COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The Arizona State women’s soccer team dropped its first contest of the season, falling to No. 19 Texas A&M 3-1 on Friday night.
The loss snapped a six-game, regular season unbeaten streak (5-0-1) for the Sun Devils, who closed last season with a 4-0-1 record.
Coming off an impressive 2-0 win in their season opener against Cal State Northridge last week, the Sun Devils (1-1) were looking forward to seeing how they would compete against one of the country’s top 20 teams.
Statistically speaking, ASU was up to the challenge early on as it had 2-0 advantages in both shots and corner kicks over the first 14-plus minutes of the game.
The Aggies (2-1) made the most of their first scoring opportunity when Kelley Monogue got an open look from the top of the box and slipped the ball into the near left post to give Texas A&M a 1-0 lead in the 18th minute.
Less than four minutes later Texas A&M would extend its lead when an attempted clearance by the Sun Devils ricocheted off Aggie Liz Keester. The ball took a fortuitous bounce in the opposite direction, setting Keester up with a one-on-one situation, which she successfully converted to give the Aggies a 2-0 advantage.
By the end of the half, the Aggies had doubled the Sun Devils in both shots (8-4) and corner kicks (4-2).
“We got outplayed in the first half,” said ASU head coach Kevin Boyd. “We didn’t play fast enough and we were on our heels. We came out timid and tried to feel out the game and that’s not what we should have been doing. We had two errors and in a game like this you can’t do that. Credit to [Texas A&M]. They scored two good goals with well-placed shots, but we can’t give those away.”
The Sun Devils started the second half looking more like the team that controlled the action in last week’s win. With a renewed sense of purpose ASU was poised to pounce on any opportunity that would allow it to get back into the game. That moment would come in the 52nd minute when Cali Farquharson intercepted what looked to be a routine pass back to Aggie goalkeeper Jordan Day. Farquharson, who had not yet turned up field, reacted quickly enough to beat Day to the ball. After poking the ball with her right foot she was able to maintain her balance after colliding with Day, then calmly sent the ball into the empty net to cut Texas A&M’s lead to 2-1.
Over the next several minutes it was the Sun Devils who were on the attack, looking for the equalizer that would make it a brand new game. Devin Marshall, Mackenzie Semerad and Holland Crook each attempted to tie the game, but were not able to find the back of the net.
The Sun Devils would soon find themselves back on their heels as the Aggies’ attack once again found its stride. A pair of brilliant saves by Chandler Morris kept ASU within striking distance, however the Aggies’ assault would eventually put the game out of reach. In the 84th minute Allie Bailey received a service a short distance from the Sun Devil goal and connected to put Texas A&M back up 3-1.
“In the second half we came out with a revived idea of who we were and what we were doing,” explained Boyd. “We got a fortunate goal when Cali picked their goalkeeper, but we didn’t do enough. If we had played the first half like we played in the second half then it would have been a much closer game. But the better team won tonight.”
Marshall led ASU with three shots, including two on goal. Morris made five saves for the Sun Devils, who were outshot 16-11 for the game by the Aggies.
The Sun Devils close out their road trip to the state of Texas on Sunday when they take on Stephen F. Austin. Game time is 11:30 a.m. CT/9:30 a.m. PT.