(Photo: Debbie Braasch/ASU Lacrosse)
Although the Sun Devils are undefeated in season play, each first quarter in the past three games has been lacking in points. Their dominance doesn’t show until the second quarter comes around, which could be problematic when facing better teams.
In the previous game against the Bulldogs, the first quarter was closed out with only a one-goal lead for the Sun Devils. If ASU expects to beat better teams, such as No. 8 Chapman on Sunday, this will have to change quickly.
The players need to be more focused during the beginning of the game. This problem is being addressed, said ASU head coach Chris Malone. The team has been scrimmaging early in practices in order to get the players used to game situations.
“Once they’re done stretching we run a scrimmage,” Malone said. “Hopefully that helps them get their head on straight earlier.”
Senior captain Nick Hillier is happy with the approach taken during practice, and thinks the Sun Devils will be successful as long as the focus is there the entire game.
“Sometimes in practice we don’t always start it quick, and that results in the same show in the games,” Hillier said, “We’re trying to do scrimmages right away, get guys going, make sure guys are focused in stretching, and we’re working on getting the starts a little quicker to make sure everyone’s ready to go at the first whistle.”
Throughout practice, Malone stressed how crucial turnovers are. The attackers are trying to limit the amount of turnovers at the beginning of the game, to push toward more goals in the first quarter.
Senior captain Logan Quinn sees turnovers as the primary problem that ASU faces during the start of the game.
“In the first quarters of the first three games, we’ve turned the ball over too much,” Quinn said. “If we limit those and keep getting the shots that we’re getting, I think we’ll put a lot more points on the board in those first quarters, and get the team riled up.”
Senior long-stick midfielder Brian Braasch sees a lot of improvement on the slow starts.
“We just need to work more on finishing our shots than starting out slow,” Braasch said. “We’ve been coming out fast and getting a lot of shots, but it’s more about putting the shots on the cage and making sure our defense is coming out as fast as they usually are.”
If the Sun Devils are able to keep the ball in its possession early on in the game, a quick start is easily in its reach. As long as the defense continues to start the game strong and offense sinks its shots, Arizona State will be a force to be reckoned with from the start of the game, up until the final whistle.
You can reach Megan Plain by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @MeganPlain