Soccer squad to host SoCal schools

Soccer (09-26-08)
Published On:
Friday, September 26, 2008
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It wouldn’t be hard to understand if the ASU soccer team felt cheated.

It wouldn’t be the least bit surprising if it toted around a little bitterness. As hard as the injury bug has bit the team this season, a less than cheerful attitude would be expected.

But that’s not the case at all.

“We have experienced a rash of injuries this season,” coach Kevin Boyd said. “Two players came in with injuries, and four have since developed them. It’s like our team doctor says though, ‘You go through cycles. Some years you will have no injuries, and some years you will have a lot.’”

The Sun Devils (4-2-3) — a small team in numbers to begin with — have been dealt their share of adversity this season.

“The injuries, added to the fact that we are really young, have been things we’ve had to combat this season,” Boyd said. “Our characters have been tested.”

Among those that have been injured are redshirt freshman forward Erica Long, who remained in a knee brace after last year’s anterior cruciate ligament injury.

Junior goalkeeper Briana Silvestri missed the first three games this season due to an injury. Freshman forward Courtney Tinnin is out for the season after tearing her ACL and sophomore defender Jessie Richardson is currently out too.

Still, the team has managed to remain unbeaten in its last five games, boasting solid performances and a more mature attitude.

“One of our values is our mental toughness and embracing adversity,” Boyd said. “We don’t try to dodge it. We recognize it for what it is, and we overcome it. All things considered, our team is doing very well — there is a lot of strong character.”

This weekend, the Sun Devils continue their homestand with games against No. 20 UCSB (6-3-0) and Long Beach State (5-2-2).

“They will be tough,” sophomore forward Karin Volpe said. “We are working on our attack, trying to be more dynamic and creative. We’re hoping to get our forwards to score some so we can come out with the win.”

UCSB is coming off of a 2-1 overtime loss to the University of Hawaii and CSULB scored three goals in the final 16 minutes of its game Sunday to defeat Utah State, 3-0.

“[UCSB] is a very good team,” Boyd said. “They are looking to be as good as the Pac-10 teams we play. We know Friday’s game will be a challenge. We are certainly the underdogs.”

Reach the reporter at Emiley.Darling@asu.edu.