(Photo: Jodi Vosika/ASU Lacrosse)
Once every year, Arizona State (3-0) and Chapman University (1-2) meet to play their seasonal rivalry game.
The Panthers have taken the past two regular season match-ups, while the Sun Devils are hoping to emerge as the victor this weekend. Last year’s game resulted in an 8-7 loss, and a 10-6 loss the year prior.
This season, Chapman struggled out of the gates, dropping both games in the Lax Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, against No. 2 Colorado and No. 5 Boston College. The Panthers will come into the match-up against ASU riding momentum from their first win of the season over No. 9 Grand Canyon (1-2) on Friday night.
It’s been a completely different story for the Sun Devils, who haven’t really had any trouble at all disposing of their first three opponents. As a team, ASU is scoring over 14 goals a game and allowing a mere 5.0 goals per game defensively. Taking on No. 8 Chapman will be the team’s first true test, however, especially on the road.
The Chapman game is a very intense and emotional one for the players, and being able to play as a team is an important factor, according to senior captain Nick Hillier.
“After playing chapman the last three years, it’s a huge emotional game,” Hillier said. “There are ups and there are downs all the time, and the biggest thing in games that we’ve won is sticking together and playing as a team.”
At the attack position, senior Logan Quinn is ready to go after the Panthers’ weak links. He says it’s important to go after the player that gives them the best chance at scoring, and focus on eliminating turnovers.
The Sun Devils have been working on slides and communication on defense. Communication is going to play a big role in this game when covering the Panthers offense.
“Their whole team is good so there’s no weak part in their offense, and no guy that we can go slow to,” senior defenseman Ian Connell said. “We have to worry about every single one of their guys because they’re all good, and each is a threat.”
As there are plenty of returning starters looking to avenge the previous season’s losses, and plenty of pressure being placed on the newer players, they are out for blood this matchup.
With the large number of returners each team contributes, the familiarity and intensity is sure to be at its highest level.
The Sun Devils have never been able to clinch consecutive wins against its rival, adding to the urgency for a victory. This game presents a do-or-die test for the Sun Devil offense, which is in need of quicker starts to its games.
Arizona State will be the visitor at Chapman Stadium on Sunday, and the first whistle will sound at 1 p.m. You can view the live stream at WCSN’s live broadcast page.
“They’re gonna be ready, we’re gonna be ready,” Hillier said. “It’s a rivalry game so it’s definitely going to be a good game and everyone’s going to be ready to play.”
You can reach Megan Plain by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @MeganPlain.