TEMPE, Ariz. - Junior forward Devin Marshall returned to the starting lineup and made an immediate impact as she scored the only goal of the game in the Arizona State women's soccer team's 1-0 upset win over No. 10 Pepperdine on day two of the Sun Devil Desert Classic.
Marshall, who tied for second on the team in points last season and came into Sunday's game tied for the team lead in goals, was injured in ASU's loss at Missouri (Aug. 31) and was held out of ASU's next two contests, a 2-2 tie at Kansas last Sunday and a 1-0 loss to Houston on Friday night.
In both of the aforementioned contests, it appeared the Sun Devils (2-4-1) had victory within reach only to see it escape them in the final six minutes of both games.
ASU did not waver from start to finish against Pepperdine (5-2), which came into Sunday's game having scored two or more goals five times in six games.
"That's our best performance so far in terms of doing the things we have focused on," ASU head coach Kevin Boyd said. "It's three games in a row we have put those things together pretty well and today we did it for the full 90 minutes, which was great. A lot of that was our focus was better and we stayed tuned in the whole game."
In addition to Marshall, also returning to the starting lineup was freshman defender Christina Schedel, who missed Friday night's game against Houston.
Although Pepperdine had six more shots than ASU (19-13), it was the Sun Devils who were getting the better looks as they tallied a 6-2 advantage in shots on goal.
The game remained scoreless until the 64th minute when freshman forward Cali Farquharson found Marshall breaking open down the middle of the field. Marshall beat two defenders and flicked the ball over Pepperdine GK Roxanne Barker to give ASU the 1-0 lead and the eventual win.
"What a difference she makes when she's on the field, it absolutely changes us," Boyd said of Marshall's play.
While Marshall's goal proved to be the difference on the scoreboard, Boyd made it clear that Sunday's win was the product of a great performance by the entire team. Only two of Pepperdine's 19 shots in the game were on goal as ASU made Pepperdine work for its opportunities. In addition, the Sun Devils were effective without being careless on the defensive end as they were whistled for only four fouls in the game, four fewer than Pepperdine.
"I think the whole team's effort was really good," Boyd said. "Our back line did a great job today against a very good opponent and so across the board we performed well."
Among those working hard to help contain Pepperdine's attack was senior midfielder Taylor McCarter, who was named MVP of the Sun Devil Desert Classic, while Farquharson and Marshall were also named to the All-Tournament Team.
After playing well in its previous two games and not coming away with the desired results, Sunday's win served notice to a young Sun Devil squad about its potential.
"Nothing was working for us in terms of we were playing well and still not getting results," Boyd said. "The fact that Pepperdine is the No. 10 team in the country should give us an indication of what we are capable of and what we can be."
The Sun Devils return to action next week when they travel to Tucson, Ariz., for the Arizona Cats Classic. ASU will face Loyola Marymount on Friday (5 p.m. PT) and Florida International on Sunday (noon PT).
2012 Sun Devil Desert Classic All-Tournament Team
Arizona: Ariel Boulicault, Julia Glantz, Gabby Kaufman
Houston: Kaci Bush, Cami Koski, Jasmine Martinez
Pepperdine: Roxanne Barker, Anisa Guajardo, Michelle Pao