(Photo: Jodi Vosika/ASU Lacrosse)
In the opening round of the SLC Tournament, it was No. 10 Arizona State handling unranked USC 16-0.
The Sun Devils played a near perfect game as they relied on a combination of tough defense, goaltending and a balanced attack.
“Defense and offense have both come together very well over the past couple of games,” said freshman goalie Johnny Perlite.
Against the Trojans, eight different players found the back of the net led by junior attackman Rhett Rodgers, senior midfielder Finn Wells and sophomore attackman Montana Giffen, with each recording a hat-trick.
Additionally, sophomore midfielder Wes Schuler recorded his first two goals of the season.
After being regarded as a weak point for much of the season, the Sun Devils limited turnovers and executed their passes effectively, creating 14 assists on 16 goals.
Wells, in the midst of a slump, moved back to his natural position of midfielder after spending much of the season at attackman. He recorded an assist on top of his three goals.
“He’s a true midfielder,” said head coach Todd MacRobbie, “Dodging downfield is his specialty.”
On the defensive end, Perlite played fearlessly between the pipes in the first half before sophomore Chris Roufanis, junior Russell Bartle and freshman Billy Kelly held on to preserve the shutout.
“The goalies came together and the defense also played pretty well,” Perlite said, “It was pretty easy with the defense we had today.”
Perlite improved to 5-1 as the starter while Arizona State notched its first shutout since they blanked Illinois 15-0 in 2014.
The Sun Devils improve to 7-5 on the season following the win, taking five of the past six by an average of 8.6 goals.
“It was good for the guys,” said MacRobbie, “ They needed to show that they can play good lacrosse for a good amount of time.”
With the victory, the Sun Devils will take on No. 1 Chapman in an SLC semi-final matchup on April 29 at La Costa Canyon High School in Carlsbad, California.
If you want to reach Zach Pekale you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @zachpekale.