(Photo: Liesl Babicka/WCSN)
The Sun Devils come into this season optimistic. After a disappointing year last year, they know that they have the talent to get back into the elite category that they miss from a few seasons ago. Here is a prediction of Arizona State’s starters for the 2017 season.
Goalie: Chris Roufanis
Roufanis enters the season as the only senior goalie in a group dominated by promising sophomores, including returners Johnny Perlite and Billy Kelly. Last season, most of the action went to Perlite. However, all goalies are getting very even reps in practice this spring.
We will see if he stays there, but after stepping up his game from last year, expect senior captain Roufanis to get the start and for the goalie position to be manned by different faces throughout the season.
Defense: Nathan Blair, Cade Norland, Taylor Rosales
The obvious starter in back is junior Nathan Blair. Blair is coming off a solid season and is the only upperclassman on defense for the Sun Devils this year.
Cade Norland and Taylor Rosales are two freshmen who will be getting “significant playing time” this season according to head coach Todd MacRobbie. Expect Norland and Rosales to step up and protect whoever may be in net for the Devils.
Midfield: Tommy Carrasco, Cody Essary, Zac Mathien
The midfield has a lot of promise this season for ASU. Tommy Carrasco is coming of a dominant sophomore season, where he put up 16 goals and a team high 14 assists.
Zac Mathien was also a sophomore bright spot last season at the faceoff-man position. He showcased his strength with a team 34 ground balls and 161 faceoff wins to only 79 lost. Lastly, expect junior transfer Cody Essay to be a stud for the Devils after racking up 65 goals, 38 assists, and 59 ground balls in his first two seasons at NAU.
Other key contributors to the midfield this year will be freshmen Brandon Rodgers and Emerson Roth, sophomores Daniel Cava and Wes Schuler, junior Alex Rocha, and senior Trevor Sciottto. This unit can fill the massive shoes left by last season’s stars Adam Beauchamp and Archie Henry.
Attack: Patrick Haviland, Rhett Rodgers, Jake Marthens
These boys were certainly impressive last season. They were able to rack up a combined 92 points as a unit and should surpass that this year. Jake Marthens and Patrick Haviland are sophomores now and one year wiser.
Rhett Rodgers is now a senior and ready to lead this unit and make Haviland and Marthens even better than they already are. Juniors Montana Giffen and Henry Griffith should also make in impact in ASU’s attack this season.