(Photo: Jodi Vosika/ASU Lacrosse)
No. 4 Arizona State dropped to 7-2 on the season following their first conference loss to No. 1 Grand Canyon on Saturday.
Heading into the game against Grand Canyon, Arizona State head coach Joe Thon said the team needed to go 4-0 in the next games. By starting things off with a loss, the Sun Devils are in a must-win mindset.
“We’re always in a must win mode, but we want to compete in the conference and make it to nationals. We have to win every game from here on out,” attackman Dan Davis said.
The final three games of the season for the Sun Devils are all conference games. Ultimately, the team needs to win these games if they desire a prime seat in SLC Tournament at the end of April.
San Diego (5-7)
San Diego is the first in the series of two road games that Arizona State will play this weekend. San Diego currently sits in last place in the SLC South.
The Toreros lost to Grand Canyon and Arizona in late February, which leaves them 0-2 in conference play.
In the past, Arizona State has trumped San Diego each time they have played since 2008. Additionally, the Sun Devils have wracked up over twenty points on the board multiple times when playing the Toreros; however, there have been close games in the past as well.
From what history tells us, this game should be the easiest of the conference games for Arizona State.
San Diego State (14-1)
The other team Arizona State looks to dig into over the weekend is SDSU. The Aztecs have just one loss on the season, which was on the road against Cal Poly.
A situation like this could spell trouble for the Sun Devils.
The No. 9 Aztecs made a five-spot jump in the past week of polling, a well-earned rise that can best be attributed to the force they bring to play. Following a win over Arizona at home, SDSU is undefeated in SLC play.
In past years, the match up between Arizona State and SDSU has been lopsided with the Sun Devils laying claim to all the wins. However, the Aztecs are not the team that they have been in the past.
Earlier in the season, the Aztecs’ games were decided by one point. Now that they have been on a winning streak since mid-February, the team posts double digits and holds their opponents well below the seven-point mark.
The final regular season game for Arizona State is home April 18 against the Arizona Wildcats. Currently sitting in the middle of the SLC, the Wildcats have lost to San Diego State but knocked off San Diego.
The No. 10 Wildcats are on a two-game losing streak following games against BYU and SDSU.
Historically, Arizona has not taken down Arizona State since 2007.
Must win, must do
Arizona State is always in a must-win mode, but after dropping the first conference game, the team has to dominate the rest of the regular season.
Thon stressed the team needs to work on preventing turnovers in the game.
“We had the ball for less than 30 seconds on offense 12 different times,” Thon said in reference to the Grand Canyon loss.
Thon was not the only one to recognize it. Veteran players like Davis agree that the team needs to work on turnovers in the upcoming games.
“We are working on valuing the ball to limit the turnovers,” Davis said. “We’re stressing the important that each turn over has on a game. We’re working on stick protection and stick work and making good shots.”
You can catch the coverage of Arizona State’s final regular season games here.
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