Soccer edges Pacific
The Arizona State women's soccer team closed out the non-conference portion of its schedule with a 1-0 win over Pacific at the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort Cats Classic hosted by the University of Arizona.
With the win the Sun Devils (4-4) snapped a two-game losing streak after failing to score in back-to-back losses to Missouri (1-0) last Sunday and Texas Tech (5-0) on Friday.
Already down two starters on the front line - sophomore Devin Marshall and redshirt sophomore Nicki Stone - and missing goalkeeper Vittoria Arnold, who split time with Alyssa Gillmore in the season's first three games, the injury-plagued Sun Devils were down another starter on Sunday as sophomore defender Kaitlyn Pavlovich was sidelined after being injured in Friday's game.
With all that going against them the Sun Devils still found a way to win against a Pacific squad (5-4), which came into Sunday's contest on a four-match winning streak. In addition, the Tigers had not allowed a goal during that stretch.
"We showed a lot of guts and worked hard," ASU head coach Kevin Boyd said following Sunday's win. "To have [a loss like] we had Friday night where we didn't perform in the second half and when everything that could go wrong did go wrong... To be down multiple starters and then to come out and play like this today and find a way to win is great credit to the team's character.
"I thought we had better leadership [on Sunday]. We were [communicating] a lot better [on the field] and the team was focused on what we were trying to do. When you do all that you have a chance to win any game."
For the game, the Sun Devils were outshot 14-8 and had four fewer corner kicks than the Tigers (5-1).
The two teams played to a scoreless tie in the first half. The Sun Devils outshot Pacific 6-5 and had the most dangerous scoring threats of the half, including one in the closing minutes when forward Sierra Cook's shot hit the cross bar.
In the second half it was the Tigers who were more aggressive on offense as they had a plus-seven advantage in shots (9-2).
Sunday's game was playing out similar to last week's match against Missouri when neither team was able to score until an 88th-minute goal by the Tigers gave them the 1-0 win.
On Sunday it was the Sun Devils who would prevail in a similar manner as it appeared they were headed for overtime with Pacific until Alexandra Doller came through in the 86th minute with her team-leading fifth goal of the season to give the Sun Devils the eventual 1-0 win.
"We had the two best [scoring] chances in the first half and [Pacific] probably had the best two, maybe three chances in the second half," Boyd said. "And then towards the end, Ali got a chance in the box and she absolutely ripped it home on a high volley. It was a spectacular goal."
The Sun Devils would clamp down defensively the rest of the way, holding off the Tigers' last-minute attempts to send the game to overtime.
It was the fourth shutout of the season for the Sun Devils and the second for Gillmore, who was credited with one save and was extremely active throughout the contest in preventing the Tigers from scoring.
Doller, Cook and Holland Crook tied for the team lead with two shots each.
The Sun Devils return to action at 4 p.m, PT, Sept. 23, when they open up Pac-12 play at California.