Video by Marc Steiner | Sports Reporter
GLENDALE, Arizona — Just 10 days into the preseason, coach Kevin Boyd and the ASU women’s soccer team are fine-tuning their high octane offense.
The improved play from a group of young freshman sparked crisp and efficient passing, an area in which the Sun Devils dominated, along with possession.
Junior defender McKenzie Berryhill ignited the team in its first exhibition game, played on the intramural fields of the West campus in Glendale, scoring in the first three minutes of the game.
“Our possession was high in intensity, we kept the ball most of the time,” Berryhill said. “I liked that we could connect to each other back and forth.”
Berryhill acts as a playmaker on the back end of the field, responsible for getting the ball up to the midfielders and strikers.
“Honestly I just wanted everyone to get some touches on the ball, let the freshman get their nerves out,” Berryhill said “(We can) see how we play, and then just take it from there, and see what we can do in Hawaii.”
While an official time and score was not kept, it was a victory for the Sun Devils on nearly all accounts. Boyd appeared pleased with his team’s effort, though not tested very much by the Lumberjacks defensively.
“I thought we handled the ball and connected with each other better than we’ve seen in training to be quite honest,” Boyd said. “I thought we were settled, and technical, very comfortable.”
Boyd recognized that preseason jitters could be a factor in scrimmage games, but his thoughts on Friday night’s game did not reflect that.
“You know you are always worried about your first game — what you are gonna look like, where you are going to be sloppy and disorganized, are your freshman gonna have the yips,” Boyd said. “I actually thought we did quite well.”
Both Berryhill and Boyd had praise for freshman midfielder Aly Moon, whose speed and athleticism ignited the up tempo attack.
“I actually feel like we had really good pace,” said Berryhill. “(Moon) is small, she uses her body, she gets in there really well, and she’s always there on the ball, always creating space.”
Boyd acknowledged that there is room for improvement defensively, especially with the team’s regular season opener against Texas looming next week in Hawaii.
“When we play Texas next Friday, they’re gonna keep the ball,” Boyd said. “If we don’t defend tighter, we are not going to get it as easily.”
The Sun Devils face the Texas Longhorns in the Outrigger Resorts Shootout in Honolulu, Hawaii on Friday, Aug. 22 at 10:00 p.m. MST.
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