(Photo: Scotty Bara/WCSN)
The No. 10 ranked Arizona State Lacrosse team has an uphill battle ahead of them as they continue their road trip through the Rocky Mountains. The Sun Devils currently sit at 2-3 on the year, having lost three straight and being 0-2 at home this season.
Looking at the schedule, the rest of the season does not get any easier for ASU April approaches. Here’s how the remainder of ASU’s schedule breaks down:
No. 10 Arizona State @ No. 4 Colorado — March 24
Arizona State’s next game comes against No. 4 Colorado in Boulder, who is coming off a one-goal loss to No. 1 Chapman on Sunday.
The Buffaloes will be looking to rebound from a close loss, but they play only one home match next week against No. 18 UC Santa Barbara, before meeting ASU. Ever since March 12 when the Sun Devil’s lost to No. 4 Brigham Young University by one, they have not played.
ASU should be more fresh coming into this tilt. Depending on the outcome of Tuesday’s game in Boulder, both Colorado and ASU are in dire need of a win.
No. 10 Arizona State @ No. 9 Colorado State — March 26
Only separated by one spot in the national rankings, Arizona State and Colorado State could potentially head into next Saturday’s matchup in an almost identical situation to the ASU-Colorado game.
CSU is 4-2 on the year with losses to No. 11 Oregon and No. 6 Arizona, but has some impressive wins over teams like No. 17 Boise State and on the road at No. 8 Grand Canyon.
Last season, CSU held the Sun Devils to just a 10-7 win, and at that time, ASU was 4-1. If the Sun Devils do not secure a win in Boulder next Thursday, this could be a must-win scenario for ASU. Losing five straight would be tough to overcome with divisional play up next after CSU.
No. 10 Arizona State vs. No. 8 Grand Canyon — April 1
It’s no April Fools Day joke, No. 10 Arizona State will host No. 8 Grand Canyon in the Battle of the Valley. Though this year’s story line may look a bit different from last season’s.
Last year when these two teams met, both were 7-1 and ranked in the top five in the nation. GCU ended up with a 13-8 win and went on to win the National Championship, but this year is a different story.
Instead of 7-1 records, both GCU and ASU are 2-3 on their respective seasons. Both teams are also struggling at home as ASU holds a 0-2 record and the Lopes are 2-3. ASU and GCU both open up divisional play against one another, which will be a factor in deciding who finishes closer to the top of the SLC.
No. 10 Arizona State vs. No. 23 San Diego State University — April 3
Arizona State’s second divisional match will be against No. 23 San Diego State, a team the Sun Devils last year had to come-from-behind and beat the Aztecs 15-14 away.
SDSU stands at 0-1 in divisional play, after being handed an 11-10 home loss to the unranked UNLV Rebels. The Aztecs will be looking to pull off the road upset this time around; however, the Aztecs have Arizona two days prior in Tucson.
If the result of that matchup down south is either an Aztec win or a loss to U of A, it could give a lot of momentum to SDSU coming into Glendale on April 3.
No. 10 Arizona State vs. UNLV — April 9
The final home game for the Sun Devils in the 2016 regular season is against the UNLV Rebels. Despite the Rebels being unranked and 4-4 on the season, they are currently atop the SLC South Division (2-0) with wins over No. 23 SDSU and No. 6 Arizona.
The Rebels seem to be adjusting well to play in the SLC South and the Sun Devils are the next team they will face in divisional play. UNLV has finished its home schedule and plays its final three games of the regular season on the road.
This could be an opportunity for ASU to pick up a win in divisional play. ASU will have already had two straight at home and, since this tilt against UNLV will be senior night for ASU, so expect the seniors on this ASU team will to go out in winning fashion.
No. 10 Arizona State @ No. 6 University of Arizona — April 16
The Territorial Cup finds itself in Tucson this year. This game for the Sun Devils, like the previous one against UNLV, could determine a division winner.
Despite being 0-1 in SLC South Division play, U of A has SDSU, Grand Canyon and ASU at home, where they are 3-1 on the season. This could bode well for the Wildcats if they can pick up home wins over SDSU and GCU.
If both ASU and Arizona win all of their upcoming divisional games, the Territorial Cup could determine an SLC South Division Champion.
Overall, the Sun Devils have a long way to go if they want to put themselves in contention for the division and finish the season with a winning record. But, ASU also has the potential to not only finish do exactly that, but also capture the SLC South Division.
With home battles against Grand Canyon, SDSU and UNLV, the Sun Devils could make a run for the division crown.
Every single team ASU faces has the potential to hand the Sun Devils a loss. However, it’s not time to panic for the Sun Devil faithful.
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