Soccer hosts Sun Devil Desert Classic
Coming off its first road trip of the season, the Arizona State women’s soccer team returns home this week to host the Sun Devil Desert Classic, which will also include Arizona, Missouri and Oklahoma.
The Sun Devils kick off the weekend Sept. 9 when they host Oklahoma at 4:30 p.m. ASU’s game will follow the first game of the afternoon between Arizona and Missouri, which will begin at 2 p.m. Then on Sept. 11, the Sun Devils will close out the weekend when they take on Missouri at 1:30 p.m. Arizona and Oklahoma will kick off Sunday’s doubleheader when they play at 11 a.m.
Admission on Sept. 9 will be free for both games.
RECAP OF LAST WEEK
Making their first road trip of the season, the Sun Devils had a tough weekend in the state of Virginia, dropping matches to No. 4 Virginia (3-0 on Friday) and Old Dominion (3-1 on Sunday).
Virginia scored two goals in the first 12:23 of the game to claim the early advantage. On the second goal Sun Devil goalkeeper Vittoria Arnold was unable to get herself in position to make the save after being kicked in the face while trying to secure a loose ball. Arnold left the game injured and did not play the rest of the weekend.
The Sun Devils were outshot by Virginia 20-7, including an 8-3 advantage in shots on goal. Freshman Alexandra Doller led ASU with five shots.
On Sunday the Sun Devils were unable to overcome a three-goal first half by Old Dominion in dropping their second straight game.
Doller’s third goal of the season (assisted by Devin Marshall) tied the score at 1-1 in the 32nd minute, however the Lady Monarchs would put away two more goals before the half.
Doller led ASU for the second straight game, taking six of ASU’s 12 shots.
Gillmore made seven saves on the weekend for ASU.
SETTING THE SCENE FOR 2011
Coming off back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances, the Sun Devils will be looking to make it three NCAA bids in a row for the first time in school history. In order to do that ASU will have to overcome the challenge of losing their top two scorers from last season (and two of the top 10 scorers in school history) – Karin Volpe (No. 6 all time – 65 points, 28 goals) and Alexandra Elston (No. 9 all time – 48 points, 18 goals) – to graduation.
One player who figures to help the Sun Devils fill the aforementioned offensive void is sophomore forward Devin Marshall, who was named to the Pac-10 All-Freshman Team last season after finishing third on the team in scoring (10 points) and tied for first in assists (4). Other returners who have shown the ability to find the back of the net on multiple occasions include redshirt junior forward Sierra Cook (7 career goals) and redshirt junior Courtney Tinnin (4 career goals). Tinnin, who led ASU in assists in 2009 with six, did not play in 2010 due to a knee injury sustained in the spring of 2010. Tinnin is still rehabbing the injury and has yet to play in 2011.
The ASU midfield figures to be a strength of the team as it returns 2010 All-Pac-10 Second-Team performer Taylor McCarter (has started all 44 career games) and sophomore Holland Crook, who started 14 of 20 contests last season and had a strong offseason according to Sun Devil head coach Kevin Boyd.
The Sun Devils return the majority of their starting backline from last season in addition to junior goalkeeper Alyssa Gillmore, who came into the season with 30 consecutive starts. Last season Gillmore posted five shutouts, including one of eventual College Cup participant Ohio State.
Thus far in 2011 Gillmore has split time in goal with sophomore Vittoria Arnold.
SUN DEVIL SOCCER TIES SCHOOL RECORD IN SEASON OPENING WIN
The seven goals ASU scored in its 7-0 win over Northern Arizona on August 19 tied the single-game school record for most goals. The original record was set and then equaled in consecutive weeks by the 2000 squad, which defeated Pittsburgh 7-0 on Sept. 10, 2000 and then followed that up with a 7-0 win over Eastern Michigan on Sept. 17.
Both Sierra Cook and Alexandra Doller scored a pair of goals against NAU. Also finding the back of the net for the Sun Devils were Jasmine Roth, Devin Marshall and Sarah Van Horn. Holland Crook assisted on a pair of ASU’s goals.
NOTES ON OKLAHOMA AND MISSOURI
• Oklahoma won both of its contests last week (home wins vs. Oral Roberts and Missouri State) to end a three-game slide. Two of Oklahoma’s three losses have come to ranked opponents -- No. 19 Tennessee and No. 4 Oklahoma State. Junior forward Caitlin Mooney was named the Big 12 Soccer Offensive Player of the Week after scoring seven points (two goals and three assists) in last week’s wins.
• The Sooners were victorious in the only prior meeting, winning 1-0 in Tempe in 2004.
• Sunday’s game will be the first ever meeting between the Sun Devils and Tigers.
• Since dropping a 2-1 decision at No. 20 San Diego to start the season, Missouri has gone on a five-game winning streak, including a 1-0 win against previously No. 7 Ohio State. Eight different Tigers have scored goals this season with a trio of players leading the way with three goals each.
One of the biggest factors in ASU’s success the last two-plus seasons has been its ability to get off to good starts to open the season. Including the first four games of 2011, the Sun Devils are 15-5-4 in August and September games since 2009.
Last season the Sun Devils began with a 6-0-1 record, which represented the second-longest unbeaten streak to start the season in school history. The only ASU team to have a longer streak was the 2000 squad, which began the season 9-0-0.
HOME SWEET HOME
The Sun Devils have made the most of their opportunities to play in front of their home crowd the last two-plus seasons as they are a combined 14-3-3 at Sun Devil Soccer Stadium since 2009. In addition, the Sun Devils are 14-0-2 in their last 16 non-conference games at home, a stretch which goes back to the 2008 season.
ASU’s seven home wins in 2009 tied the second-highest number of home wins in program history. Last season the Sun Devils established a new single-game attendance record when 1,513 fans poured into Sun Devil Soccer Stadium for ASU’s 2-1 State Farm Territorial Cup Series win over Arizona on October 15. The old record was 1,505 which came against Notre Dame in 2004.
DOLLER TIES FRESHMAN RECORD
Alexandra Doller’s two goals vs. Northern Arizona tied the school record for the most goals by a freshman in a season opener. Also accomplishing the feat was former Sun Devil Brittney Doty, who scored a pair of goals in ASU’s season opening win at UC Irvine in 2006.
Doller currently leads the Sun Devils in goals after notching her third of the season in last Sunday’s contest at Old Dominion.
As has been the case in recent years, the Sun Devils will play one of the toughest schedules in the country. The Sun Devils will face seven teams in 2011 who were ranked in the NSCAA Preseason Top 25 (five of those seven squads reside in the Pac-12 Conference).
Aug. 28 – vs. South Carolina (#21 preseason)
Sept. 2 – at Virginia (#10 preseason)
Oct. 7 – vs. Oregon State (#19 preseason)
Oct. 14 – vs. Stanford (#2 preseason)
Oct. 21 – at USC (#25 preseason)
Oct. 23 – at UCLA (#16 preseason)
Oct. 30 – vs. Washington (#20 preseason)
TULLOCK BECOMES FIRST SUN DEVIL SOCCER HALL OF FAMER
On Aug. 9, former Sun Devil Soccer player Stacey Tullock became the first ever soccer player to be named to the ASU Sports Hall of Fame. Tullock is Arizona State’s all-time leader in goals (44), game-winning goals (15), assists (19) and total points (107). In 1998, she became the school’s first All-American selection, awarded by Soccer Buzz.