(Photo: Jodi Vosika/ASU Lacrosse)
No. 4 Arizona State will look to rebound from a difficult loss at Grand Canyon University last week when they visit the San Diego Toreros on Saturday. Senior captain Ryan Berns feels like the loss put a stop to the team’s momentum.
“It was our first game in two and a half weeks and just getting out there was great until we got the loss,” Berns said.
It was a crushing 13-8 loss, and ASU currently sits in fourth place in the Southwestern Lacrosse Conference.
Meanwhile San Diego last played on March 29 at the University of Southern California and the Toreros earned a 12-9 win. However, the Toreros are in fifth place in the division and have not won a divisional game since Feb. 14, 2014.
“If we lose the next game, there’s a possibility that our season ends April 18, which none of us want,” Berns said. “We want to make sure we’re going all the way until May 16.”
These next two games are critical if ASU wants a shot to get back into the MCLA tournament race.
“One of the biggest things was ‘Don’t dwell on the past,’” Berns said. “It sucked to lose, but we have two games this weekend that are now our most important games of the entire season.”
San Diego has a potent offense through junior Attackman Aidan Kennedy, who currently has 43 goals, only three shy of his career best set in his freshman season. Kennedy is on a tear right now, having scored 12 goals in his last two games.
Another bright spot in the Toreros’ offense is freshman Midfielder Drew Harvey. Harvey has 28 goals and 27 assists so far through 10 games. Harvey is on a hot streak right now, having scored eight goals in his last two games.
The Sun Devils have some offensive talent of their own in the ever-prevalent senior attackman Dan Davis, who leads the team in scoring with 22 goals. Davis is looking to break out of a scoring funk, having tallied only three goals in his previous three games. San Diego’s defense will need to keep a constant eye on Davis throughout the game.
Another offensive threat for the Devils is sophomore attackman Rhett Rodgers, who has 18 goals on the year. Rodgers has tallied six goals in his last two games.
Zack Handy, ASU’s senior face-off specialist, not only has excellent skills in the face-off circle, but also had a keen eye for the goal against Grand Canyon. In that last game, Handy scored two goals, his career-high for a single game.
“I feel that a lot of teams see a face-off man and they don’t really judge him as an offensive threat,” Handy said. “When I’m coming down to the offensive side of the field, and I feel that the person guarding me is overplaying me, I will take advantage of that and I will go to the goal every time.”
This will be one of San Diego’s last games this season with only crosstown rival San Diego State left on the schedule, so expect the Toreros to come out and try to finish their season on a high note. Face-off for Saturday’s game is set for 1:00 p.m.
You can reach Michael Baron by email at firstname.lastname@example.org