Sept. 13, 2012
Coming off a 1-0 win over No. 10 Pepperdine, the Arizona State women’s soccer team will head back out on the road this weekend when it travels to Tucson, Ariz., for the Cats Classic. The Sun Devils will play a pair of neutral-site games against Loyola Marymount (5 p.m. on Friday) and Florida International (noon on Sunday).
This weekend with be the fourth time in five weeks that the Sun Devils will find themselves on the road since the season started.
SCOUTING LOYOLA MARYMOUNT
Loyola Marymount will provide a strong regional test for ASU as the Lions are currently ranked No. 7 in the West region. Junior goalkeeper, Brittany Jagger, was named the West Coast Conference Player of the Week as she made 13 saves over the weekend helping the Lions defeat Idaho State and getting a tie against UCLA, which is currently ranked No. 3 in the nation. The tie against UCLA was the first game this year UCLA failed to win. LMU has allowed one goal or less in six games this year and is 3-0 in one-goal games.
Friday’s game will be only the third all-time meeting and the first since 1997 between the Sun Devils and Lions. LMU defeated ASU 3-0 in 1996, Sun Devil Soccer’s first season as a varsity sport and the Sun Devils won the rematch the following year, 4-2.
SCOUTING FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL
Florida International (3-2-1) is coming of its best weekend of the season after going on the road and playing LSU to a 0-0 draw before returning home and defeating Idaho 6-0. The successful weekend resulted in the Panthers sweeping Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week honors with Chelsea Leiva being named offensive player of the week after recording the first hat trick of her career on Sunday against Idaho. Johanne Volz was named defensive player of the week after not allowing any goals over the weekend.
MCCARTER MAKES IT HAPPEN
One of the key figures in ASU’s success is senior Taylor McCarter, who has consistently provided the Sun Devils with outstanding play in the midfield since her freshman season in 2009.
“She’s been our best player for the last two years,” Boyd said. “We’re hoping to get her a little further up the field [this season] and when we do that our game is better.”
McCarter, who earned third-team All-Pac-12 and third-team NSCAA All-Region notice last season, has started every one of ASU’s 66 games the last three-plus seasons.
Most recently, McCarter was named the MVP of the Sun Devil Desert Classic for her performance in ASU’s games against Houston and in the Sun Devils’ 1-0 upset of No. 10 Pepperdine.
NEW CAST MEMBERS
Fourteen of the 31 players on ASU’s roster are new members of the team in 2012. Of the 14 newcomers, 11 are freshmen to go along with three student-athletes who transferred into the program. Add redshirt freshman Chandler Morris to the mix and nearly half the team (15 of 31) is comprised of players who did not play in a game for ASU prior to this season.
The Sun Devils have had seven players who have made the first start of their respective ASU careers thus far, including six true freshman – McKenzie Berryhill, Nina Brueggemann, Cali Farquharson, Tommi Goodman, Christina Schedel and Sara Tosti. Also making the first start of her career the seasons’s opening weekend was redshirt freshman GK Chandler Morris.
Among the incoming freshmen this year are Nina Brueggemann from Pinneberg, Germany and Christina Schedel who is from Rosenheim, Germany. Brueggemann is a member of the German National Team. In May 2011 the Sun Devils traveled to Germany to play in some exhibition matches. Brueggemann and Schedel are the first international players on ASU’s roster team since Kylla Sjoman (Canada), who graduated in 2008.
Both Brueggemann (7 games/6 starts) and Schedel (6 games/6 starts) have been two of ASU’s primary starters on the Sun Devils’ backline. Schedel recorded her first career assist and goal in ASU’s 2-2 tie at Kansas (Sept. 2),
Marshall was third on the team in scoring (10 points) and tied for first in assists (4) in 2011 when she was limited by an ankle injury that caused her to miss seven games. She returns as ASU’s returning leader in goals (4) from last season.
Marshall was named to the Pac-10’s All-Freshman Team in 2010 when she was third on the team in scoring. Last May, Marshall was one of 24 players called to participate in the U.S. Under-23 Women’s National Team training camp.
