With the goalkeeper nowhere near the net early in the second overtime, Cali Farquharson netted the game-winning goal to keep Arizona State’s NCAA Tournament hopes alive after a 2-1 victory over Utah in the final home match of the season Sunday.
The Sun Devils improved to 9-7-2 and 4-4-2 in the Pacific-12, while celebrating their first win since Oct. 11 over Oregon, snapping a string of five winless games. They conlude the regular season at 2 p.m. Thursday at Arizona, while the Utes (9-4-6, 5-3-2) host Colorado Friday.
“They were trying to play the keeper back, I don’t think it was keeper’s error,” ASU coach Kevin Boyd said of the winning goal. “It wasn’t about our soccer, it was about our character. We went down 1-0, and we haven’t come from behind and won all year.”
Boyd reiterated how tired the team was following Friday night’s 2-2 tie with Colorado and that it really showed in the first half.
The sophomore Farquharson recorded her team-leading 10th goal and first since scoring two against Southern Utah Sept. 15 to put a celebratory end to the Senior Day festivities.
“I love them, they’re like family, I don’t want to cry, but I don’t want it to be the end for them either,” Farquharson said. “It gets to your nerves a little bit, but the main thing is to stay calm.”
After 74 scoreless minutes, Utah senior midfielder Allie Wisner scored what appeared to be a dagger, taking a Jill Robison pass over the head of ASU goalkeeper Chandler Morris for her fifth goal of the year. It was 17 minutes after Morris robbed her of a blast, the most noteworthy of her three saves Sunday.
Sun Devil senior Kaitlyn Pavlovich never lost hope and headed in a corner kick from Rachael Ritter with 3:18 remaining, her third of the season.
“We were playing as hard as we could, and if you don’t have that composure, it just becomes ‘kick the ball’ style of play,” Pavlovich said. “It felt great, Rachael Ritter played an amazing ball in, it was really a team effort. Being a defensive player, my mindset is to play out, and that’s not exactly what you want to do on offense.”
Senior Devin Marshall had a brillliant chance to win the match in regulation with 40 seconds left, firing one straight on Lindsey Luke, one of her three saves on the day.
ASU’s best chance in the first half came off the foot of Sara Tosti, who was all alone but sailed the ball wide right.
There was a scary moment in the mid-second half, as well, when Utah’s Baylee Nielsen collided heads with Morris in the crease and was down for several minutes before being walked off the pitch.
Besides Pavlovich, Marshall and Ritter, seniors Holland Crook, Jasmine Roth and Blair Alderson played their final games at Sun Devil Soccer Stadium.