BOULDER, Colorado – Eva Van Deursen Long-range shooting with three seconds left found its target to propel the Sun Devil football team to a 3-2 victory over Colorado on Friday in the Pac-12 opener for both teams.
For the Sun Devils (5-0-2, 1-0 Pac-12), van Deursen’s goal – their second of the game, a new record in a single game – ended a seesaw battle to help them remain undefeated. .
With just over 30 minutes to go before the unlikely finale, it didn’t look like the Sun Devils would need van Deursen’s last-second heroics to claim victory after his first goal in the 59th.º minute, configured by teammate Nicole Douglasgave ASU a 2-0 lead.
The Buffaloes (6-2-2, 0-1) wouldn’t go down without a fight. Juliauna Hayward goals (70º minute) and Civana Kuklmann (72na minute) knotted the score at 2-2 and suddenly it was a whole new game.
“I felt for the first hour, we really controlled [the game]. So I created another opportunity where I felt like we should have taken a penalty, but it wasn’t given,” the ASU coach said. Graham Winkworth said. “That moment almost changed the game. Colorado came back and scored two good goals. Fortunately, the game lasts 90 minutes and Eva has three seconds left. [van Deursen] intensified and scored the winner. Overall, I thought it was a fair result. We deserved the three points. “
Ultimately, it was the play of three of ASU’s fifth-year players that helped the Sun Devils establish early control and still find a way to walk away with the win after the lead evaporated.
Alexia Delgado (64º career start in 71 career games), than with van Deursen (73rd starter in 76 career games) gives the Sun Devil midfield nearly 150 games of experience, gave the Sun Devils the lead after scoring the first goal of the game in 30º minute. Douglas, who entered Friday’s competition leading the NCAA in goals per game and points per game and who had 78º starter in as many games on Friday, teamed up with van Deursen to extend ASU’s lead to 2-0 in the 60º minute. After the game, Winkworth noted the importance of the trio in the victory.
“Alexia scored with a beautiful free kick. It was a beautiful shot,” said Winkworth. “The combination of [Nicole Douglas and Eva [van Deursen] making it 2-0 was sublime. It was a great team goal. Having that kind of leadership, but also that kind of quality, was huge for us all season and it was again today.”
Equally important to Winkworth was his team’s ability to stay focused after Colorado tied the game, something made possible by a great play by ASU’s rookie goalie, Pauline Nelles.
“We controlled the game for the first hour and the lack of penalties was a decisive moment,” explained Winkworth. “Credit to Colorado for getting back in the game. Pauline [Nelles] made a wonderful save to keep it at 2-2, and moments like this underscore why we wanted her to be a Sun Devil. She made a great save to keep it 2-2 and luckily we managed to win the game after that.”
Winkworth said what ASU achieved is even more impressive when you consider the caliber of the opponent they were up against.
“Colorado are a well-trained team and have a lot of athleticism,” Winkworth said. “They are deadly on set pieces, which I felt we handled very well today. They have excellent talent. I wish them the best for the rest of the season and I hope both teams can still play at the end of November.”
The Sun Devils will be back home next weekend for games against California (Thursday at 7pm) and Stanford No. 19 (Sunday at 1pm). Click here for more information on purchasing tickets for one or both games.