Sept. 23, 2011
BERKELEY, Calif. - The Arizona State women's soccer team fell to No. 17 Cal 1-0 on Friday in the opening match of Pac-12 play for both teams.
Missing numerous key players because of injury - mostly on the front line - the Sun Devils (4-5, 0-1 Pac-12) were held scoreless for the third time in their last four games, nullifying a strong defensive effort against a Cal team (8-1, 1-0) which came into Friday's contest ranked No. 4 in the country in goals per game (3.75).
"I thought we played really well," ASU head coach Kevin Boyd said following the match. "For our depleted squad in terms of injuries, I thought we played exceptionally well... We are not going to use that as an excuse, but it is recognizing what we have."
For the fourth time in as many games the Sun Devils played their opponent to a scoreless first half.
Time and again throughout the contest the Sun Devils would stymie the Cal attack each time it would get within striking distance.
Offensively, the Sun Devils were able to advance the ball into Cal's side of the field several times, however were not able to create any scoring dangerous opportunities near the Cal goal.
"We played really well up until about 30 yards from goal and at that point all of our ideas disappeared," Boyd said. "We would just whack balls in and knock balls over the end line trying to play a final ball. We just didn't have quality putting someone in a good position to finish.
"The rest of the field did real well. The defensive third, the middle third, all of the build up, everything was great. It was in that last final third area where you really need the quality of your forwards to tuck them in that we weren't getting because we have so many new players playing there right now."
Cal would break the tie in the 74th minute when redshirt freshman forward Grace Leer scored on rebound to give the Bears the eventual 1-0 win.
"Our first half was better than our second," Boyd said. "They are a much deeper team than us and they subbed very deep and that saved their legs a bit. When we started getting fatigued it started showing up and they got us at that point late in the game. It could have gone either way at any point. I am really happy with the team. It is a bummer because on the stat sheet it is a loss, but we played as well today as we have played all year."
Sierra Cook led the Sun Devils with three shots while Kari Shane had two. Among the other four Sun Devils who registered a shot was redshirt junior Courtney Tinnin, who started on Friday. It was Tinnin's first action in a regular season game since 2009, missing last season because of a knee injury.
"It was great to have her back," Boyd said. "The big thing for her is to get on the field and start getting her feet back under her again. She played quite well considering she hasn't played [since 2009]."
The Sun Devils return to action next weekend when they go on the road for the third consecutive week to face Utah (Friday at 7 p.m. MT) and Colorado (Sunday at 1 p.m. MT).