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TEMPE – In the immediate aftermath of the Arizona State women’s soccer team’s 2-2 tie versus Colorado on Friday night, Sun Devil head coach Kevin Boyd couldn’t hide the disappointment he and his team were experiencing.
“We did everything we could,” said Boyd of his team’s effort to upend Colorado. “It’s not the result we wanted – we wanted a win and we went after it the whole time – but we had to play against a whole lot tonight.”
After going scoreless in their previous four games, the Sun Devils (8-7-2, 3-4-2 Pac-12) scored two goals on Friday and had a third one nullified by an infraction.
Despite falling behind 1-0 early in the game, ASU fought back to tie the game in the final minute of the first half before taking the lead in the 53rd minute.
Playing hard on both ends of the field, the Sun Devils were in strategic command of the game until the 71st minute when a foul – one of 11 ASU was whistled for in the second half – was called on ASU in the box on a free kick that sailed out of play. The Buffaloes (12-4-2, 4-3-2 Pac-12) were awarded a penalty kick, which they successfully converted, and suddenly the game was tied at 2-2.
“I thought my team battled some adverse conditions tonight,” explained Boyd. “We went down 1-0 and came back and got a goal and then went ahead… Our team was utterly frustrated (at the end of the game) and I think they had every right to be.”
Although the Sun Devils were called for more than twice as many fouls as Colorado (15-7) and issued five yellow cards, Boyd encouraged his team to continue going after the win that would help strengthen its case for a postseason bid.
“All I could say to our team was we have to play through these conditions,” said Boyd. “We have to focus on playing and finding a win.”
Despite the unstable atmosphere, ASU would not let up in its attack as it took twice as many shots as the Buffaloes in the two overtime periods. In the end, however, the Sun Devils were not able to find the goal that would give them the victory.
“We were terrific tonight,” said Boyd. “I thought we were great in lots of different ways. We played hard, we were passionate, and we created really good chances. I really liked what we did and I thought we were the better side the whole time.”
After a slow offensive start for both teams (Colorado led ASU 2-0 in shots the first 15 minutes), the Buffaloes struck first when sophomore midfielder Madison Krauser dribbled in from 18 yards out and put the ball right through ASU goalkeeper Chandler Morris’ hands.
“She is obviously disappointed with that first goal because that’s completely uncharacteristic of her,” said Boyd. “This is the first direct keeper error goal of the year for her. Anytime you have one or fewer (errors), that’s a really good year for a goalkeeper.”
As the final minute of the first frame ticked away it appeared the Sun Devils would be going to halftime facing a deficit until freshman defender Larisa Staub was fouled outside the box. Senior midfielder Blair Alderson took the ensuing free kick for the Sun Devils, lofting the ball right in front of the goal and into a mix of ASU and Colorado players. ASU senior defender Kaitlyn Pavlovich sprung into the air and headed the ball right past Buffaloes goalkeeper Annie Brunner, tying the game at 1-1 with 35 seconds remaining in the half.
After helping to ignite the ASU offense with her assist on Pavlovich’s goal, Alderson would have a more direct role in ASU’s attack a little more than seven minutes into the second half. Off of a well-placed ball from sophomore forward Cali Farquharson, Alderson drilled the ball right between the Buffaloes keeper and the far post to put the Sun Devils up 2-1.
“Blair had a great goal, and had a couple of other good chances,” said Boyd. “She’s been playing well. I felt like there was a fire lit under her today. I really thought she was there to play. I thought this was one of her best performances ever for us.”
The Devils would remain in the lead until Colorado junior midfielder Darcy Jerman knocked in the aforementioned penalty kick at the 70:04 mark to knot the contest at 2-2.
Although the Devils were pressing the attack for much of the game (they had a 24-13 advantage on shots), there were moments where they averted danger in the second half and overtime thanks to the play of Morris, who had six saves in the game.
“Chandler made a save in the second half that was absolutely spectacular,” said Boyd. “I thought the ball was going in for sure. It was far post low, it was driven, and she got across and parried it wide. That was a big-time save.”
Friday’s game was the third time ASU and Colorado have met while both members of the Pac-12. The Sun Devils won by one-goal margins each of the last two seasons, winning 1-0 in Boulder, Colo., in 2011 and coming through with a dramatic 2-1 double-overtime win last year in which Farquharson scored the game-winner with 22 seconds remaining.
The Sun Devils close out the home portion of their 2013 season on Sunday when they host Utah at noon MT (live on Pac-12 Networks). Sunday’s game will be the final at home for seniors Alderson, Holland Crook, Devin Marshall, Pavlovich, Rachael Ritter and Jasmine Roth. All six seniors will be recognized in a ceremony prior to the game.