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Opener raises controversy in the cage

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The no. 2 Arizona State started their season off with a 14-8 win over the no. 15 California Golden Bears, but controversy is already rearing its head as the Sun Devils saw their season’s first goalie switch about midway through the third quarter.

At the start of the second half ASU led Cal 7-4, but the Bears scored three goals in a hurry to make it a 8-7 game, prompting ASU coach Chris Malone to replace starter Brandon Propp with freshman Preston Andersen.

And while we can speculate over what would’ve what happened had Propp stayed in the game, there is no denying what Andersen was able to do: allow only one goal in 20 minutes of play.

Malone had nothing but praise for Andersen’s play. “If I’m not happy with a goalie giving up one goal in 20 minutes, I’ll never be happy.”

Andersen’s lone goal allowed came quickly after the switch, but the freshman made several saves the rest of the game, shutting out the Golden Bears in the 4th quarter. According to Andersen, being in a similar situation last week against Whittier helped him focus.

“Close game, fourth quarter, I pretty much just viewed it as my own game. I just started at that point, played through, and obviously it was a great game,” Andersen said.

While Propp struggled in the third quarter, he had a solid first half, only giving up four goals in the first 30 minutes, including a stellar display by him and his defense when ASU allowed only one goal in the second quarter. “I’m just glad the team won. I wasn’t playing as well, and Preston stepped it up big time.”

The goalie position was a bit of a question mark going into the season after having three solid years of play from Dylan Westfall, but the game featured solid performances from both Propp and Andersen, showing they have what it takes to be trusted in the cage.

Coach Malone wasn’t ready to decide who tomorrow’s starter will be, and he needs to talk it over with the coaching staff as they prepare for their game against SLC South opponent San Diego State.

The Sun Devils will look to complete the sweep of their California road trip tomorrow at 2 p.m. PT against the Aztecs of San Diego State University.

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