Lacrosse Alumni Return for Weekend Celebration
Written by Brandie Bosworth, a student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. She is working in the Public Relations Lab with the Sun Devil Athletics team and will graduate in the fall of 2021.
The Sun Devil Lacrosse team is gearing up for its second Alumni Scrimmage at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 9 at Sun Devil Soccer/Lacrosse Stadium.
While it is the program's second alumni scrimmage game, it is the first being played with a full alumni roster and is open to the public. Berkeley Bonneau and Kerri Clayton are among the alumni returning to their Sun Devil roots for this contest. It is a part of an action-packed Alumni weekend hosted by the Sun Devil Lacrosse program, which includes a golf tournament tomorrow morning, a trip to the football game tomorrow night, and a banquet to celebrate the 2021 season on Saturday afternoon.
"I've always been competing with my friends, now we'll get to compete against them," said Kerri Clayton.
Clayton transferred from Jacksonville University to help establish the Sun Devil Lacrosse program. She came from a school with a strong, established foundation for its lacrosse team. However, she jumped at the opportunity to come to Arizona State University and not only get the degree she's always wanted, but also start a lacrosse program with the ability to compete at a high level.
"One thing that always stuck out to me about our team is that we were always going to be the most hardworking and physical," said Clayton.
Clayton, who played as an attacker, averaged 3.6 goals per game and had 29 goals in just eight games. She said she set an example for other players to emulate so that the "gritty" team made sure every ball on the ground was theirs and there were no easy wins against ASU.
This idea is echoed by Clayton's former teammate and roommate, Bonneau, who was a four-year starter at goalkeeper for the team. For the 2021 season, she was the starter goalie for 15 out of 16 games and averaged over 10 saves a game. She believes over her years on the team that it became as tough as Teflon.
"[We developed] that Teflon mentality and understanding that we are not going to be here to make excuses," Bonneau said. "We are here to get better and to grow every day."
Bonneau was also involved in building up the Sun Devil Lacrosse team. She hoped to create a platform for future players to be a part of a program that is a ranked and winning team. In the beginning, the players worked so hard for so many years and came up short, Bonneau said. But when Tim McCormack was brought on as head coach, the speed of the program accelerated and those aspirations were met.
Bonneau said, "Coach McCormack always told us to control the controllables and don't make excuses."
She remembers times when the team was playing in the scorching Arizona heat. McCormack helped redirect their focus. Bonneau thought about how grateful she was to play in the sun instead of the snow to keep her head in the game. The coaches and staff were always accessible to guide players, even when the size of the team grew each year. There was not only respect, but truly a friendship between everyone, she said.
"When we started our season in the spring of 2021, we really took off running," Bonneau said. "We were so excited to display all of the work we had done."
The growth of the program and determination from the players was solidified when the team beat USC on its home turf in the first Pac-12 game of the 2021 season. This is among both Bonneau and Clayton's favorite memories from their Sun Devil Lacrosse careers.
"[USC] had always been in our eyes our rival. We had been close, but we had never really got that win," Clayton said. "This year we blew them out of the water."
Bonneau remembers the six-hour bus ride back to Tempe after the game, when nobody even touched their computer. They all were soaking in that moment. Clayton said this gave the players a confidence boost - they knew what they were doing and knew they could play with the best.
Coming off a great season, the Alumni Scrimmage is set to be a captivating game. Bonneau heard a lot of freshman have come into the program and stepped up. The current team is in the midst of fall practices and the alumni are also preparing for the match.
"I hope I am still able to play," joked Clayton. "Should [the alumni] be holding practices?"
Some of the current players still text the alumni, but Clayton and Bonneau agree that it'll be nice to see everyone in person. The team has always felt like family, Clayton said, and she wants to show up as an alum for the program that is so sentimental to her.
"It'll be fun to go out and compete with people who have been around and remember the fun times," Bonneau said.
Below is the roster of the alumni participating in this year's game:
HOW TO FOLLOW
Follow our Twitter and Instagram accounts (@SunDevilWLax) and like our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/sundevilwlax/). Visit our website, TheSunDevils.com, for the latest updates and information on the program.