Balanced attack keeps ASU undefeated, first test upcoming

Despite slow starts, the Sun Devils have been rolling so far behind efforts of Dan Davis and Cooper Pickell.

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Updated: February 27, 2014
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(Photo: Debbie Braasch/ASU Lacrosse)

Arizona State’s 12-5 win over Minnesota-Duluth puts the Sun Devils at 3-0 on the year, and making it four out of the last five seasons that the team has started with at least three consecutive wins. However, ASU’s next opponent is No. 8 Chapman, who the Sun Devils have lost back-to-back regular season games against.

ASU is dominating on offense and defense, scoring an average of over 17 goals a game, while allowing only five a game. Of course, while those games haven’t come against the cream of the crop in the MCLA, two of those three teams were ranked in the top-15 of the MCLA’s preseason poll.

Davis still on fire

Dan Davis put up another stellar performance against UMD on Saturday with four goals. He now has 12 on the season, with four assists. While comparisons could be drawn to Payson Clark’s coming-out party from 2013 (Clark had 14 goals, two assists in his first three games last season), it’s also important to remember Davis is still only in his junior year.

Slow starts plague Devils 

Despite the great margin of victory overall, ASU has struggled in the first quarter of each game they’ve played. The Sun Devils haven’t owned a lead larger than two goals in any of their three games. However, the team has turned it around in impressive fashion, as they are outscoring opponents by a phenomenal margin of 24 goals to two in second quarter action.

Trying on some new shoes

Logan Quinn is at attack, and while it’s not news anymore, it’s still worth noting how drastic his turnaround was, from a primary distributer to a go-to scorer. Coming into this season, Quinn had never scored more than four goals in the season’s opening three games. In 2014? He’s already doubled that, sitting with a nice 8 goals. He’s averaging the highest goals per game of his career.

Matt Wallace emerges

Since the start of spring, freshman defenseman Matt Wallace has been receiving praise from the coaching staff for his stellar skill set. It wasn’t until the game against UMD that Wallace was seen completely in his element. With only this season left on Ian Connell’s playing clock, the team will likely be looking to Wallace as its next lock-up one-on-one defender.

Midfielders’ galore

Outside of Cooper Pickell, the midfield hasn’t seen any real star power. However, the depth and consistency throughout all of the starting lines is undeniable. Kyle Denis has nine points so far and presents a constant deep threat for any goalie. John McCallum and Conor McLaughlin have risen as ball-handlers who can generate offense when necessary. Adam Beauchamp is a speedster that keeps an entire defense on its toes, which was on full display against UMD as he broke a scoreless tie late in the first quarter. There’s really no shortage of experience and versatility on this midfield.

DeLuca strong until 4th

Chris DeLuca had looked excellent through the first two games, and through the first three quarters against UMD he had only allowed one goal. The wheels started to come off a little bit in the fourth, however, as he let in four goals to the Bulldogs during the final 15-minute span of the game. ASU was sitting on a comfortable double-digit lead when the fall-through began, but it was still uncharacteristic of the goalie, who had only allowed seven total goals in the previous weekend. He’ll look to keep the strong start to the season going against No. 8 Chapman on Sunday.

Weekly shout-outs: UMD game

McCallum scored the first goal of his career. He had one assist in each game prior to that. Sophomore Tyler Buck found his way into the scoring column for the first time in 2014, after scoring twice last year. Senior midfielder Nick Hillier notched a game-high seven ground balls, the second-highest total of his career (eight against UNLV in 2012). Denis tied his career-high for assists in a game with three, a feat he originally accomplished against Arizona in last year’s regular-season finale. Davis’ 5.33 points per game has him first in the Southwestern Lacrosse Conference (7th in MCLA).

You can reach Trey Lanthier on Twitter @TreyLanthier or by email at treylanthier@gmail.com.

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