(Photo: Jacob Franklin/WCSN)
After a rocky start to their 2017 season that saw Arizona State University’s men’s club lacrosse team lose four of their first six games, the Sun Devils have recovered on a northern road trip that concludes Sunday with a visit to the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.
Following an uninspiring 9-6 loss at home to Brigham Young saw the now No. 10 Sun Devils drop to 2-4, ASU has reeled off three straight wins, including a sweep of its first two games on the road in Utah over Utah Valley and the the University of Utah.
Now sitting at 5-4, the Sun Devils will face No. 18 UNLV in their first Southwestern Lacrosse Conference matchup of the season.
The Rebels, who enter Sunday’s contest with a 3-2 record, will come into the game with fresh legs, having not played since a loss against Cal Poly on February 26.
Historically, the Sun Devils have been dominant against the Rebels. Since 2010, the two programs have played four times, with ASU winning each by a combined score of 80-25.
UNLV head coach Darren Gagnon’s side is lead offensively by sophomore attack Quinton Eissler and senior midfielder Blake Day, who are tied with a team-high 12 goals so far this season. Freshman midfielder Colin Clements has also impressed fans in his first year in Las Vegas, collecting seven goals and 17 groundballs through five games.
Senior defenseman Dylan Davidson is second on UNLV in groundballs with 34, trailing only junior face off specialist Justin Proctor who has 35. Proctor has been solid at the dot as well for the Rebels, successfully winning 61 of his 79 face offs this season.
In goal, junior Cian O’Donnell has featured most nights in 2017, saving a team-high 47 shots, and currently holding a 52 percent save percentage.
ASU, meanwhile, benefitted from some explosive offensive performances in their two road wins in Utah last week. On Wednesday against Utah Valley, junior midfielder Ryan Bradway led the team with five goals, a feat matched on Friday night by Rhett Rodgers against Utah.
Sophomore attackman Jake Marthens has also been hot lately, registering 11 goals in ASU’s last three games.
While the Sun Devils will return home after Sunday’s game in Nevada, ASU’s string of away games will continue with trips to San Diego State, on March 25, and Grand Canyon University, on March 31, before finishing their regular season schedule in Glendale against rivals Arizona.