No matter the records, rivalry games are usually close.
True to form, the ASU soccer team (8-11, 4-7 Pac-12) won a tightly contested 2-1 game over UA (1-16-2, 1-9-1) to close the season.
“It’s a rivalry game, so we knew it was going to be a battle until the end,” senior defender Kari Shane said. “It’s a whole different dynamic when it comes to rivalry games. Losing was not an option for us.”
ASU senior forward Sierra Cook finished her career in style with both goals including the game-winner, and scored five goals in her past six games.
“I couldn’t ask for a better finish (in) my last game,” Cook said. “We played our rivals which is always a big game. There’s a lot of emotion and being the last game makes it more emotional.”
In the 14th minute, sophomore forward Devin Marshall passed to Cook between two UA defenders. Cook split the players, beating both to the ball and scored past UA goalie Ashley Jett.
However, ASU couldn’t add to their slim lead and let Arizona hang around for the rest of the game.
UA had a couple chances right after intermission to tie the game up. A free kick went around ASU’s wall, but right to junior goalie Alyssa Gillmore.
UA had a few more close free kicks and corner kicks, but couldn’t convert on their shot opportunities.
In the 76th minute, UA finally capitalized when forward Jazmin Ponce scored the equalizer. Ponce broke away from the ASU defense and scored just wide of diving Gillmore.
Many times this year, ASU wilted after a big momentum switch, but they responded this time.
“We’ve had some trouble this year with responding to goals,” Shane said. “We’ve put our heads down several times and tonight we didn’t.”
With 5:45 to go in regulation, Cook scored the game-winner. Redshirt junior forward Courtney Tinnin passed to a wide-open Cook. With Jett on the ground after charging in, Cook scored on an open-net.
ASU held on for the win, giving ASU their first Territorial Cup point of the athletic year.
Cook led ASU with five shots – all on goal, and had her way with the Wildcat defenders all night.
ASU head coach Kevin Boyd thought Cook posed a matchup problem that UA couldn’t contain.
“I figured she would cause them problems because the way that they play,” Boyd said. “It suited her game very well and I told her that before that this is the prime game for you.”
“It’s your last game, you’ve got to give it your all because there’s not a second chance anymore,” Cook said. “There’s not next year.”
The final game was emotional for both teams as expected. Three yellow cards were shown in the second half. There were a few times in the game when ASU players expressed their discontent with the lead official.
“Whenever you’ve got a rival like this you’ve got to call the game very close or tempers will flare,” Boyd said. “And the game wasn’t called close and tempers flared.”
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