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ASU Lacrosse: Younger players providing No. 10 Sun Devils with a spark

(Photo: Jodi Vosika/ASU Lacrosse)

Arizona State University’s No. 10-ranked lacrosse team has battled through a tough season and come out on the other side with a 6-5 record. This team is usually led by talented upperclassman like junior attackman Rhett Rodgers, senior midfielder Finn Wells and senior midfielder Henry Archie.

But it was the contributions of some underclassman that turned ASU’s season around to go 4-1 in their last five games after a historic four game losing streak.

Freshman attackman Jake Marthens, with 14 goals and six assists, and sophomore attackman Patrick Haviland, with 13 goals and five assists, have revitalized ASU’s offense and significantly contributed to the Sun Devils’ success late in the season.

Head coach Todd MacRobbie says It took the two young players a little while to find their stride this season and they are preforming at their full potential down the stretch.

Marthens struggled with adjusting to the college game and having the same confidence in himself that his coaches have in him.

“With Jake [Marthens] he’s not like a freshman like he was at the beginning. I think he was a little timid,” MacRobbie said, “He’s realized that he’s out there because he can play the game and he’s stepped up his playing level and he’s starting to believe in himself.”

Marthens agrees with MacRobbie, and stresses that his relationship with his teammates helps provide him with a sense of comfort.

“I’ve really been working on my confidence and just going to the cage more,” Marthens said. “We’ve been working more together as a unit and I know they are going to have my back if I screw up.”

Haviland came into this season as a sophomore transfer from Division II Rockhurst University and wasn’t comfortable right away with his new team, according to MacRobbie.

“I think at the beginning he just wasn’t comfortable when he started as a midfielder, as a transfer getting used to the guys and getting used to the new stuff,” MacRobbie said, “Once he got comfortable he’s taken over.”

Haviland says that learning a new system was a tough challenge at the start of the season.

“It was just getting used to a new team,” Haviland said. “The plays they want to run and the flow they want to have and having confidence was a huge thing for me.”

The emergence of Marthens and Haviland has also been facilitated by a change in pace and style as ASU’s offense has improved its passing and team play.

“I think that the older guys are realizing that they can get these guys the ball and they’ll be able to do what they are supposed to do.” MacRobbie said, “Some of the older guys are realizing that it’s not all about them, it’s a team game and they have teammates around them that can do things.”

Haviland advocated for the new style of offense by expressing that the offense has become less selfish.

“I think we are just really trying to work for each other versus just trying to get our own,” Haviland said, “We’ve really tried to implement our plays and make sure we run them consistently.”

Marthens says that ASU has been running more of a full six-man offense and has played better as a unit instead of three attackmen and three midfielders separate from each other.

Due to their increased team play the offense has also cut down on turnovers, which have hurt the Sun Devils this season.

“When we don’t do well it’s because of ourselves and our stick skills,” MacRobbie said. “It’s not that we aren’t moving the ball it’s just that we don’t consistently move the ball.”

Coach MacRobbie expects Marthens and Haviland to continue their success in tournament play even against stiffer competition.

“Now that coaches out there can see them and scout them they are going to see different personnel then they probably would have before,” MacRobbie said, “They are going to have to show that they can do it against other team’s number ones and number twos and not their number threes.”

Marthens and Haviland don’t have individual goals for the Sun Devils tournament slate but they do hope to accomplish goals as a team.

“We are trying to take it one game at a time,” Haviland said. “But it would be great to win the SLC and then see what we can do in the MCLA.”

ASU starts off the SLC tournament Sunday in Glendale against the University of Southern California.

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