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Soccer travels to Tucson to take on UA in State Farm Territorial Cup Series

November 04, 2011

Competition in the State Farm Territorial Cup Series resumes on Friday (7 p.m.) when the Arizona State women’s soccer team travels to Tucson, Ariz., to take on the University of Arizona in the season finale for both teams.

The Sun Devils split the weekend against the Washington schools, falling to Washington State 2-1 in double overtime on Friday night before concluding the home schedule with a 1-0 win over Washington on Sunday.

Less than two minutes after having a would-be, game-winning goal called back against the Cougars, the Sun Devils found themselves on the losing end when Washington State freshman midfielder Jocelyn Jeffers connected on a header 7:02 into the second overtime to give Washington State the 2-1 win.

The Sun Devils lost to the Cougars despite putting forth what ASU head coach Kevin Boyd called one of the team’s `better performances’ on Friday night.

Prior to Jeffers’ goal it appeared as though it would be the Sun Devils who would be celebrating in a sequence that began when junior defender Kiara Williams attempted a pass into the box. Williams’ pass was deflected by Cougar defender Rachael Doyle and started to roll towards the end line where ASU sophomore forward Devin Marshall appeared to save it from going out of bounds. Marshall’s attempted save sent the ball back into the box where ASU junior forward Alyssa Freeman connected on a shot into the upper left post to give the Sun Devils what appeared to be the game-winning goal. However it was not to be as officials ruled that the ball went out of bounds before Marshall could get to it and ASU was awarded a corner kick instead of the victory.

After thinking for a split second that they had captured a hard-fought, double-overtime win, the Sun Devils would experience a 180-degree turnaround in emotions less than two minutes later when Jeffers’ goal ended the contest.

The Sun Devils would score first in the 51st minute when sophomore Holland Crook’s corner kick resulted in mad scramble in front of the Washington State net. Freeman’s shot was blocked and deflected to freshman Jessica DeLeon who quickly rebounded with a shot into the net for the goal.

ASU’s lead would be short lived as less than two minutes later Cougar forward Tiara Pittman sent a shot into the far left post to knot the score at 1-1.

The two teams would continue to compete hard over the next 38-plus minutes of regulation before going to overtime for the third time in their last five meetings.

On Sunday senior forward Sierra Cook’s goal with just over 10 minutes remaining in regulation proved to be the game winner as ASU defeated Washington 1-0.

The Sun Devils rang up more than twice as many shots (13-6) as Washington while allowing only two shots on goal as the team recorded its seventh shutout of the season.

ASU outshot the Huskies 9-2 in the first half but was not able to break through for any goals.

The pressure the Sun Devil attack exerted on the Huskies would pay dividends late in the game when junior Alyssa Freeman found Cook breaking free behind the Washington defense. Cook took the pass from Freeman and beat Washington goalkeeper Jorde LaFontaine-Kussman with a shot to the far post for the 11th goal of her career.

Arizona (1-15-2, 1-8-1 Pac-12) has lost its last six contests since capturing its only win of the season, a 1-0 win over Oregon on Oct. 7. Six of Arizona’s 15 losses have been decided by a single goal, including 1-0 setbacks to South Carolina, Oregon State and Missouri.  

• ASU leads the all-time series with Arizona 13-2-1. The Sun Devils were unbeaten in their first 13 meetings with UA before the Wildcats captured their first win in the series in 2008 (2-1 2OT win in Tempe). The Wildcats would also win 2-1 in 2OT in 2009 before the Sun Devils came back to claim a 2-1 win last season in Tempe.
• The Sun Devils set the single-match home attendance record last season when 1,513 fans were on hand to see the Sun Devils defeat Arizona 2-1.

Coming off back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances, ASU was looking to make it three NCAA bids in a row for the first time in school history. Unfortunately for the Sun Devils, a spate of injuries combined with several tough losses has kept them from realizing that goal.

