ASU head coach Chris Malone and the Sun Devils lost their first-ever SLC South game on Thursday night. (Photo: Jodi Vosika/ASU Lacrosse)
In one swift shot with under 10 seconds remaining in overtime, No, 18 Grand Canyon University defied SLC South logic, defeating the No. 3 Arizona State Sun Devils 14-13. It was the first SLC South loss in ASU’s history, and it was costly: with the win, GCU earned a first-round bye into the semifinals of the SLC tournament.
‘Lopes fans and students rushed the field in recognition of the biggest win in program history.
ASU attack man Justin Straker scored to tie the game with 16.3 seconds remaining in regulation, and after a Handy face-off win, Straker had one more chance to score for the win but the shot rung off the crossbar as time expired.
In the overtime period, both teams had a possession before GCU ended up with the ball and only a minute remaining. After 40 seconds of stalling, the ‘Lopes set up the play that would earn them the biggest win in team history, with Geoff Barnes scoring from just above the left goal-line extended.
The fourth quarter was intense, as the Sun Devils watched a 11-9 lead wither away into a 13-11 deficit behind a back-to-back-to-back goal-scoring effort within the span of a minute early in the quarter.
Both teams put on a show at that point as it became a back-and-forth defensive struggle, prior to ASU breaking the mold and coming up with two goals for the tie.
At halftime, the ‘Lopes were leading the game 7-6.
For the ‘Lopes, the massive win ends their regular season and improves their record to 8-4, with an undefeated mark in the divisional record category.
The loss is the Sun Devils’ second of the season, as they fall to 12-2. Their first loss was also in overtime, against Chapman.
The Sun Devils will play once more in the regular season, against rival Arizona, on Saturday, April 20th. That game will be broadcasted live on CronkiteSports.com, on the “Live Broadcasts” tab.
GAME NOTES: Coming into the game, ASU’s Payson Clark and GCU’s Carson Barton were tied atop the MCLA with 44 goals apiece; GCU was a Division ll MCLA team prior to making the jump at the start of this year; ASU goalie Preston Andersen hadn’t allowed double-digit goals in his career prior to this game; the Sun Devils’ divisional loss is the first since the formation of the SLC South; with either a second- or third-place finish in the division (depending on the result of the Arizona-ASU game), the Sun Devils will play in a first-round SLC tournament game for the first time in program history.