(Photo: Jodi Vosika/ASU Lacrosse)
No. 12 Arizona State will finally take on No. 6 University of Colorado and No. 8 Colorado State in Denver this week after the games were postponed due to snow.
ASU is coming into this game with some momentum, winning back-to-back games decisively after bouncing back from a four-game losing streak.
Two major aspects of ASU’s game that improved in a big way during their winning streak is ball movement and defensive efficiency.
The Sun Devils have averaged 10 team assists per game in the last two games as opposed to their season average of just 4.8 team assists per contest.
Defensively, they’ve performed at another level, only allowing a 10 goals combined against
No. 19 San Diego State and No. 20 UNLV.
The rise of freshman goalkeeper Johnny Perlite has been a factor in fixing ASU’s defensive problems. He has accumulated 27 saves in the last two games.
Coach Todd MacRobbie has also made ASU’s faceoff game very dynamic in the past two games, switching off between junior Zac Mathien and freshman Trevor Driscoll frequently. The two have combined to win 66% of their faceoff match ups on the season.
As hot as the Sun Devils have been in the past two weeks, their top-10 Denver opponents have been even hotter.
What to look out for:
University of Colorado – The No. 6 Buffaloes are on a four-game win streak and are finding their rhythm at just the right time.
Colorado has been an offensive juggernaut all season, scoring an average of 13.3 goals per game.
The offense is led by their triple-threat senior attackman John Clayton, junior midfielder Jake Gonzales, and sophomore attackman Ben Wharton. These three combine for an average of 8.6 points per game.
Their weaknesses lie on the defensive end and the faceoff circle.
The Buffaloes allow nine goals against per game and win barely over 50 percent of their faceoff match ups.
In order for ASU to win this one, they need to take control of each possession, starting in the faceoff circle.
Colorado State – The No. 8 Rams have been tearing it up, they are currently on a seven-game win streak.
This squad’s ball movement has been crisp, averaging more than 11 team assists per game. The teamwork has shown all season long, with five players averaging at least one assist per contest.
Their defense has complemented their passing beautifully, allowing an average of six goals against per game behind junior goalkeeper Jake Bender, who averages nine saves per game.
CSU’s work in the faceoff circle is evident as they’ve won 72% of their faceoffs. Their primary faceoff specialist in sophomore Ryan Chamberlain, who has an impressive record of 143-48 this season.
If there was a weakness to be found, it would be on the offensive end. The Rams struggle to find the back of the net from time to time, averaging just over 8 goals per game.
“I’m expecting to see a tough group of blue collar workers that Colorado State has always had and always is. They’re not taking a step back,” MacRobbie said. “We always expect their best. They play a different physicality game.”
ASU upsets Colorado 12-9.
Colorado State defeats ASU 13-8.
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