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ASU soccer hopes to keep winning streak alive against University of Washington

The Sun Devils look to build upon their total 7-6-5 record against the Huskies in their first conference matchup of the season

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ASU now-graduate student forward Jessica Hale (31) and Washington now-senior forward Karlee Stueckle (30) fight for the ball at the Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe on Sunday, March 7, 2021. ASU and Washington tied 1-1 after double overtime.

ASU soccer will begin Pac-12 conference play on Friday against the University of Washington

The team finished its non-conference play 8-1, its second most wins after nine games, behind the 2000 season when the Sun Devils went 9-0.

Currently, ASU is on a three-game win streak after last week's overtime win against Colorado College. 

After just scraping away with a 1-0 win over Colorado College, ASU is focused on getting back to the basics and competing at the level the team is capable of.

"We are focused on things we can control like the basics," said senior forward Olivia Nguyen. "Coming off our win against Colorado we didn't execute the way we wanted to."

Washington is coming off a 1-0 win against Seattle University. Washington is 2-4-1 overall this season, including losses against No. 2 Duke University and No. 4 University of North Carolina.

Last spring, ASU made the NCAA tournament and had its best season under head coach Graham Winkworth. The Sun Devils tied the Huskies 1-1 in their last home match on March 7, 2021. The last time ASU traveled to Seattle in 2019, the team lost 1-0. 

"We are excited to see how much we've improved from our successful season last spring and to carry our momentum forward," Nguyen said.

From previous matchups, the Huskies have been a composed, athletic team that possesses a strong midfield. The Huskies made the NCAA tournament for the second year in a row last season and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen round. Washington ranked No.19 in preseason polls and is now unranked due to losing games against Duke and North Carolina.

Historically, the matchups between the Sun Devils and the Huskies have been pretty even, with the Sun Devils having a 7-6-5 record against the Huskies since the two teams started playing each other on Oct. 29, 1999. 

The Sun Devils are focused on keeping the same mentality they have had throughout their opening nine games along with keeping possession and working as a team to press the Huskies when they lose possession. 

"We all enjoy playing these (Pac-12) games because it forces us to level up and brings the best out of each and every one of us," senior forward Cori Sullivan said.

ASU hopes to continue to utilize its bench on Friday and as the team continues into next week.

"We continue to pick up major injuries so we continue to have to utilize the whole squad and embrace the next player up mentality," Winkworth said. "It's going to be very important for us to stay strong, and everyone needs to be ready."

ASU continues to climb in the national rankings, now sitting at No.15 , the team's highest rank in program history. At the start of the season ASU was ranked No. 21. 

"I'm delighted for the players that their hard work is being rewarded," Winkworth said. "It's great for the program but I'm more focused on where we are in six to seven weeks from now."

The Sun Devils continue to prove that they deserve to be a top contender in the Pac-12. With nearly every player returning from last season, their mentality hasn't changed despite the adversity they have faced with multiple injured players.

"All of us really just want to go out there and fight and play for each other, and I think that helps us as a team continue to do our best and fight for a victory," Sullivan said.

ASU takes on Washington on Sept. 24 at 7 p.m. MST in Seattle. 

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