(Photo: Jodi Vosika/ASU Lacrosse)
The season couldn’t have started much better for the No. 3 Arizona State lacrosse team, as it won both of its two games this weekend by a combined score of 41-10, over No. 11 Stanford and Utah.
Both games included slow starts, with both games being one- and two-goal differentials heading into the first quarter break. Beyond that, though, the Sun Devils picked up the pace in both games and dominated each opponent easily.
Stories from the weekend:
DeLuca dominates in debut
Chris DeLuca, the new face of ASU’s goal, had an extremely impressive starting weekend, only allowing 4 goals against Stanford and 3 against Utah. He was relieved by freshman Chris Roufanis in both games after three quarters of play in order for Roufanis to get playing experience in net.
It was in this same event, the Pac-12 Shootout, in which Preston Andersen broke onto the MCLA scene only a year ago. DeLuca may have trumped it with this weekend’s performances, however, most notably his shutdown of No. 11 Stanford (9 saves, 4 goals allowed, .692 save percentage).
“Pick”ell your poison
Cooper Pickell had an excellent statistical start to the season as both a distributer and a scorer. Against Stanford he tallied 5 assists, often connecting with Dan Davis’s offensive explosion (see below). Less than 24 hours later against Utah, Pickell opened up the scoring valves and scored 5 goals against the Utes.
Going forward, Pickell presents an interesting threat to opposing coaches, as he has just the right combination of size and speed to be a constant dual threat in the Arizona State offense.
While Logan Quinn has always been regarded as a versatile player, this offseason represented the biggest change he’s gone through in three years: swapping positions. After Payson Clark’s graduation, the starting attack unit of Justin Straker and Dan Davis needed a third partner in crime, and the midfield depth made it easy for Malone to put Quinn as the third attackman.
It paid off, big time. Logan Quinn tallied 5 goals in his season debut, ripping right through the Cardinal’s defense en route to ASU’s dominant victory.
The Dan Davis Effect
On last week’s Cronkite Sports Live, WCSN lacrosse analyst Kennedy Collier said Davis would score 4 goals in his season debut, and at the time it seemed like a generous prediction. After all, Davis had been dealing with a back injury for a majority of the early spring, and he’d only just been cleared to suit up days before the game against Stanford.
Turns out, Kennedy was off the mark. Davis dropped a 5-goal first half, finishing with 6 goals and two assists for an unbelievable start to the year. While Davis didn’t hit anything near those numbers against Utah the following day, seeing him start so strong is an encouraging sight for Sun Devil fans who worried he might be hampered by his injury.
Senior Zach Mendoza, a starting defenseman all of last year, did not start and only saw sparing action in the fourth quarter of both games. The Sun Devils’ starting defensive unit of Ian Connell, Nick McEneany, and freshman Matt Wallace certainly gave no indication that Mendoza was being missed on the field, as they contained Stanford to a mere four goals (the other three were let in by the back-up units).
Brian Braasch and Jensen Cruse also presented difficulty for opposing teams, as ASU’s two premier long-stick midfielders. Ryan Berns saw the field early and often against Stanford, although that time was reduced for the following game against Utah.
John McCallum and Matt Wallace often found themselves on the field as Wallace was starting at defense in both games, while McCallum was often inserted into the offense. Brayton Wadella saw a lot of time on the side of the face-off unit, showcasing his top-notch speed. Freshmen Rhett Rodgers and Nick Grogg, sophomore Henry Archie, and junior transfer Connor McLaughlin all scored their first career goals as Sun Devils against Utah.
Tale of two Groggs
Brothers were at war, with ASU freshman Nick Grogg and Utah junior Tyler Grogg both being on the field at once during Sunday’s game. Nick scored his first career goal during that span. Tyler also recorded a shot on goal and an assist in the family match-up. Bruce Grogg, father to Nick and Tyler, was spotted on the sideline wearing a Utah polo and an ASU hat.
Handy being Handy
Zack Handy looked unstoppable against Stanford, tallying wins on 15 of 17 tries from inside the faceoff circle. It only got better against Utah, as he only lost one face-off try to the Utes. Behind him on the face-off squad, freshmen Kyle Corona and Courtland Jones got some chances in the circle after both games proved to be blowouts.
You can reach Trey Lanthier on Twitter @TreyLanthier or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.