(Photo: Jodi Vosika/ASU Lacrosse)
Coming off a one point victory over No. 8 Colorado State Monday, No. 9 Arizona State looks to continue that fiery momentum as it faces a familiar foe in No. 1 Chapman.
The last outing between these two teams did not go well for the Sun Devils. Arizona State was able to turn the tables against the Colorado State Rams, who they had lost to earlier in the season. The Devils will look to do the same against a tough Chapman team tonight.
In their previous meeting, Chapman defeated Arizona State by a score of 15-11. The Sun Devils gave up seven goals in the first quarter alone, the most they had given up in a single quarter this season.
“Changes are individual players, and the players change their mindset,” ASU head coach Todd MacRobbie said. “I think that’s what it was last time, a little bit of a mindset, so hopefully they know they can play.”
Chapman has remained perfect this season with a 19-0 overall record including tournament play. The first game of the MCLA tournament was a breeze for them defeating the No. 16 Purdue Boilermakers 14-2.
The offense of the Panthers came out hot as they scored five goals in the first quarter. The Boilermakers defense could not hold up against this Panthers team, a struggle that ASU had experienced earlier this season.
Keys To The Game:
At this stage its all about mentality. Like MacRobbie said, it is up to individual players to step up. It is a different stage now for both of these teams and the stakes are high.
In the last matchup, ASU started off very sluggish on defense. That needs to change if they want to get ahead of this high scoring Panther offense.
It goes without saying that the goaltenders on both ends of the field are going to have to recover quick from yesterday’s games. Panthers senior goalie Gus Gradinger has looked solid this year with an average goals allowed average of 4.733 in the regular season. The last time he faced the Sun Devils though, he allowed 11 to go behind him, six of those in the fourth quarter.
ASU freshman goalie Johnny Perlite will have to step up for the Sun Devils. In the previous matchup, Perlite allowed 13 goals in the three quarters he played. But only allowing seven goals against an eighth ranked CSU has to give him some confidence rolling into today’s matchup.
It’s obvious that to win, you have to score. The Sun Devils have done that this season facing 11 top-25 teams while scoring an average of 9.25 goals per game against them.
The Panthers have made scoring an emphasis, scoring an average of 14.84 goals per game in 19 matchups (including tournament play).
Both of these offenses are highly capable of putting double digits on the scoreboard. The defense though has to answer right back.
X-Factors: Defense and Clears
In their last matchup, Arizona State collected 11 ground balls against Chapman. The turnover ratio is going to have to be amped up on defense to create opportunities for the offense if ASU wants to win this game. The more turnovers you create, the more you disrupt a team.
Arizona State made a threatening comeback, scoring six goals in the fourth quarter the last time these to teams faced off. Plus, coming off a victory against a Rams team that defeated them in the regular season carries a lot of confidence over. Arizona State has the momentum, but it will be Chapman that’s going to win this matchup. Having an offense that is beating opponents by an average of 8.79 goals is tough to deal with for any goaltender. Chapman goes on to the next round by a score of 16-12.