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ASU Lacrosse: Johnny Perlite has emerged as a defensive catalyst for the Sun Devils

(Photo: Jacob Franklin/WCSN) 

Just over a year ago, Johnny Perlite came off ACL surgery. Now, he continues to have an outstanding season for Arizona State men’s club lacrosse.

Perlite is a northern California native from Clayton, CA. He attended the famed high school of De La Salle.

The 5-foot-10-inch, 175 pound sophomore is in the Arizona State University W.P Carey School to earn his degree in Business.

“The whole school feel is really great,” Perlite said. “I came here for business and obviously, the school is great here. Lacrosse is always great, too.”

There’s been no doubt Perlite has been great at lacrosse for the Sun Devils. He has a 62.9 save percentage through nine games played this season.

His 124 saves and 43 ground balls is nothing to look over either. Perlite is a brick wall between the pipes.

“I think Johnny’s play has been huge for us.” Head Coach Todd MacRobbie said. “Some of the saves that he’s been making have kept us in games.”

Perlite has been around the game of lacrosse for quite some time now. He picked up the sport in third grade and has played goalkeeper for 10 years now.

Despite going through the ACL injury, Perlite was able to play in nine games during the 2016 season and accumulated a 58.9 save percentage with 103 saves as a freshman.

“The game experience last year definitely helped me in that half year I thought and playing in playoffs was huge.” Perlite said.

Arizona State men’s club lacrosse is now 6-4 through 10 games. The team is riding a four-game win streak and Perlite is a big reason why.

“We are starting to pick it up the second half of the year, started off 2-4 and now we’ve got that 4-0 run.” Perlite said.

When ASU played then-No. 2 Colorado earlier in the season, the sophomore had arguably his best game of the year so far. Perlite secured the 11-7 upset with 17 saves for a 70.8 save percentage.

The road doesn’t get any easier for the Sun Devils however. ASU will take on three ranked SLC divisional rivals to close out the regular season.

“These are three huge games, SLC South games, which we need to win real bad to get that seeding for the SLC playoffs,” Perlite said, looking forward to the match-ups.

The Sun Devils will go on the road to take on No. 21 San Diego State and No. 3 Grand Canyon University. The team then plays its final regular season at home against in-state rival No. 20 University of Arizona.

Defensively, ASU has been solid. There are still a few things to tighten up going forward.

“The UNLV game where we lost the big lead (12-5 at one point and won 12-11), we need to fix that as a whole, including myself,” Perlite said. “If we get that fixed, we’ll be fine because we can get above these teams, we just have to keep that lead we get.”

Perlite has explored his game more this season and has been bringing the ball up the field more to start the offensive breakout.

This plays a huge part in the game plan. The Sun Devils can rely on Perlite to make quick moves out of the crease and get the ball to his teammates headed toward the offensive zone.

“I think I can do it with these guys in front of me. When we play together, there’s nothing that can stop us.” Perlite said.

Perlite has turned into one of the best goalkeepers in the nation. Behind his play, Arizona State men’s club lacrosse team will try to make a run for an MCLA National Championship win this season.

“He can light up the team with some of the saves he makes,” MacRobbie said. “I think Johnny’s play is really how he leads by example.”

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