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No. 4 Virginia awaits soccer on the road

When ASU women’s soccer head coach Kevin Boyd was asked if his team thought they could upset No. 4 Virginia (4-0), there was no hesitation in his response.

“Yes,” Boyd said.

The team will need to take this confidence with them when they play one of their toughest games all season at Virginia on Friday. The challenge will provide the Sun Devils (2-0) with an idea of how good of a team they can be.

“It just gives us a really good opportunity to gauge where we’re at,” redshirt junior forward Sierra Cook said.

On the other hand, Cook said, it’s just another game for the Sun Devils.

“We don’t look at any game as being bigger than another game, and it’s just one more game to play,” Cook said.

Junior midfielder Taylor McCarter agrees with Cook about approaching Virginia as just another opponent on their schedule.

“We’re going on the ‘one game, one practice’ motto that Kevin’s instilled,” McCarter said.

The biggest question mark for ASU will be possession. Boyd said the Sun Devils should focus on improving their ball-controlling ability in order to stay competitive.

“We have to keep the ball a lot better than we did on Sunday,” Boyd said. “We need to play our way, so we can’t get caught either chasing the whole time or turning the ball over immediately when we get it.”

Time of possession is one of the most important stats in soccer. The team’s goal each week is to turn the ball over as little as possible.

Actually executing that on the field is a different story.

McCarter said that controlling the ball is basically the entire game of soccer.

“As long as you have possession, 90 percent of the time, the game’s going to go your way,” McCarter said.  “You’ll have that other 10 percent where you get the fluke goal.”

Virginia has jumped up to No. 4 in the NSCAA coaches poll after starting the season ranked 10th. The Cavaliers have outscored their opponents 19-3 in four games, including a 9-1 romp over Liberty. However, Virginia won two of its games by one goal each.

The Cavaliers are led by sixth-year senior goalie Chantel Jones. Jones has 33 career shutouts and allowed 0.61 goals per game coming into the 2011 season.

Jones redshirted her first year with the program and missed her third year to play internationally at the U-20 World Cup.

Virginia has a slew of players with international experience including junior forward Carolina Miller and senior forward Lauren Alwine.

Miller leads the Cavaliers with four goals on the young season and Alwine has 33 career assists.

Virginia’s soccer program has been a model of consistency, making 17 consecutive trips to NCAA tournament.

After the daunting task at Virginia, ASU should have a much easier game when they travel to Norfolk, Va. to play Old Dominion on Sunday.

Old Dominion went 4-12-1 last season and is 0-2-1 to start 2011. They play in the Colonial Athletic Association, the same conference as VCU and George Mason.


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Sun Devils at Cavaliers


When: 7 p.m. ET


Where: Charlottesville, Va.


Virginia Update: With a win over the Sun Devils on Friday the Cavaliers will be off to their best start since 2004. Virginia’s roster is loaded with international talent and should have a lot of speed.





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