There is always something to be said for the team that finds a way to win, even if it doesn’t play its best game.
And the ASU women’s soccer team found a way to win Friday night, defeating San Diego State 2-1 in overtime.
“We did enough to get the win,” coach Kevin Boyd said. “It’s a credit to them, they’re finding a way to win maybe not on our best night.”
Junior midfielder Alexandra Elston scored both goals for the Sun Devils off headers, including one off a free kick with 2:07 left in overtime to give the Sun Devils (4-1-1) the victory.
“We got the free kick, and everyone was set up on the far post,” Elston said. “I was kind of in a little more, and I was left open, so I just got a flick on it and it went over the goalie.”
With Boyd watching from the press box after receiving a red card last match, assistant coaches Blair Quinn and Christine Johnson took over the head coaching duties, with Quinn making the substitutions and managing the overall flow of the game.
And even without their head coach, the players made it through.
“Its nice to be able to have the girls perform like that, even when Kevin’s not here,” Quinn said. “That’s the whole idea. He tries to prepare them in a manner that if he’s not here or any of us aren’t here, they will still be able to perform in the same manner.”
Boyd said he was pleased with how Quinn and Johnson managed the game.
“They both did an outstanding job,” Boyd said. “I was really happy with everything they did, and I’m thrilled they got the win.”
The game got off to a slow start, with neither team scoring in the first half and the majority of the game being played in the neutral zone. ASU got only four total shots while the Aztecs (3-3-1) only had two.
“We kind of let them dictate the pace of the game early on,” Quinn said. “Then we started to kind of play with them halfway through the first half.”
The second half began much the way the first half did, with neither team gaining an advantage.
Then, lightning rolled in with 33 minutes remaining.
The game was delayed about 40 minutes as the storm passed, and the Sun Devils came out with a renewed energy.
After an aggressive offensive possession, redshirt freshman forward Courtney Tinnin took a corner kick from the right corner, and Elston was able to get her head on it, pushing the ball over the goalie’s outstretched arms to give ASU a 1-0 lead.
The lead would not last, though, as SDSU junior midfielder Cat Walker took a pass along the left side of the field, cut across the middle and delivered a shot that bounced off the crossbar and down into the net to tie the game 1-1 with 20 minutes remaining in the match.
The Sun Devils kept pressuring the Aztec defense throughout the half by taking six shots, with some missing the net by mere inches.
And as the clock ran out and the teams headed to overtime, it was clear that the momentum had swung ASU’s way.
After a foul by an SDSU defender near midfield, freshman defender Sierra Joseph took the free kick and put it high toward the net. Elston out-jumped two defenders to get her head on the ball and redirect it over the goalie, giving ASU the victory and sending the team into a frenzy.
“That’s what she does — she goes and finds the ball,” Quinn said of Elston. “Specifically on set pieces, that is where she’s very dangerous, whether she’s taking them or whether she’s on the receiving end.”
The two goals off of set pieces were one more than ASU had the entire year, and the victory pushed the Sun Devils to a 2-0-1 mark in overtime this season.
It was also Quinn’s first career victory, upping his career coaching record to 1-1.
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