(Photo: Katherine Fitzgerald/WCSN)
No. 3 Arizona State hosts No. 7 Cal Poly in a battle of undefeated teams this Saturday in Glendale, Arizona.
Cal Poly of the Western Collegiate Lacrosse Conference arrives in the Grand Canyon State after taking down the University of California-Santa Barbara Gauchos 11-6. Saturday’s contest with the Mustangs will mark the second Top 25 matchup of the season for ASU.
Through two games, Cal Poly has already recorded 35 goals on the season, while having just conceded 11. Freshman attackman AJ Guralas and junior midfielder Joe Dresser lead the Mustangs offense in scoring with five goals apiece.
ASU Lacrosse head coach Todd MacRobbie said the key to limiting Guralas and Dresser in the offensive zone is by staying on the hands.
“Our objective is to always get on people’s hands,” MacRobbie said. “Stay on the hands and limit offensive touches for the opponent.”
On the flip side, ASU’s offense has also put up some impressive numbers just two games into the 2016 campaign. Senior midfielder Finn Wells and junior attackman Rhett Rodgers have each tallied five goals this season.
“I think, offensively, all those guys were finding themselves,” MacRobbie said. “Rhett did really well. We made a couple of adjustments from game one to game two and he’s just playing like the big guy that he is now and realizing that he’s got a lot of size advantage to a lot of guys.”
In the first game of the season against Oregon State, Rodgers found the back of the net once. The following day versus the University of Southern California, Rodgers recorded 4 goals.
“I just try to take every game with the same approach,” Rodgers said. “I don’t really care about scoring the goals, it’s just we want to win as a team out there.”
Going hard for the whole game will be the key for Rodgers going deeper into the season.
“Being in the right spot at the right time and playing to my strengths,” Rodgers said. “Getting out there to that right wing and getting a nice hard righty shot.”
MacRobbie said one aspect of ASU’s game he would like to see corrected this Saturday versus Cal Poly is special teams play with the man advantage.
“We weren’t as efficient as we needed to be,” MacRobbie said. “Our rides need to be better. We didn’t get enough turnovers on our rides, so some of the special team things like that need to improve for us to capitalize.”
Last time the Mustangs and the Sun Devils met, ASU came away with a closely-fought 10-7 win in San Luis Obispo, California.
MacRobbie said the ultimate key to victory in this season’s tilt will come down to ball possession.
“Whoever possesses the ball more is going to win,” MacRobbie said.
The Sun Devils play host to Cal Poly this Saturday, Feb. 20, at Arizona State’s West Campus in Glendale, Arizona. Opening face-off between the two squads is set for 1:00 p.m.