(Photo: Jodi Vosika/ASU Lacrosse)
The No. 14 Arizona State Sun Devils will look to end a tumultuous season with a winning record when they travel to take on the No. 7 Arizona Wildcats, Saturday night at 7 p.m.
The rivalry matchup will be the last regular season game for both squads, with the outcome having a heavy impact on postseason play.
The 7-3 Wildcats have the edge over the 5-
5 Sun Devils when it comes to overall records. However, the Devils have performed better within the SLC, where they are 2-1. The Wildcats are 1-2 in conference play. Both teams lost to Grand Canyon University and posted wins over San Diego State.
The only SLC team to split its results against the two rivals was UNLV. The Wildcats fell to the Rebels by two goals in mid-March, 8-6. Meanwhile, the Sun Devils put on a clinic last Saturday when they ran away from the Rebs, 20-8.
Keys to this Game:
Reps at X:
The faceoff advantage goes to ASU. For Arizona, four different players have combined for a 70-77 record this season. They’ll be squaring up against Zac Mathien, who not only holds a far superior 113-46 record, but he has also taken more total faceoffs than all Wildcat players combined (159 versus 147).
Make Way for Marthens:
Freshman attackman Jake Marthens has recently exploded for ASU. After scoring just two goals in the first games of the season, he has rattled off 11 in the last four contests. His season-high thus far was against UNLV, where he tallied five goals and two assists. Marthens’ success may be linked to the Sun Devils finally becoming more patient with shot selections and spreading their offense more in the latter half of the season. As new scoring threats like Marthens are exposed toward the end of the season, the Wildcats defense will have to adjust to account for a more balanced Sun Devils offense.
While game atmosphere is not as tangible a factor, it will help the Wildcats that the Sun Devils are traveling to their lair. It will be Senior Day for the Laxcats, who are planning a red-out for their fans. Any road game presents its own challenge, but ASU is also now at the end of a stretch of four games in eight days. Their midweek matchups at Colorado and Colorado State could lead to exhaustion both from the physicality of taking on four teams in the Top 25 in a crunched amount of time and from the added traveling time from rescheduled games. On the other sideline, the Wildcats have had a week to rest and will be looking to send their seniors out on top in a rivalry game on their home turf.