(Photo: Alexis Ramanjulu/WCSN)
The No. 19 San Diego State Aztecs (7-4, 0-2 SLC South) travel to Glendale, Arizona for a divisional showdown with the No. 12 Arizona State Sun Devils (2-4, 0-1 SLC South).
In the 17-12 loss Friday night to the No. 4 Grand Canyon Lopes, both senior attackman Finn Wells and sophomore midfielder Tommy Carasco recorded a hat trick for ASU.
“Today, it didn’t look like we’d been playing together that long,” Carasco said. “It was like new people, but we’ve just got to play like how we know how to together and how we’ve been playing together in practice and just be a unit.”
Wells mentioned they’ll take the positives from Friday’s game into Sunday’s battle with SDSU, as the different offensive schemes utilized in the second half versus GCU seem to work.
“We tried out a couple different sets in the second half and, in my mind, it really worked and we took advantage of our matches so we’ve got to keep doing that,” Wells said. “For the most part, everybody kind of came back and everybody’s going to have to chip in a little bit more.”
Meanwhile, SDSU is coming off a 7-5 loss to No. 7 Arizona in Tucson on Friday.
Prior to Friday night’s tilt with the Wildcats, freshman attackman Adrian Jeffries led the Aztecs in goals with 23 on the season.
Jeffries and sophomore attackman Kevin Leis are two powerful scoring threats on the SDSU squad that could give ASU’s defense some trouble.
“They’re not afraid to get in your face,” ASU head coach Todd MacRobbie said. “They’re tough kids and I think they have some very good athletic talent.”
Leis has been on a hot streak as of late, recording six goals in the Aztec’s three games prior to their match with Arizona.
Another interesting matchup between the Sun Devils and the Aztecs is the goaltending situation.
During Friday night’s game against GCU, the Sun Devils changed goaltenders during the game, but the change in net ultimately did not affect the outcome.
Juniors Russell Bartle and Chris Roufanis shared the majority of the goaltending duties. Bartle and Roufanis could be seen between the pipes for the maroon and gold moving forward.
Entering their showdown in Tucson, Aztec seniors Chris DaCar and Troy Carlson had split the goaltending duties, playing nine games apiece. The Sun Devils could see either DaCar or Carlson on Sunday.
Going into the match with SDSU, MacRobbie said he would like to see ASU improve on their shooting.
“Our goal score percentage is not very good,” MacRobbie said. “We’re getting the shots, but we’re not getting the results that we want.”
Last year in San Diego, the Sun Devils edged the Aztecs 15-14 in come from behind fashion in front of the Aztec faithful.
“They’re going to be coming for us,” Wells said. “Honestly, I just look at them like they’re just going to play as hard as they can. They have nothing to lose.”
Wells said the Sun Devils are in the midst of fighting for their playoff lives.
“If we lose this one, there’s a pretty good change that we’re probably not going to make the playoffs so it’s a must win in my mind,” Wells said. “I’m going to leave everything I’ve got on the field.”