“Devin had a terrific preseason and I think this could be a breakout year for her,” Boyd said.
Marshall tied her single-game career high with two goals in ASU’s win at NAU (Aug, 24). She scored her third goal of the season at Missouri (Aug. 31), a game in which she also sustained a head injury that caused her to miss ASU’s next two games -- at Kansas (Sept. 2) and vs. Houston (Sept. 7). She returned for ASU’s contest against No. 10 Pepperdine and scored the only goal of the game in ASU’s 1-0 upset of the Waves.
Tinnin, who led ASU in assists in 2009 with six, did not play in 2010 due to a knee injury sustained in the spring of 2010. After missing the first eight games of the 2011 season rehabbing the injury, Tinnin returned and ended up tying for the team lead in assists (3).
“Courtney looked great in preseason and I think this will be her best season,” said Boyd. “She’s is a smart player who had good technique and also has great versatility who can also play in the midfield.”
Stone, who has been limited by injuries for much of her ASU career, has proven to be a very active and effective attacker when she has been on the field. Despite missing eight games last season, Stone still finished fourth on the team in both goals (4) and points (7).
Freshman Cali Farquharson brings exceptional offensive skills into the program and is a player who Boyd feels will be a difference maker throughout her ASU career.
Farquharson scored two goals and led ASU with nine shots its win at NAU (Aug. 24). She scored her third goal of the season in ASU’s 2-2 tie at Kansas (Sept. 2). She played a pivotal role in ASU’s upset of No. 10 Pepperdine, setting up Marshall for what eventually proved to be the game-winning goal.
The Sun Devils started the 2012 season five-game road trip. ASU kicked off its slate with games at Cal State Northridge and San Diego State before traveling to Flagstaff, Ariz., to face in-state foe Northern Arizona. ASU then traveled to the Midwest the following week for contests at Missouri and at Kansas.
Overall, ASU is playing eight of its first 10 games away from home. This week the Sun Devils are in Tucson, Ariz., for a pair of neutral-site games against Loyola Marymount and Florida International. Next week (Sept. 23), ASU opens up the Pac-12 portion of its schedule with a game defending national champion Stanford.
After advancing to the NCAA Tournament in 2009 and 2010 the Sun Devils looked destined for even bigger things in 2011. Unfortunately an injury-riddled campaign - ASU’s No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 scorers missed a combined 27 games in 2011 - led to an 8-11 record. Despite all of its injuries, ASU was still competitive throughout the 2011 season as the Sun Devils found themselves on the short end of four one-goal games that were decided in the final three minutes or overtime.
Fast forward to the present and the Sun Devils will look to get back to the string of success they started to build up in 2009-10. Fourteen newcomers join a group of committed returners who put in a strong offseason in preparation for 2012.
“Last year was a learning process for our returners, it doesn’t have anything to do with our incoming players,” said ASU sixth-year head coach Kevin Boyd prior to the start of the 2012 season. “The incoming players are coming into what we have now and that is a team that has tremendous character.
“I think we are going to play an exciting brand of soccer this season. I look at us in training and sometimes I say to myself, `we can really play.’ But until you get to games you really don’t know.”
In the season opener at Cal State Northridge, ASU tallied more than twice as many shots as the Matadors (21-10), however had only two more shots on goal (5-3) than CSUN. Junior Devin Marshall led ASU with five shots (one SOG). Redshirt junior Miah Mollay (four shots, two SOG) and senior Nicki Stone (two shots, two SOG) were the only other Sun Devils to register shots on goal in the game.
“We made some defensive errors especially in the first half, a couple bad ones that led to their goal,” Boyd said about the loss to CSUN. “We got more chances and outshot them. The problem is the same technical problems we had in parts of the game happened in front of their goal. So although we had more chances we just didn’t do anything with them.”
Two days later (Aug. 19), ASU and San Diego State played a scoreless first half before the Aztecs came out and scored two goals in the first nine minutes of the second half to secure the 2-0 win.
