(Photo: Jodi Vosika/ASU Lacrosse)
No. 10 Arizona State finished the 2015-2016 regular season in dominant fashion, winning four out of their last five games.
The Sun Devils made several adjustments after losing four straight games, but none more significant than switching the starting goalkeeper to freshman Johnny Perlite.
With Perlite on the bench, ASU’s record was 2-4; with him as the starter, ASU is 4-1.
ASU’s defense has improved overall since Perlite’s emergence, allowing just 6.2 goals against per game as opposed to the nine goals against per game.
Coach Todd MacRobbie threw Perlite right into the fire for his first minutes of action against a flaming hot Grand Canyon University team. Even though he didn’t expect playing time, Perlite played well, finishing the game for the Sun Devils with four saves in about a quarter and a half of play.
“I didn’t think I would ever have a chance at getting in at GCU,” Perlite said. “It was a huge surprise.”
Perlite got his first start of the season against San Diego State University and ended up with 16 saves. The first-year player had confidence in himself right away and his mindset hasn’t changed.
“As a goalie you always need confidence while you play, so I try to always come into a game with a confident mindset of stopping every shot,” Perlite said. “After a goal is scored all I think about is getting the next save.”
The 5-foot-10 freshman is aware of the goalie depth within Arizona State’s roster and that only motivates him to work that much harder.
“I’ve been working harder to keep the starting job since we are very deep in goalies and we know we could all play,” Perlite said.
For most of the season, one of ASU’s biggest problems was performing down the stretch. Perhaps the most impressive statistic of Perlite’s young career is his ability to deliver in the clutch. He allows only 1.2 goals against per game in the fourth quarter.
Going into the first round of the SLC Tournament against the USC Trojans, Perlite and company are thoroughly preparing for the biggest game of the year.
“The team is preparing for USC by watching film and running their scout offense and defense during practice,” Perlite said. “We’re all getting mentally prepared for a good matchup on Sunday.”
ASU has the momentum going into their next game and with a goalkeeper like Johnny Perlite between the pipes, the Sun Devil faithful can be confident that the odds are in their favor.
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