(Photo: Liesl Babicka/WCSN)
Phoenix, Arizona: Arizona State and University of Arizona. The rivalry. The end all.
However, that is not always the case for these two schools for all sports. Of course, it is a huge rivalry, but for men’s club lacrosse it’s a different story.
The Arizona State and Grand Canyon University rivalry is arguably one of the best rivalries in men’s club lacrosse across the country. Year after year students, faculty, friends, family, and alumni come out to see these vicious games take place.
For years GCU has wanted to play ASU in bigger sports like men’s basketball, but the schools have the rivalry needed for men’s club lacrosse.
GCU has defeated the ASU lacrosse team for now three consecutive years, not including GCU’s one playoff win against the Sun Devils.
Every year players and coaches prepare themselves for this big division game that can change the outcome of the postseason. The seniors especially want to make their final mark on a rivalry like this one.
“They help out the younger guys to step up in big moments,” said ASU sophomore attackman Jake Marthens. “We were ready for this (game), we practice all the time for it.”
The environment is always unbelievable for any player to play in. In the Sun Devils’ most recent loss on Mar. 31, the GCU stadium was filled with over 4,000 fans.
“It’s an awesome environment, the fans are awesome, it’s always cool to play a big game like that,” Marthens said.
On the other side of the field GCU freshman midfielder Cooper Snowbarger felt the same way as Marthens.
“It’s definitely one of the bigger games they have been stressing all season,” Snowbarger said. “I never had a rivalry like this in high school where it was an across town rivalry.”
Snowbarger also mentioned that it is fun to see how the upperclassmen know ASU players. It makes the rivalry like neighborhood baseball, competing against friends.
GCU and ASU try act like it is a normal game, and not to blow it out of the water.
“We did everything the same,” ASU head coach Todd MacRobbie. “These guys know that division games matter.”
The matchup against the two teams always gets physical, but at the end of the day it is just another game, no different from the rest.
“We’ve been practicing every day, practicing hard, scouting ASU to see what they will be doing for tonight, but really it’s just the same as every other week,” Snowbarger said.
For right now GCU has the up on ASU in the series, but that doesn’t hurt because now it only makes the rivalry bigger and better in the climb for ASU to tie the series.