Although SDSU had a 6-1 advantage in shots in the first half, neither team was able to register a shot on goal. Though they were edged 7-6 in shots in the second half, the Sun Devils were able to register four shots on goal.
“We did do some things better than we did [against CSUN], but we were playing a better opponent,” Boyd said.
In its first win at NAU (Aug. 24), the Sun Devils showed flashes of the brilliance that were on display during the squad’s preseason training. Devin Marshall and Cali Farquharson provided all the offense as each scored a pair of goals. Chandler Morris made four saves in goal to record her first career shutout.
“As a whole I thought it was good,” Boyd said. “There were some things we needed to address and we did that at halftime. In the second half I thought we had moments when we played extremely well and saw more of what we had been doing in practice.
“I was really happy for Devin and Cali being able to each score two goals.
“I thought our midfield did a nice job. I thought they capitalized on some things and did a good job of tightening up in there and not letting NAU execute. And then our back line didn’t let them behind us and that was a big key.”
One week later the Sun Devils got behind early at Missouri, (Aug. 31), eventually losing by a score of 4-1. The game at Missouri was moved up five hours from its original start time due to a forecast of heavy rain from remnants of Hurricane Isaac. Despite the earlier start, the elements and their effects were on full display when the game started as the two teams contested the first 45 minutes amid periods of heavy rain and gusting winds. With the wind at their backs the Tigers would take advantage, scoring goals in the fifth minute and 34th minute to take – given the elements – a commanding 2-0 lead at the half.
Two days later at Kansas the Sun Devils played the Jayhawks to a 2-2 tie. Playing without Marshall (head injury), ASU would get behind early as Kansas scored in the ninth minute to take the early lead. Despite outplaying Kansas for most of the first half, ASU was unable to register a goal, a stretch that would last until the 81st minute when Farquharson tied the game with her third goal of the season. Farquharson’s goal began a wild flurry of activity that would transpire over the next five-plus minutes. After finding themselves in catch-up mode for the previous 70 minutes, the Sun Devils would suddenly find themselves in the driver’s seat when freshman Christina Schedel connected on a free kick from long range in the 85th minute to put ASU up 2-1. ASU’s lead would hold for less than a minute as Kansas came right back and tied it when a chaotic sequence around the ASU goal resulted in a goal and a 2-2 game.
“We played really well in the first half and yet we still found ourselves down by a goal,” Boyd said. “I thought there were a couple [goals] that we should have gotten in there.
“I think we did some nice things in the second half, not quite as good as the first, but still some nice things. I thought it was our best game so far in terms of the quality of opponent that we played and the battle that we had. I thought our focus was a lot better, too.”
After five games on the road, the Sun Devils finally had their 2012 home opener against Houston on Sept. 7. Despite allowing only two shots on goal and taking twice as many shots (13-6), ASU lost to Houston 1-0. It appeared the Sun Devils would be going to overtime for the second time in as many games as they found themselves engaged in a scoreless tie with Houston as the contest neared the completion of 87 minutes. It was then – at the 86:51 mark – that the official’s whistle brought play to a halt to call a handball in the box on the Sun Devils, setting the Cougars up with a penalty kick. Houston would score on the kick, giving the Cougars the 1-0 win. ASU was without Marshall for the second consecutive game and starting freshman defender Christina Schedel.
“We had a good first half, but we didn’t create enough in the final third [of the field]. When we did get the chances we really didn’t do much with them,” Boyd said of the game against Houston. “When you get that many chances at some point you have to put them a way because the longer you let a team stay in the game, the more they feel they may be able to get one in and they got us on a [penalty kick] with three minutes left in the game.”
Both Marshall and Schedel returned for ASU’s next game against No. 10 Pepperdine (Sept. 9). Marshall’s presence had an immediate impact on the offensive end as she scored the only goal of the game in the 64th minute to give the Sun Devils the upset win. 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. 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.”
After playing well in its previous two games and not coming away with the desired results, the win over Pepperdine 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.”