Sept. 23, 2012
STANFORD, Calif. - Third-ranked Stanford scored all three of its goals in the second half to defeat Arizona State 3-0 on Sunday in the Pac-12 opener for both teams.
After putting forth a strong effort in the first half, the Sun Devils (4-5-1, 0-1 Pac-12) were unable to sustain their play against the Cardinal (7-1-1, 1-0 Pac-12) in the second half as Stanford extended its conference winning streak to 32 games and its home unbeaten streak to 59 games (57-0-2).
"It seemed like we had two different teams out there today. We had one in the first half that played well and one in the second half that didn't," ASU head coach Kevin Boyd said after the game. "We went into the half tied 0-0 with a good team and they elevated their play [in the second half] and we didn't."
ASU came into Sunday's contest on a three-game winning streak, having outscored the opposition 7-0 during that stretch. Stanford entered Sunday's tilt having won its last four matches and, like the Sun Devils, had not allowed a goal during its current winning streak.
Given the aforementioned credentials of both squads it should have come as no surprise that the first half was a stalemate as the Sun Devils went toe to toe with the defending national champions. While neither team was able to break through for a goal, it was the Sun Devils who appeared to have the momentum at the break as they outshot Stanford 6-5 and had recorded the only two shots on goal.
ASU nearly took the lead following a frenetic sequence around the Stanford net in the closing minute of the half. Junior forward Devin Marshall attempted to connect on a shot through a small window of space and hit the crossbar. Senior forward Miah Mollay's rebound yielded the same result and the score remained tied at 0-0.
"Devin got a ball and tried to kind of bend it over and around the goalkeeper and it skimmed the top of the crossbar," Boyd explained. "Devin had a very little angle and so I thought she did well with the shot she had. [The ball] came to Miah and she hit the crossbar again."
It took Stanford a little more than 10 minutes into the second half to score the game's first goal when Natalie Griffen found the back of the net for her fifth goal of the season.
The Cardinal struck again a little more than seven minutes later when a Sun Devil foul in the box set the Cardinal up with a penalty kick, which Courtney Verloo converted to put Stanford up 2-0.
"We didn't start the second half well at all," Boyd said. "We started out slow, we let them come at us and we didn't keep the ball when we got it. We were almost lax and timid out there. We got scored on and we didn't respond or improve what we were trying to do."
Stanford added its third goal in the 84th minute to make the final count 3-0.
After outshooting Stanford in the first half, the Sun Devils were only able to generate a pair of shots in the second half.
"[In the first half] we did a lot of the things that we do well and everybody did their job and when we do that we're a good team," Boyd said. "In the second half we wanted to keep doing that and add a couple little things, like improving in the final third, but instead we didn't do any of the things that really made us play well and we were a completely different team."
The Sun Devils return to action on Friday (2 p.m. PT) when they host USC at Sun Devil Soccer Stadium. ASU's game against USC will be televised live by Pac-12 Networks.