TEMPE, Ariz. – Eva van Deursen and Lucy Johnson both scored goals in the second half to help the Sun Devil soccer team to a come-from-behind, 3-2 win over Arizona on Friday night. With the win, ASU’s first over its in-state rival since 2015, the Sun Devils look forward to making their second NCAA Tournament appearance in three seasons when the bids are officially announced on Monday afternoon.
“It’s one of the best wins I’ve had since we’ve been here,” ASU head coach Graham Winkworth said. “We’ve managed at some point over the last six years to get a win against every team in the conference, but for some reason it’s been Arizona of all teams that we haven’t been able to get over the hump. But tonight, that finally changed so it’s some stress off the shoulders and want to enjoy it and ticket booked (to the NCAA Tournament). It’s a great night to be a Sun Devil”
Sophomore Keri Matthews took advantage of a miscue by Arizona’s goalkeeper and struck from the edge of the penalty box to give the Sun Devils the lead in the 24th minute. It marked Matthews’ third goal of the season and her first of conference play. Olivia Nguyen assisted with the goal which was her fourth this season.
An own goal by the Sun Devils in the 42nd minute provided the Wildcats with a break that allowed them to tie the game 1-1 at the half. Arizona would carry that momentum into the second half as they struck again in the 47th minute to take a 2-1 lead.
Unlike in its loss last week vs. Oregon State, ASU did now allow the Wildcats to extend their lead by more than a goal. It took less than five minutes for the Sun Devils to knot the game at 2-2. Hannah Leitner started the sequence with a shot that Arizona’s goalkeeper prevented from going into the goal. Van Deursen was quick to follow with the rebound for her seventh goal of the season to make it a new game.
JOHNSON COMES THROUGH WITH THE GO-AHEAD GOAL
The team leader in assists this season with eight, Johnson has been as effective at setting up goals as she has been at preventing them from her spot on the back line. In the 79th minute, Johnson saw an opportunity to make something happen and sent a cross toward goal. Never was Johnson, or anyone on the Sun Devil squad happier to see her service miss its intended target as the ball ended up not where one of her teammates could redirect the ball into the goal, but into the goal itself. Seconds after giving her team a 3-2 lead, Johnson continued to stare in amazement at what she had just done.
“I was shocked because I was just sort of aiming to put the ball towards the back post and then maybe the wind took it or something,” Johnson said of the first game-winning goal of her career. “I don’t know but it was pretty nice. I was in shock to say the least.”
After Johnson’s goal, the Wildcats managed only a single shot the rest of the game.
ASSIST NOT LISTED IN THE BOX SCORE
While it was not officially listed as an assist in the final box score, Winkworth said Friday’s win would not have been possible without the incredible support of the fans, particularly when the Sun Devils were battling from behind in the second half.
“It was like having a 12th player in the second half. It was brilliant,” Winkworth said of the energy the crowd provided. “What an incredible performance from our fans. I know how important it is to them when we play Arizona. I’ve been here for six years now, I’m a Sun Devil through and through and I bleed maroon and gold. I know that those people do as well. I’m so delighted we were able to give them this win.”
The Sun Devils will find out their next assignment on Monday afternoon when the field is unveiled for this year’s NCAA Tournament. The NCAA Tournament Selection Show will air at 2 p.m. MST on Monday on NCAA.com.