Entering the 2011 season, one of the biggest challenges facing the team was overcoming the loss of its 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 figured 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). Marshall scored in ASU’s season opening win over Northern Arizona (Aug. 19), but sustained an ankle injury two weeks later while assisting on teammate Alexandra Doller’s goal in the first half of ASU’s 3-1 loss at Old Dominion (Sept. 4). Marshall missed ASU’s next seven contests before returning to the lineup against Oregon State (Oct. 7). Marshall’s return gave ASU’s attack an immediate boost as she netted a pair of goals in her second game back against Oregon on Oct. 9. Most recently, Marshall was responsible for helping ASU push USC to overtime as she scored with 38 seconds left in ASU’s eventual 2-1 loss to the Trojans (Oct. 21).

Other returners who have shown the ability to find the back of the net on multiple occasions include senior forward Sierra Cook (11 career goals - 6 in 2011) and redshirt junior forward Courtney Tinnin (4 career goals).

Cook currently leads the Sun Devils in scoring after tying her single-game career-high with a pair of goals in ASU’s 4-0 win over Oregon (Oct. 9). It was Cook’s second two-goal outing of the season as she accomplished the same feat in ASU’s season-opening 7-0 win over Northern Arizona (Aug. 19). Last week Cook notched her sixth goal of the season in ASU’s 1-0 win over Washington.

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. After missing the first eight games of this season rehabbing the injury, Tinnin made her 2011 debut in ASU’s Pac-12 opener at Cal (Sept. 23). It did not taken long for her to make an impact as she recorded her first assist of the season one week after returning to action (assisted on teammate Miah Mollay’s goal in 2-1 loss at Utah on Sept. 30).

Doller, a freshman forward, was ASU’s top offensive performer and was proving to be one of the Pac-12’s top newcomers through the first eight games before suffering a season ending knee injury during the week of preparations leading up to ASU’s game at Cal (Sept. 23). Doller’s five goals led or tied for the team lead until the second to last week of the season.

Another player who was expected to have an impact on the offensive end is redshirt sophomore forward Nicki Stone, who has spent the better part of the last two seasons recovering from knee injuries. Stone began the 2011 season as a starter on ASU’s front line and scored the game-winning goal in ASU’s win over South Carolina on Aug. 28. However Stone would miss ASU’s next seven games because of injury. She returned to action on Sept. 23 and quickly proved to be a difference maker as she drew (and made) a penalty kick in ASU’s 1-0 win at Colorado (Oct. 2). Stone would make it two-for-two on penalty kicks when she scored in the 88th minute of ASU’s 3-1 loss to top-ranked Stanford (Oct. 14).

The ASU midfield figured to be a strength of the team as it returned 2010 All-Pac-10 Second-Team performer Taylor McCarter (has started all 58 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 returned the majority of their starting back line 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.

Gillmore split time with sophomore keeper Vittoria Arnold in the season’s first three contests before Arnold was injured in the first half of ASU’s loss at Virginia (Sept. 2). Gillmore has played every minute of ASU’s last 15 contests as Arnold remains sidelined. Gillmore earned her fifth shutout of the season in ASU’s win over Washington (Oct. 30).

The injury bug would make its way into ASU’s back line in mid-September as sophomore defender Kaitlyn Pavlovich (had started all 27 games in her career) sustained a back injury against Texas Tech and is currently sidelined indefinitely.

The seven goals ASU scored in its shutout 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.

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 17-7-3 at Sun Devil Soccer Stadium since 2009. In addition, the Sun Devils are 15-1-2 in their last 18 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.

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 (out for the season with a knee injury) is second on the team in goals with 5.

On August 9, former Sun Devil Soccer player Stacey Tullock became the first soccer player to be named to the ASU Sports Hall of Fame. Tullock is Arizona State’s all-time leader in goals (50), game-winning goals (25), assists (19) and total points (125). In 1998, she became the school’s first All-American selection, awarded by Soccer Buzz. Tullock was officially inducted into the ASU Sports Hall of Fame during halftime of the ASU-Oregon State football game on Oct. 1. Her jersey was retired prior to ASU’s match against top-ranked Stanford on Oct. 14.