ASU women's soccer upsets USC 1-0
Sophomore forward Karin Volpe scored her seventh goal of the season and junior goalkeeper Briana Silvestri made nine saves as the Arizona State women's soccer team upset seventh-ranked and defending national champion USC 1-0 on Sunday afternoon.
In addition to being it being the first Pac-10 win of the season for the Sun Devils (7-4-3, 1-2-0 Pac-10), it was also their first win against a top-10 opponent since 2001 when they defeated then-second-ranked Stanford 1-0 in double overtime. The win over USC (12-2-1, 2-1-1 Pac-10), which came into the match on an 11-game unbeaten streak, took on even more significance given the Sun Devils' current personnel situation. ASU came into the weekend having already lost six players for the season because of injuries. On Sunday they were without another key contributor, junior midfielder Carly Kallas, who was held out because of an injury she sustained in Friday's game against third-ranked UCLA.
"Amidst all that we have been through we found a way to pull out the win," said ASU head coach Kevin Boyd following the match. "I told the team we have had character all year long and that we needed to bring it out and play like a team and [stick to] our game plan the entire game and we did that."
After being allowed to take only five shots in a 3-0 loss to UCLA on Friday, the Sun Devils figured Sunday's game would be similar against a Trojans team that allowed just over seven shots per game. The Sun Devils would end up taking only four shots against USC, however they made one of them count when sophomore Jill Shoquist saw Volpe get behind the USC defense in the game's 17th minute. Volpe was able to get control of the ball just as USC goalkeeper Kristin Olsen tried to make a play on it, then passed Olsen and calmly shot the ball into the net to give ASU a 1 -0 lead.
"We figured our chances would be limited and if we got one we had to be productive," said Boyd. "We did not get that done on Friday, but we got it done today. Good things happen if you can get that first goal.
"Jill played a great ball over the top that held. Their goalkeeper came out after it but because the ball was backspinning it held when it landed and so Karin was able to get there at the same time. The ball bounced loose and she got it into the open net."
Added Volpe, who leads ASU with seven goals, "I saw the keeper coming out and I actually thought I was going to get hit hard, but then I got it passed her and knew I had to be calm and put it away."
After Volpe's goal the Sun Devils would continually find ways to turn the Trojans back time and again in order to protect their slim lead. By game's end the Trojans had amassed 23 shots. Nine times it was Silvestri, who has played injured for much of the season, coming through with a clutch save.
"She has been doing a great job amidst everything that has happened to her body," said Boyd.
Six of Silvestri's nine saves came in the second half as the Trojans started to feel a greater sense of urgency with each passing minute.
"We were just trying to hold on for the win and I was doing all I could to keep them out," said Silvestri, who recorded her sixth shutout of the season on Sunday. "I was getting beat up at the end there, but USC is a very physical team. We knew they were going to come out all game long and so I didn't expect anything less"
After playing the third- (UCLA) and seventh-ranked (USC) teams this weekend the schedule does not get any easier for the Sun Devils when they travel to the Bay Area next weekend to face No. 18 Cal (Fri., 3:30 p.m. PT) and second-ranked Stanford (Sun., 1 p.m. PT).