(Photo: Liesl Babicka/WCSN)
The ASU men’s club lacrosse team’s 5-game winning streak ended as they lost to rival Grand Canyon University 9-7 Friday. Here is an in depth breakdown of what happened during the highly anticipated SLC matchup.
The Sun Devils played in their usual 3-1-2 formation against the Lopes. Instead of senior attackmen Rhett Rogers playing the crease, head coach Todd MacRobbie used Rogers sparingly and only played him during extra man opportunities due to health concerns. During ASU’s one extra man possession, Rogers was just moving off-ball on the crease instead of hanging on the perimeter at his usual spot, and the Sun Devils did not capitalize on the penalty.
Coach MacRobbie spoke on the health status of Rogers after the game.
“It’s day to day based on him,” MacRobbie said. “We have to see, I mean the nice thing for us is we have a whole 14 days till our next game so that will be good for him.”
ASU ran two midfield lines at Grand Canyon. Their first-line midfielders featured freshman Emerson Roth, sophomore Ben Parietti and junior Tommy Carrasco. This unit did a nice job of dodging and distributing in the first quarter. The Sun Devils second midfield line of of freshman Brandon Rogers, junior Wes Shuler and junior Montana Giffen received increased runs during the game.
Offensively the Sun Devils started the game on a 2-0 run with goals from Carrasco and sophomore attackman Jake Marthens. Carrasco and Marthens would both finish with hat tricks.
Marthens discussed the offense’s performance against the Lopes.
“I think we got too comfortable, what Coach was saying after the game. We got those two early ones and thought we can hold it for a little longer. I think we just have to push the tempo a little bit better against these guys,” Marthens said. “I think we just got to play the way we know how to play; I mean it didn’t show tonight but next time we play these guys.”
The offense went scoreless in the second and third quarter due to GCU dominating possession. During those scoreless quarters there was a string of Sun Devil offensive possessions where the ASU midfielders would dodge past the first defender and put a shot on goal. The Sun Devil midfielders were winning their matchups on the perimeter using craft stick fakes when dodging.
The results of these possessions was either a shot on the goal that was saved by GCU junior goalie Alex Larson, or a turnover.
It wasn’t till the fourth quarter when ASU started pumping in goals. Down 9-5 with 2:19 left in the game, ASU went on a late game rally when Carrasco scored his final goal of the night, and then Trevor Driscoll would win the ensuing faceoff and assist junior midfielder Ryan Bradway on the crease. Despite these two late goals the offense would finish the night only putting in seven.
“I think the defense did well,’’ MacRobbie said. “I said whoever’s team held the other team under ten would win, unfortunately both teams were held under ten, and we were the lower, but I think our defense did well.”
It was a solid game for the defense. They held GCU under ten but senior attackman Joe Balestrieri, scored a hat trick. GCU is now likely to be the number one seed in the SLC tournament. ASU will play University of Arizona April 15, to close out the regular season at home.