Going into this weekend’s tournament, ASU soccer head coach Kevin Boyd was worried that one of the greatest challenges of playing in Hawaii would be Hawaii itself.
“Everyone is in vacation mode,” Boyd said. “We need to not get lured into that.”
After a 5-2 win over the host team on Sunday night, it was clear that ASU avoided that.
Just eight minutes into the game, Hawaii senior midfielder Alexis Colacchio buried a shot off of a throw-in that was set up by a cross from fellow senior midfielder Krystal Pascua to give the Rainbow Wahine an early lead.
“We started a little slow and were disorganized,” Boyd said. “I don’t know if we weren’t communicating well out there, but it looked like we were not picking up players in the midfield and we were too loose on the back line.”
Despite allowing the early goal, the Sun Devils (1-0-1) did not relax against Hawaii. Unlike it did against Texas, the offense wasted no time lighting up the scoreboard.
The attack was led by freshman midfielder Aly Moon, who would go on to tie the school record for most goals scored in a game.
The first of Moon’s goals came in the 21st minute. A header off an assist by junior midfielder Whitney Kanavel tied the score at 1-1.
The Sun Devils got a spark from an unlikely source, junior defender Rachel Ometer, who scored the first of her collegiate career — off an assist from Moon, as ASU took a 2-1 advantage from which they would never look back.
“(Ometer) has speed so she should have gone on a breakaway,” Boyd said. “Instead, she pulled up, looked at the goalkeeper and just hit one far post behind her. Probably not the perfect thing to do as a forward, but a great finish.”
Moon put the game out of reach in the second half, scoring twice in less than three minutes.
The first goal of the second half for Moon came off a pass by freshman forward Jazmarie Mader into the box in the 64th minute, followed by a shot that beat Hawaii’s keeper, sophomore Monk Berger from 18 yards out in the 66th minute. After completing the hat trick, Moon was subbed out in the 69th minute of the game.
Junior midfielder Tommi Goodman would add a goal for the Sun Devils in the 76th minute, giving ASU a comfortable cushion to coast to victory.
Moon’s offensive outburst allows her to join an elite group of midfielders and fowards, including current teammate Cali Farquharson, who is ASU’s leading goal scorer. Boyd was excited by the versatility shown by one of his team’s youngest stars.
“She scored one with a header, she got one with really special skill and she got one by just working hard,” Boyd said. ”Pretty impressive, and really savvy for a freshman.”
The Sun Devils will play the Illinois Fighting Illini in Champaign, Illinois at 5 p.m. Arizona time on Friday, Aug. 29.
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Photo courtesy of Ka Leo O Hawaii.