Arizona State escapes SLU’s upset bid in final seconds, Lady Lions Fall, 2-1
Published 9:40 am Monday, August 23, 2021
The Southeastern Louisiana University women’s soccer team gave 27th-ranked Arizona State all they could handle before dropping a heartbreaker, 2-1, on Olivia Nguyen’s goal with just 45 seconds left in regulation Sunday night at Sun Devil Soccer Stadium in Tempe.
The Lady Lions (0-2) held strong in the first half as the match was scoreless at halftime despite Arizona State getting eight shots off to Southeastern’s one. SLU goalkeeper Nadine saved four shots in the first 45 minutes and defended three ASU corner kicks.
“After that first half, we just wanted to make sure we stayed disciplined in the second half,” said SLU head coach Chris McBride. “We did that for the most part in the second half with Nadine making some big saves and defenders making some big blocks.”
Early in the second half, Southeastern’s Ellie Williams gave the Lions the lead as she broke free in the middle of the field. The Frisco, Texas native scored off the right foot to the top left of the net to give SLU a 1-0 lead in the 49th minute.
“It was a great finish by Ellie,” said McBride. “But once that goal went in, I felt like we tried to protect the lead too early. They have so many threats and different spots to beat you from that you have to tip your hat to their aggressiveness.”
Arizona State (2-0) found themselves with their backs against the wall following their 6-1 win over Central Arkansas Thursday. The Sun Devils continued to be turned away by the Lady Lions’ defense for the better part of 80 minutes.
Southeastern was just 10 minutes away from pulling off the most improbable upset in program history. The Lady Lions are 1-22 all-time against Power 5 Conference teams (SEC, Big 10, Big 12, Pac 12, ACC) with the lone win coming against unranked LSU, 3-1, Aug. 29, 1999.
However, with SLU holding on to the 1-0 lead, Nguyen scored her first of two goals in the 79th minute sneaking one past Maher to tie the match.
The match appeared to be heading to overtime tied at 1-1 with under a minute to go in regulation. But Nguyen got a loss ball in front of the Lady Lions’ net to punch in for the game-winner as the Sun Devils escaped with the win to avoid the SLU upset bid.
“There was an incredible first touch that started that play in the box,” said McBride. “I thought we did everything right but they made a great play.”
Maher, the Dublin, Ireland native, was spectacular as she faced 33 shots and eight corner kicks. The senior finished with a career-high 14 saves breaking her previous high of 12 set Aug. 31, 2018 at UL Lafayette.
“Nadine is probably one of the best players I’ve ever been able to coach,” said McBride. “Her professionalism and her commitment to her teammates is remarkable. It was just a great chance to see her showcase that on a big stage and she was spectacular.”
The Lady Lions will make the 1500 mile trip back to Louisiana Monday morning before preparing for a pair of matches next week. SLU will host Alcorn State Friday night at 7 p.m. in the home opener before traveling to Louisiana Tech (1-1) Sunday at 1 p.m. in Ruston, Louisiana.
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