April 25, 2013
After concluding the 2012 regular season with a five-game unbeaten streak (4-0-1), the Arizona State women's soccer team continued its winning ways in the spring as the Sun Devils recently completed their spring season with a perfect 9-0 record.
ASU head coach Kevin Boyd came away pleased with his team as it outscored the opposition a combined 22-5 in the nine games, and recorded six shutouts along the way.
"Credit to the team," Boyd said. "I don't think we've ever had a spring where we didn't have a loss or a tie. One thing we felt good about entering spring was our ability to score and that proved to be true. When you can score goals you are going to be pretty good."
While Boyd noted that what happens in the spring doesn't decide what happens in the fall, he said it can be a hint of what is to come.
"I think the spring can be an indicator and all the indications are really good for us," Boyd said. "I think we feel good that we can score and while we did not necessarily outplay our opponents in every game I like that we still found ways to win."
Devin Marshall, who scored nine goals last season despite missing nearly six games due to injury, showed why she will likely be the most dangerous scoring threat on the field in every game the Sun Devils play next season. In the last six spring games alone, Marshall had seven goals including a hat trick in ASU's 4-0 win over UC Riverside.
"Devin is an incredible scorer," Boyd said. "She was head and shoulders above everyone we played this spring."
While the Sun Devils have had a number of brilliant offensive players in Boyd's six seasons at ASU, they have never has as many on one team as what they figure to have in 2013. Marshall, who will enter her senior year in 10th place on ASU's all-time career goals list, is one of multiple Sun Devils who will be a consistent threat to find the back of the net next season. Others include Cali Farquharson, who led the team with 10 goals last season on her way to Pac-12 All-Freshman honors; Sara Tosti, who was moved to the front line this spring, her natural spot, after starting on the back line as a freshman in 2012.
"We have had a number of game changers over the years, but we have not had as many on the front line and now we have two in Devin and Cali," Boyd said. "Now we are seeing some really nice attacking from the players around them. Holland scored a number of goals for us on set pieces this spring and Sara proved that she could be dangerous on the front line for us, too."
At the outset of spring workouts, Boyd talked about wanting to see improvement from the Sun Devils' back line. With the exception of a few sequences, Boyd felt good about ASU's defensive play during the spring season.
"Overall I thought out back line and holding mids did a nice job of keeping the other team out," Boyd said. "I still think we gave up too many opportunities and so we still have more work to do, but giving up only five goals in nine games is still pretty good."
Boyd said that having a number of experienced players returning on the back line allowed for the introduction of some new defensive concepts, which the team will continue to hone in the fall.
"Philosophically we approached our defending a little bit differently," Boyd explained. "From a tactical standpoint we tried to develop the group because we have more of them returning. By the end of spring I thought they did a really good job and I was pleased with that."
One player who Boyd said had a great spring is goalkeeper Chandler Morris, who stepped into the starter's role last season as a redshirt freshman.
"I thought Chandler elevated her goalkeeping this spring," Boyd said. "She played at a different level and had a real presence back there making saves, holding balls and coming into crowds."
Several other players on the roster will look to help the Sun Devils continue to make strides from last season when they made their third NCAA Tournament appearance in four years and recorded their highest finish in conference play (tied for fourth) since 2004. In addition this fall will bring the arrival of ASU's five-member signing class, which includes players Boyd feels can have an immediate impact.
The Sun Devils open the 2013 regular season on Fri., Aug. 23 when they host Cal State Northridge at Sun Devil Soccer Stadium.