ASU soccer takes a 4-1 blow from the No. 1 Stanford Cardinal

The Sun Devils lost their final game of the season with Selection Monday looming

Amidst a 4-1 loss to No. 1 Stanford on Sunday, and as the regular season drew to an end for ASU soccer, the team had a chance to reflect on how far they had come since the beginning of the season.  

Earlier this season, the Sun Devils were expected to finish 11th in a Pac-12 preseason poll, but managed to finish four places ahead of where they were originally spotted. They also received a No. 20 spot on Top Drawer's Division I top-25, which was their first consideration since 2012.

"We don't really care what the rest of the conference thinks," said head coach Graham Winkworth. "The only people that these young ladies care about when it comes to their (Pac-12) opinion on how they play, is each other. If people want to vote us 11th in preseason, we finished four places above that.

So, they are not very good at predicting where we are going to finish and we are not going to finish 11th," Winkworth added. "We've got an incredible group. We're young."  

As the whistle blew to start the match on Sunday, Stanford 's offense busted out in the third and fourth minute with a pair of shot attempts. 

However, the Sun Devils, fighting for control of the ball, counteracted with two shot attempts of their own. The first was a shot by freshman midfielder Cori Sullivan in the eighth minute, and another was by senior forward Casey Martinez in the 10th minute.

Although ASU's defense remained alert and tight, Stanford would jump ahead with a 1-0 lead off a foul committed by senior captain Jemma Purfield in the 18th minute.

Ready at the 18' yard penalty arc for the free kick, Stanford's senior midfielder Jordan DiBiasi launched a shot that narrowly missed the hands of a diving ASU sophomore goalkeeper, Nikki Panas. 

Later on in the first half, Purfield would come close to evening the score with two corner kicks in the 28th and 30th minutes, but both plays came up empty.    

In the early minutes of the second half, both Stanford and ASU delivered three goals stacked on top of one another. 

In the 49th minute, Stanford sophomore forward Civana Kuhlmann and sophomore defender Jojo Harber displayed fancy footwork for a combined assist.

The assist was then met with DiBiasi, who shot the ball through the legs of a Sun Devil defender for a 2-0 lead.

Punch two was handed to the Sun Devils in the 55th minute on an assist from junior defender Sam Hiatt to sophomore midfielder Belle Briede for a comfortable 3-0 Cardinal lead. 

Seconds later though, that lead would quickly change when Purfield scored a goal on a high shot. She received the help of an assist from freshman forward Nicole Douglas for the team's first goal of the afternoon.

"I feel happy about it," Purfield said of scoring. "I thought the effort was there from everyone ... The team performance was really good. When you compare to where we were this time last year, I think it's credit to the team, coaches (and) staff and shows how far we've come as a program."


In the 70th minute, Stanford would add more salt in the wound when Kuhlmann knocked in a goal on a Stanford penalty kick for the 4-1 final.    

With the ASU soccer season concluding, the team's eyes will be glued to a television set on Monday when the Division I women's NCAA tournament bracket is released at 4:30 p.m. ET. 

"We are all going to be hoping that the NCAA gives us that chance," Purfield said. "We're more than ready. I think this year we've shown that we can compete with anyone."


Reach the reporter at Edith.Noriega@asu.edu or follow @Noriega_Edith on Twitter. 

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