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Arizona soccer beats ASU for the sixth straight time, now awaits Selection Monday

Jill Aguilera smiles in an ASU player’s direction
Photo by Ryan Kelapire

TEMPE — No matter the year, no matter the venue, Arizona soccer always has ASU’s number. The Wildcats cruised past the Sun Devils 2-0 on Friday in Tempe for their sixth straight win over their in-state rival, a streak that dates all the way back to 2015.

Friday’s victory was actually Arizona’s second over the Sun Devils this season. Due to a COVID-altered Pac-12 schedule, they played each other twice. The Wildcats won the first matchup in Tucson, which was considered a non-conference game, 1-0 on March 19.

In Friday’s rematch, a rare showdown at Sun Devil Stadium (yes, the football one), Arizona was led by their dynamic senior duo of Jada Talley and Jill Aguilera.

Talley gave the Wildcats the lead in the 15th minute by bolting onto a long ball from Sabrina Enciso and chipping it over the keeper. Aguilera added the insurance goal in the 60th minute, taking a touch on a cross by Talley deep in the box and poking it past the keeper.

It was Aguilera’s ninth goal of the season, tying the career high she set in 2019. She and Talley now have 24 career goals, moving them past Jazmine Ponce and Candice Wilks for fourth-most in Arizona soccer history.

Talley, who has six goals and six assists this season, led the Wildcats with five shots as they held a 13-9 differential for the game. They also generated a mammoth 8-1 edge in corner kicks, taking four in each half.

Arizona finishes the regular season 9-5-1 overall and 4-5-1 in the Pac-12. ASU finishes 8-5-2 and 4-4-2, respectively.

Both squads will learn Monday if they’ve done enough to earn an NCAA Tournament bid. One well-known analyst believes Arizona is unlikely to make their fourth straight appearance despite Friday’s win.

“A very, very outside chance,” Chris Henderson of told me after the game. “They have bubble wins over Stanford and ASU, but eighth in the league is a hard sell. I just can’t see any team that finished in bottom half of their league getting in with a 48-team field.”