Photo: Steve Rodriguez/ASU athletics)
The Sun Devil soccer team’s arduous non-conference schedule continues as they take on Illinois and Kansas for this weekend’s Sun Devil Classic tournament.
Last weekend, the Sun Devils (2-1) split both of their games in their Texas road trip. On Friday they lost to No. 19 Texas A&M 3-1, but they were able to avenge that loss with a 3-1 win of their own over Stephen F. Austin.
“It was good and bad. We needed a split, which we got, and we’re still on track,” head coach Kevin Boyd said. “I was really happy in the way that we performed Sunday. For us to get a result like that – apparently we’re the first team to beat [Stephen F. Austin] at home in three years- I was really happy with that.”
Forward Cali Farquharson continues to lead the team with four goals on the season. However, Boyd acknowledged that the rest of the offense needs to step up.
“I don’t think we’ve done enough [offensively]. I think we need more out of Holland Crook, Sarah Tosti and Devin Marshall. I don’t think that they’ve been giving us enough yet. I’m not faulting their effort, because their effort has been good. But they’re not performing at their ability level,” Boyd said. “They need to put themselves in better spots.”
Boyd said they are still trying to work out some kinks during practice, especially their offensive efficiency.
“We’ve been focusing a lot on set pieces, and continuing to develop our game. Our attack still needs work. I don’t think we’re dynamic enough,” Boyd said.
The Sun Devils’ first game of the tournament is Friday night against Illinois (3-1). The Fighting Illini lost their first game of the season to Notre Dame by a score of 4-1. However, since that game they have won three straight, and have outscored opponents 16-7.
“They have a very dynamic, dangerous and potent attack… It’s going to be a challenge. They have a spectacular attacking center mid in Vanessa DiBernardo. She’s a great player, and she’s someone we’re going to have to pay attention to,” Boyd said.
The Sun Devils will go into Sunday’s game against Kansas with some familiarity. Both teams squared off last season and ended up tying 2-2.
“We saw them a year ago. They’re very similar to us. They have a similar style and system. They will be a good team, good on possession, sound everywhere and very well coached,” Boyd said. “They’ve got a forward that’s quite dynamic – they’ve got pace on their front line. They also have a center mid that’s very good on the ball.”
If the Sun Devils were to win both games in the tournament, they would likely be ranked in the top 25. Boyd ultimately wants to see his team perform at their highest level.
“I want to see us keep getting better. I would like to see us more dangerous in the attack. I would like to see us a little tighter on defense, not giving up chances. Above all, I want to see us play for 90 minutes, and stay focused the whole time, and not have any ebbs and flows,” Boyd said.
- Sun Devil forward Jessica Dominechelli was injured in the Texas roadtrip. “It’s not looking good,” Boyd said.
- The Sun Devils received five top-25 votes this week.