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The ASU soccer team needed to make its own luck.

The Sun Devils needed to come out and recover the mentality they had developed in the nonconference season and find a way to win both games against Oregon State and Oregon in order to keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive.

In order to advance, they had to be the most motivated team in the country.

“We needed two wins, period,” ASU coach Kevin Boyd said. “There was no getting around it. It was fight or die. That’s what we were talking about — if we lost one, we knew we were done.”

With an 0-6-1 record in Pac-10 play and just two games to go in the regular season, the Sun Devils found a way to turn their luck around and came out on top against OSU 1-0 in overtime on Friday night and then defeated UO 2-1 on Sunday at Sun Devil Soccer Stadium.

“We have been struggling with tough games, trying to find a result, but you have to make your own luck in many ways,” Boyd said. “You make that luck by battling and doing the little things the whole game. We’ve been struggling in that in previous games, and we found that this weekend. It wasn’t perfect, but it was better.”

After 90 minutes of scoreless soccer, a goal on a header by ASU junior forward Karin Volpe was enough to push the Sun Devils past the Beavers on Friday night and give them their first Pac-10 victory of the season.

Sunday’s senior day honored defender Liz Harkin, midfielder Carly Kallas, defender Katie Smith and goalkeepers Katie Cochran and Briana Silvestri and gave the Sun Devils one last chance to prove themselves before the NCAA Tournament field of 64 teams is revealed on Monday


The first half lent itself to the visitors, and when UO freshman forward Julie Armstrong scored the first goal and the Ducks went up 1-0, the Sun Devils went into halftime to change their mentality.

In the second half, ASU junior midfielder Alexandra Elston took over.

With just more than 37 minutes to play, she headed the ball into the net to tie the game 1-1, and 23 minutes later, a handball resulted in Elston’s opportunity for a penalty kick.

“We came out in the second half and tried to press and got a corner kick,” Elston said. “I just headed it in. The second ball, I think it was a handball from them and I got a little nervous, but we practice penalty kicks all the time.”

The penalty kick, which was the first Boyd has seen in his career at ASU, gave the Sun Devils the 2-1 advantage and the win over the Ducks.

With that, the Sun Devils end the regular season with a 9-7-3 overall record (2-6-1 Pac-10) and a Ratings Percentage Index of 37 that could go up with the pair of wins.

Now, they wait.

“It’s been a rough time in the Pac-10,” Elston said. “It came down to this weekend. We felt like we still had a chance to make it into postseason, so we tried to sweep the weekend. That’s all we could do—it’s not in our hands anymore.”

Boyd said he hopes his team’s body of work and strong finish will be enough to put them in the postseason for the first time since 2003.

“Our RPI is quite good, and we got two good wins this weekend, so hopefully that does it,” he said. “The team knows that they did what they had to do. They got the two wins. We can’t do any more than that.

We’ve done our part, now we just have to see if the selection chooses us.”

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