Sun Devils edge Wildcats in tense soccer battle

TEMPE – Senior midfielder Alexandra Elston  tied her single-game career best with two goals as the Arizona State women’s soccer team defeated Arizona 2-1 in front of a school record crowd of 1,513. Friday’s match was the latest installment in the State Farm Territorial Cup Series.

After firing 19 shots against Washington in their most recent contest, the Sun Devils (8-3-2, 2-1-0 Pac-10) would add 13 more on Friday .

Rivalry contests are often distinguished for their physical play and this game was no different as the two teams combined for 28 fouls (Arizona 15, ASU 13), with 22 of those 28 fouls coming in the second half.

“It was everything we thought it would be,” ASU head coach Kevin Boyd said following the game. “It was a rivalry battle. It was two teams that were physical and fighting and scrapping and trying to find ways to goal. Both keepers played really well and came up with some spectacular saves.”

The Sun Devils would strike first in the 29th minute when freshman Holland Crook’s corner kick was headed in by Elston to put the Sun Devils up 1-0.

Both teams would up the intensity even more in the second half as the Sun Devils looked for a more secure advantage while Arizona was searching for the equalizer. The latter would occur in the 66th minute when Arizona’s Kristyn Magyar’s first goal of the season knotted the game at 1-1.

 Suddenly the game seemed to be following a script similar to the last two seasons in which both teams played to a 1-1 tie in regulation before going to extended minutes. Unfortunately for ASU, it was the Wildcats who came out on the winning end of both of those contests with 2-1 double overtime wins in both instances.

Elston made sure that history would not repeat itself when, in the 75th minute, she laced a free kick from just outside the box into the near post to put the Sun Devils back on top 2-1.

“You can’t hit a set piece better than that,” Boyd said of Elston’s second goal.

ASU sophomore goalkeeper Alyssa Gillmore made four saves in the winning effort.