Farquharson nets hat-trick as ASU soccer upsets #23 UA

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                </div>  The stands were packed at Mulcahy Stadium on the University of Arizona campus as a record crowd of 1,302 fans showed up over the weekend to watch what they […]<!-- AddThis Sharing Buttons below -->
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The stands were packed at Mulcahy Stadium on the University of Arizona campus as a record crowd of 1,302 fans showed up over the weekend to watch what they hoped would be a season-wrapping victory by their No. 23-ranked Wildcats over rival Arizona State, thus laying claim to a Territorial Cup point.

But Cali Farquharson had other ideas.

ASU’s senior forward scored the three goals that were the margin of victory in the 4-1 upset win by the Sun Devils. It was the third hat-trick of her career and the three goals tied the single-game school record – again.  It’s the third time she has accomplished that feat.

“To play your rival the last game of your senior year and get a hat-trick is incredible,” said ASU head coach Kevin Boyd after the game.  “What a wonderful way for her to go out.”

Farquharson, a local favorite from Shadow Mountain High School in Phoenix, put an exclamation mark on the year by almost single-handedly beating rival Arizona in the final game of the season, and cap a career that saw her rise from being named the team’s Newcomer of the Year and Pac-12 All-Freshman in 2012 to going on to become the face of the Sun Devil program.

Despite missing 4 1/2 games this season due to injury, she still contributed 10 goals to bring her career total to 44. The biological sciences major is now the first soccer player in Sun Devil history to record double-digit goal totals all four years of her career.

And this season she was playing on a team that really spread the scoring around.  Fifteen different players scored at least one goal this season, the most in school history.

Thanks to Farquharson, the Friday night victory could easily be considered the biggest upset of the season.  The Sun Devils were unranked and a .500 team (8-8-1) coming into the season finale.  The Wildcats were nationally-ranked and had lost just four games all year, finishing the season 12-5-2.

This is, by most criteria, one of the best seasons ever for Arizona soccer.  Their six conference wins put this team in a tie for most in program history and earned the Cats a fourth-place finish in the Pac-12.

But this ASU group figured out how to deal with their rivals from the south.  The senior class finishes 3-1 against the Cats.

Farquharson wasted no time in putting the Devils out front in the finale, scoring on a breakaway just 50 seconds into the game.  Another local recruit, senior McKenzie Berryhill from Greenway High School in Phoenix, pushed the score to 2-0 with a goal off a header in the 37th minute.

Two more scores from Farguharson, one as the second half got underway and another just four minutes later, put the Wildcats into an 0-4 hole that was too much to overcome.

Arizona didn’t score until the 59th minute, when a Jaden DeGracie cross went to Hannah Stevens, who used a header to get the ball to senior Hayley Estopare, who scored to avoid the shutout. DeGracie, a junior midfielder from Highland High School in Gilbert, was credited with an assist on the play, thus tying the program’s career-assists record with 19. Seven of those came this year, which also ties for fourth-most in a single season.

Stevens is also a local athlete.  The 6’0″ junior played at Desert Vista High School in Phoenix.

While the ASU offense was busy attacking, redshirt senior goal keeper Chandler Morris was hard at work protecting the net.  She had six saves on the game, five of those in the first half.

The sting from this loss was lessened yesterday when the Wildcats received word they not only got an invitation to play in the NCAA Tournament, but will get to host a first-round game.  That Nov. 13 game with Northern Colorado will be the first ever hosted at Mulcahy Stadium.

“We have been working really hard,” said head coach Tony Amato, “and the idea of hosting an NCAA game may have been far from a lot of people’s minds, but we knew if we tried to win every game we played we could eventually get there.  Making the tournament is one thing, getting to play at home is a whole other thing.”

Arizona made it into the tournament last season, losing to Texas A&M in the second round.

And most of those players, 22 in all, are back again to take another run at the post-season.  But this time with a core of talented and tested seniors that know what it will take to make a deeper run.

(Photo: Arizona Athletics)