Win over Colorado may carry ASU soccer to postseason

Cali Farquharson punched the winning goal past the Colorado keeper in double overtime last night – and may have also just punched Arizona State‘s ticket to the soccer postseason.

As time expired in the second overtime period, the freshman from Shadow Mountain High School in Phoenix used some flashy footwork to escape a trap by two defenders, spun toward the center of the goal where she found herself face-to-face with the Colorado goalkeeper, and used her left foot to scoot the ball into the far post.

With that 2-1 conference win over the Buffaloes, ASU will ride the momentum of a three-game win streak into their final regular-season contest.

The two teams moved back and forth between goals for the entire 45 minutes of the second half, and then two 10-minute OT periods, taking plenty of shots but failing to find the net.  And then, with seconds remaining on the clock, ASU pushed its record to 9-8-2 and enhanced its resume for a consideration for postseason play.

Following weekend play, they remain tied with Washington State for fourth place in the Pac-12.

Yesterday’s game, which didn’t wrap until well after darkness had set across the desert landscape behind the ASU soccer field, was the fourth overtime game for the Sun Devils and the seventh for the Buffaloes.  The Sun Devils haven’t lost an overtime, winning two of the games and tying two – and are a strong second-half team that has scored two-thirds of its goals in the second half or in overtime.

ASU scored first against Colorado when junior forward Devin Marshall headed in a free kick by senior defender Sierra Joseph in the 19th minute.  The two also combined in a similar fashion for one of ASU’s  goals in the previous game, a 4-1 win over Utah.

Colorado came back with a score just five minutes before the half ended, and that would be the last goal for the next 65 minutes, until Farquharson’s heroics with just 22 seconds left in the second overtime.

Marshall and Farquharson have led the ASU offense all season, combining for 16 of the team’s 30 goals.  Marshall leads the squad with nine goals this season, despite missing part of the season with injuries, and Farquharson is just two goals off her pace.

After being named to the Pac-10 All-Freshman Team her first year, Marshall has been plagued with injuries, missing seven games last season and five this year.  Despite that, she is just two goals from moving into a tie for ninth place on the ASU all-time scoring list.

“If we would have had her healthy for the entire season, there is no telling where we’d be right now,” says her head coach, Kevin Boyd, who earlier this season had predicted a break-out season for his budding star.

But where they’re at isn’t all that bad.  They wrap up the regular season Friday against Arizona – a team that Colorado beat.  The Wildcats have won just two conference matches and are currently tied with USC for ninth place in the Pac-12.

And the Devils will have the advantage of taking on the Cats on their own turf.

So after getting off to a rough 1-4-1 start to this season, the Sun Devils are now over the .500 hump and possibly just a win away from securing their third trip to the NCAA Tournament in four years.

(Photo: ASU Athletics)