ASU soccer coach Kevin Boyd has repeatedly said the 2013
version of ASU is his best team yet.
But were they expecting this?
ASU (7-4) shocked No. 2 Stanford (9-1-1) on the road and broke the Cardinal’s 73-game home undefeated streak and their 44-game conference winning streak.
“I believed we could win the game before it started and that was something I was strongly stating to our team, that I believed we could beat (Stanford),” Boyd said. “I thought that we were just playing well and we cleaned up a couple little things. I absolutely, utterly felt like we could win.”
Behind sophomore forward Sara Tosti’s incredible first half goal, and a gutsy effort by redshirt sophomore goalie Chandler Morris, ASU pulled off the improbable upset.
“We knew we could win and that carried over (into the game),” Tosti said.
In the 24th minute, Tosti received a pass from sophomore midfielder Tommi Goodman, and delivered a perfect shot in the far upper corner of the goal, freezing Stanford’s goalie.
That goal turned out to be all the offense ASU would need. Morris played perhaps her best game as a Sun Devil and made seven extremely difficult saves.
“She is really a good shot-blocker and has been all along,” Boyd said. “I think she was as connected and in the moment as every other player. I thought Kenny (sophomore defender McKenzie Berryhill) had an absolute exceptional day. I’m not trying to take away anything from any other player, but I just thought Kenny and Chandler were just (on) a different level.”
Stanford ended up outshooting ASU 19-17, and controlled the ball for most of the game, but ASU’s back line was clutch and consistently denied passes and shot attempts coming into the box.
“I am so proud of our back line,” Tosti said. “They didn’t let anything up, even if something got through. I had so much confidence in them that they weren’t going to let (Stanford) in. Chandler saved us multiple times, and she had a tremendous game.”
ASU kept Stanford’s most dynamic player, junior forward Taylor Uhl in check, limiting her to five shots and two on goal. Uhl, a transfer from Minnesota, scored 21 goals in 20 games last season.
“I think both KP (senior defender Kaitlyn Pavlovich) and Kenny did a nice job on her,” Boyd said. “They didn’t really give her a lot of chances. She created a couple that were long ball chances. She’s a real sneaky player and she puts herself into great starting position … When you play players that are good, you’re not going to take away their whole game. You’re not going to eliminate every chance, but you want to eliminate as many as you can.”
With less than four minutes remaining, Uhl received a cross and took a close-range shot that went high. That shot ended up being Stanford’s last.
“Every win is great and I think tonight had just a little bit more excitement, but it was just an exciting game,” Morris said. “It was intense until the last minute.”
When it was all over, ASU exhaled after surviving a second-half onslaught by a Stanford team that didn’t want to see its streaks come to an end.
“That’s a great feeling for any win and it was just nice to know that it was officially secured,” Morris said. You’ve got to play the full time and not get too excited too early. Right when that clock hit zero you can finally breathe and let it sink in a little bit.”
The last time Stanford lost at home was in 2007 and the last time they lost a conference game was in 2008.
“I don’t always want to share with the opponent how happy I was with the team because I don’t ever want them to think we’re surprised by winning,” Boyd said. “But because it was a momentous occasion, both for our program and the fact that and they were on such a long winning streak … there’s natural excitement, and that’s going to come out,” .
Stanford’s 73-game home undefeated streak included three ties.
Reach the reporter at Justin.Janssen@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter @jjanssen11