The second-ranked Sun Devils held off No. 15 Cal Poly to win 9-7 on Saturday night.
With the win, the Sun Devils avenged last year’s 10-4 semifinal loss to the Bulldogs.
“Last year is last year. We definitely owed them one and it feels good to get the win,” head coach Chris Malone said.
Sun Devil attackmen Payson Clark and Justin Straker carried much of the scoring load as they both finished with three goals.
Freshman goaltender Preston Andersen also had a solid performance in his second start of the season.
“Preston was great all game. I’m very happy with how he did. They scored within the first five seconds of the game so you never know which way it’s going to go with a goalie,” Malone said. “He cleared the ball well and is a great communicator.”
Cal Poly held a 4-3 lead late in the half before Straker was able to tie it up. Midfielder Cooper Pickell received a pass from attackman Dan Davis near the crease, and then dropped it off to Straker who finished. This tied the game at 4 going into the half.
ASU jumped out to a 6-4 lead early in the third as midfielder Nick Hillier and Clark both scored. However, Cal Poly responded with two goals in less than 30 seconds to tie the game at 6.
In the fourth quarter, Straker, Clark, and midfielder Logan Quinn all found the back of the net to help seal the deal for the Sun Devils.
“I feel good about this win. A win is a win no matter how you get it. We didn’t play our best, but give credit to Cal Poly for playing hard for 60 minutes. They came ready to play,” Malone said.
Tomorrow, the Sun Devils will play the No. 18 Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs at 1 p.m. MT.