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Women's soccer edges South Carolina


August 29, 2011

Nicki Stone's first career goal combined with a strong defensive effort proved to be enough for the Arizona State women's soccer team, Aug. 28, as the Sun Devils came away with a 1-0 win over South Carolina.

The Sun Devils improved to 2-0 giving them their third consecutive 2-0 start. In addition, the Sun Devils also extended their home unbeaten streak against non-conference opponents to 16 games (14-0-2) in a stretch that dates back to the 2008 season.

"We are 2-0 and that is the main thing," ASU head coach Kevin Boyd said following the match. "We found a way to win against a good team. I expect [South Carolina] to be in the playoffs again."

Sunday's contest was a physical one as the intensity on the field (26 combined fouls - 14 for ASU and 12 for SC) was on par with the 105-degree heat at Sun Devil Soccer Stadium.

Neither team was able to put together any dangerous scoring threats in the first half as the two squads combined for only five shots (3 by ASU and 2 by SC)).

The stalemate would finally be broken in the 60th minute when senior defender Kari Shane's free kick deflected off South Carolina's keeper and Stone was there for the quick rebound to put ASU up 1-0.

"I like that we got the goal by following a shot [because] that is something that we talked a lot about and it is good to be rewarded for it," Boyd said. "[Nicki Stone] is one of our smartest players. She is a player who figures out a way to scheme and solve things and for her to get that in there, I'm just thrilled for her."

The win was not without its share of drama, however, as the Sun Devils had to stave off a last-second attempt by South Carolina (2-2) to tie the game. Fortunately for the Sun Devils, Sunday's game was not contested on the hardwood or the gridiron or they may have found themselves going to overtime. As it turned out, the over-the-shoulder shot by South Carolina's Danielle Au looped its way into the goal after time expired and thus ASU was the winner.

For the second consecutive week Sun Devil goalkeepers Vittoria Arnold and Alyssa Gillmore combined to give ASU the shutout. It represents the first time since 2001 that the Sun Devils have put together back-to-back shutouts to open the season. The Sun Devils make their first road trip of the season next week when they travel east to take on Virginia (Fri., Sept. 2 - 7 p.m. ET) and Old Dominion (Sun., Sept. 4 - 1 p.m. ET).