After losing in heartbreaking fashion in Tempe last season, Illinois avenged that result with a convincing 3-1 win over ASU on Saturday.
They found their first task to be much more of a challenge against an improved Illinois team, then last season’s matchup when the Sun Devils (2-1-1) escaped with a 4-3 win in two overtimes.
The Illini (3-1) were at an advantage early, with sophomore midfielder Allison Stucky finding the back of the net with just seven minutes gone in the first half. ASU coach Kevin Boyd was upset with the pace and intensity of his team during Saturday’s game.
“One of our goals coming into the game was to improve on how we started and we didn’t do that. We started slow again,” said ASU coach Kevin Boyd. “We gave up a goal seven minutes into the game after they were all over us. We can’t keep letting teams do that because once you are down you have to change the way you play in terms of trying to find a goal. Illinois was very good about patiently sitting and waiting and trying to counter, and they did it well.”
ASU fought back in the second half, when freshman midfielder Aly Moon scored the equalizer. Although this would give the Sun Devils a glimmer of hope, Illinois redshirt senior forward Jannelle Flaws scored two goals in quick succession, one in the 55th minute, and another just three minutes later.
“We scored a goal and tied it and then we sat back and for some reason let our foot off the gas, and they didn’t,” Boyd said. “They responded by getting a goal three minutes later and another goal three minutes after that.”
The Sun Devils traveled up north to play Loyola University Chicago on Sunday, bouncing back to beat the Ramblers 3-1.
“We’re happy to have a win.” Boyd said. “In our fourth game on the road, we needed to make sure we came home with a win.”
Junior forward Cali Farquharson played regular minutes again after an injury which had her see minimal playing time in Hawaii. She appeared to be at full strength, tacking on two goals, one in each half, with her first coming in the 20th minute off an assist from redshirt sophomore midfielder Lucy Lara.
Freshman forward Jazmarie Mader got in on the scoring as well, with a header off of a cross by redshirt junior forward Mackenzie Semerad, for her first collegiate goal.
Senior defender Allison Shimer would make sure the Ramblers would get on the scoreboard, chipping the ball in over the outstretched arms of redshirt junior goalkeeper Chandler Morris in the 85th minute. Farquharson then went on to score her second goal of the game a little over a minute later, sealing the win for the Sun Devils.
“We didn’t play great today. We were better than our opponent, but we didn’t play great.” Boyd said. “We were just a little bit off in everything.”
The Sun Devils will return home for the first time this season, after four games on the road.
“Thank God,” Boyd said. “We chose to do this road trip to get quality opponents, but we knew it was going to be a big challenge. We are travel weary. It’ll be nice not to be on the road.”
ASU will open its home schedule against Oklahoma State in Tempe on Friday, Sept. 5 at 4:00 p.m. Arizona time.
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