Sun Devil soccer blanks Oregon 4-0
Led by forwards Sierra Cook and Devin Marshall, who scored two goals each, and a stingy defensive effort that allowed only one shot on goal, the Arizona State women's soccer team earned its second Pac-12 victory of the year with a 4-0 win over Oregon.
With the victory the Sun Devils (6-7, 2-3 Pac-12) were able to split the weekend with the Oregon schools after falling to No. 19 Oregon State on Friday night. It was ASU's second win over the Ducks (6-7-1, 1-4 Pac-12) in the last three seasons.
"The truth is our play wasn't that bad on Friday [against Oregon State]," ASU head coach Kevin Boyd said following Sunday's win. "We made a couple mistakes in the back and didn't follow our game plan from the beginning until the end and that was a problem.
"Today we were really clear about what our game plan was and we followed that. Our rhythm of play is pretty good as a whole and so when you add a decent rhythm to actually following the game plan we have a chance and today we stuck some balls away and that made a big difference."
ASU's four goals on Sunday were one more than the aggregate numbers of goals they had scored in their previous seven matches. Decimated by injuries to key offensive players throughout the season, the Sun Devils demonstrated on Sunday that - when at or near full health - they are still capable of being dangerous and explosive on the offensive end.
After missing a combined 22 matches because of injuries, Marhsall (missed seven games/second game back), forward Nicki Stone (missed seven games/fourth game back) and forward Courtney Tinnin (missed eight games/fifth game back) have been easing their way back into action and their presence on the field has provided the ASU attack with a much-needed spark.
On Sunday that spark ignited a flurry of offense and it all began in the 12th minute of the game when midfielder Aissa Sanchez outraced an Oregon defender to the ball, then dribbled into the box and passed to Marshall who tucked the ball just inside the near post to give ASU a 1-0 lead.
The Sun Devils would increase their advantage to 2-0 in the 40th minute when freshman defender Madison Cody's perfectly placed header found Cook as she was breaking toward the goal. Cook beat her defender to the ball and sent her shot high toward the opposite post and over the reach of Duck goalkeeper Abby Steele for her fourth goal of the season.
The Sun Devils did not let up in the second half as Marshall scored her second goal of the game in the 68th minute to give ASU a 3-0 lead. Marshall's goal was the end product of a sequence that began when senior defender Kari Shane just missed scoring with a free kick that she drilled toward the goal. Marshall cleaned up by heading in the rebound which Steele could not reach after diving to the ground in an attempt to save Shane's initial shot.
"It's hard to explain to people what a difference missing five or six starters is," Boyd said. "And then you see last week Nicki [Stone] gets our goal [at Colorado], [Courtney] Tinnin has been making a big difference for us all over the field and then Devin [Marshall] gets back and gets two goals."
Cook would conclude the scoring in the 74th minute with her second goal of the day (assisted by Tinnin and junior forward/defender Alyssa Freeman) to make the final count 4-0
"It was great that Sierra Cook got two goals," said Boyd. "We have been waiting for her to reemerge and so it is nice that she did that."
Alyssa Gillmore recorded one save on her way to posting her fourth shutout of the season.
The Sun Devils return to action on Friday night (7 p.m.) when they host top-ranked Stanford in a game that will be nationally televised by Fox Soccer.
Friday's match will be ASU's annual Pink Out for breast cancer awareness. Fans who wear pink to the game will be admitted for only $3. In addition, Sun Devil Soccer will be retiring the jersey of former Sun Devil Stacey Tullock, who was inducted into the ASU Sports Hall of Fame earlier this month.