(Photo: Jodi Vosika/ASU Lacrosse)
On Saturday, No. 1 Grand Canyon University will face off against No. 3 Arizona State University. The numbers point in GCU’s favor, but history holds ASU as the favorite.
Any two teams in the top five playing each other is bound to be a great clash, but this match separates itself from the rest. GCU has the best offensive duo in the nation, senior attack Carson Barton and junior attackman Dean Fairall. The two of them are combining for a total of 117 points as they are first and second in the MCLA in points per game average. Fairall and Barton have each dished out 25 assists, helping their teammates to healthy servings, as GCU has eight players with 10+ points. Both of these stars are coming into the game hot. Barton posted 12 points against No. 11 Colorado State and 6 goals against then-No. 1 Colorado with Dean Fairall adding 10 points against the Buffaloes.
It’s a different story for the Sun Devils as they are coming into this game having most recently destroyed Texas 16-2 which was expected, however senior All-American attackman Dan Davis has only put up four points in his past two games. He was held without a goal against the Longhorns. The Sun Devil offense has been good, but not great. The team doesn’t have any players over 30 points – by comparison, GCU has three such players.
It is fair to conclude that GCU has the better offense, but what goes on in the face-off circle will be an all out brawl. Senior Zack Handy and junior Ron Hamwey, two of the elite face-off specialists in the MCLA will square off against each other for the first time this year and expect a battle. Both of these specialists have very similar statistics: Hamwey sports a .719 winning percentage on his draws, Handy .711. Needless to say, it is going to be fun watching these two go at it.
The game will be played at Grand Canyon University which obviously gives the Lopes a slight advantage, but ASU has been away from home for much of the year and post an average of 12.33 goals in away games. Although that is a convincing number, when GCU is on its home field, the Lopes are only letting up an average of 5.25 goals a game. Whatever the outcome may be, the numbers predict that this will be a game to remember. The live broadcast can be found here.