(Photo: Jodi Vosika/ASU Lacrosse)
Arizona State lacrosse’s 2013 season was a memorable one as the team recorded its highest win total ever. But what will be missing heading into next year? Whose shoes will need to be filled?
Fortunately for ASU, only a few players graduated. On the other hand, it’s not an easy bunch to replace.
Zach Scarano, midfielder:
Scarano is the very definition of a role player. He took a minimal role in 2013, allowing the team around him to run the show on the field. His 15 points put him at eighth on the team in that category, but he certainly made an impact.
Scarano was regarded as the epitome of toughness during his time at ASU. No injury would bring him down, and no moment of pressure could shake him. As a coach, a teammate, or a fan, having that much reliability in any one guy on the field is definitely a major plus.
Ben Martynec, midfielder:
The loss of Martynec is most devastating because he was instrumental to the Arizona State offensive scheme. He ran the point, and helped to control the tempo of the offense. However, one of the fortunate turns in this story of his transfer is that the time he missed last year due to injury gave the offense a chance to adjust to life without him.
Now the burden of the offensive midfield will rest on Logan Quinn, Kyle Denis, and Cooper Pickell, with some help from younger names like Adam Beauchamp. Finn Wells is also a name worth keeping an eye on. While the sophomore may not have seen the field much last year as a freshman, he possesses a lot of talent and can address ASU’s need for a midfielder after losing both Martynec and Scarano.
Jon Little, defenseman:
Little was a name you wouldn’t hear often on broadcasts, or even in conversations about the team. In lacrosse, the best defender you can be is one that is never seen from or heard from. Little was so diligent in his defensive work that you could go an entire game without hearing from him.
The physicality that he brought with his explosive checks, and his effectiveness in collecting ground balls will be an absence that Zach Mendoza and Ian Connell are going to have to fill.
Payson Clark, attackman:
If you need to know the impact that Clark made on the field, look no further than his mind-boggling 2013 numbers: 66 goals (first in the entire Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association) and 87 total points (third in the MCLA).
Off the field, Clark was a captain and helped hold the team together. For a superstar, he displayed incredible humility. His personal determination was admirable, and led to him becoming an elite offensive threat.
Imagining any one player replicating this season of his is hard to do. He will be missed more than any of the 2013 graduates, and the combination of Justin Straker and Dan Davis will need to step up their game in order to match the defensive intensity that will come from defensemen no longer needing to shut down the dominant Clark.
Sam Lockett, face-off specialist:
You can look on a stat sheet and write off Lockett as a failed face-off specialist who never saw the field. You can also look deeper than that into the ASU locker room, where Lockett made his biggest impact.
He was a vocal leader, one that supplied rallying cries and inspired his teammates. His presence on the sidelines is going to be missed as one of the strong points in this team’s bonding.
You can reach Trey Lanthier on Twitter @TreyLanthier or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.