(Photo: Liesl Babicka/WCSN)
The Arizona State men’s club lacrosse team is gearing up for the 2017 season. As the new year begins, fresh faces have stepped into leadership roles for the squad.
The new Sun Devil captains for this season are seniors Rhett Rodgers, Zach Long, Kyle Corona, Chris Roufanis, and junior Zac Mathien.
Rodgers is headed into his senior season; however, it will only be his third year with Sun Devil Lacrosse. He is a native of Arizona, hailing from Scottsdale where he attended Chaparral High School.
Rodgers is one of the three starting attackmen for ASU. In his 32 games for the Sun Devils, he has compiled 54 total goals and 17 total assists.
“We’re going to be solid,” Rodgers said about the offensive attack. “Our chemistry is getting a lot better. We’re starting to click, trying to build off of last season’s success as a unit.”
Zach Long has spent his whole collegiate career with the Sun Devils having played in 50 games.
Long has collected four total goals and two assists in three years as a long-stick-midfielder.
After falling short to No. 1 Chapman in last year’s MCLA National Tournament, Long is prepared to meet the Panthers for the fourth time in his career this season.
“We struggled with them last year. We have a ton of returners,” Long said. “A lot of big players are going to step up this year, including transfers. We have a strong incoming freshman class so as long as everyone plays their part, we should all do well.”
Kyle Corona is a senior from Middle Island, New York, who also plays the long-stick-midfielder position.
Corona spoke about his last season as a Sun Devil, saying, “It’s exciting in the sense that I’ve been here for four years now and I’ve played a lot of lacrosse throughout my life, but I don’t know what I’m going to do when it’s over. I’m definitely looking forward to this last ride, we brought in a lot of talent so I think it’s going to be a good year for us.”
As a captain, Corona is determined to get the team back to the national championship game.
“Obviously, the national championship is always the end goal, especially for us,” Corona said. “We’re right there every year so that goal is definitely reachable.”
Senior goalkeeper Chris Roufanis has had a good amount of experience throughout his career as a Sun Devil, playing in 48 games so far.
Roufanis has 179 total saves over the past three seasons. Besides good play, his leadership qualities are what makes him stand out to other players.
“I feel like I’m more of a people’s captain,” Roufanis said. “I help the coach translate what he wants to say and help the freshman understand and figure out where they got to go.”
There hasn’t been a confirmation from head coach Todd MacRobbie on who the starting goalkeeper will be for the Sun Devils, but Roufanis is not worried about the outcome.
“We don’t know who’s starting but I think coach is comfortable with any five of us playing,” Roufanis said. “I’m sure we are very supportive of each other and we’ll be happy with whatever the outcome is.”
Last, but not least, is the only junior captain, Zac Mathien. He is a midfielder for the Sun Devils and is the go-to man when it comes to faceoffs.
“I was really surprised. I think it’s awesome that guys voted me into this role so I definitely want to live up to their expectations and help lead this team to a final four and a national championship game.” Mathien said about being a younger leader for ASU.
Mathien has played in 32 games and totaled five goals and three assists in his collegiate career. Last season, his faceoff numbers were staggering as he boasted a 161-79 record.
Arizona State is ranked No. 8 in the MCLA Division-I Preseason Coaches Poll. The first game of the season is at home against Florida State on Friday, February 10, at 7:00 P.M.