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TwinPact: The Gaspars Ignite Sun Devil Lacrosse

Feb 7, 2022

Written By Halle Dato, SDA Media Relations Intern Majoring in Journalism and Mass Communication Graduating December 2022

Twin defenders Bella Gaspar and Gigi Gaspar have become nothing short of a dynamic, defensive duo since starting their field lacrosse career at Arizona State.

"Playing at different schools wasn't really an option for us," Gigi said. "We're connected at the hip, and we do everything together. If we went to different schools, I wouldn't survive without her."

The sisters have had a unique journey on their road to becoming Sun Devils. Growing up in British Columbia, they both participated in five varsity sports in high school, including basketball and box lacrosse. At one point, a basketball future was on their mind, as they received offers to play college basketball in Canada. 

"You can tell in the way they think, move, and train that they played other sports throughout the youth level," Sun Devil Lacrosse Head Coach Tim McCormack observed. "The footwork and decision-making on the basketball court have some applications to our game, so I think it was beneficial for them to play basketball growing up."

However, it was the box lacrosse background that propelled them to where they are today. Box lacrosse is an indoor version of lacrosse played on a covered hockey rink. The sport is generally more contact-based and allows stick play, which isn't permitted in field lacrosse.

Their history with box lacrosse has helped them become tenacious and aggressive defenders, playing a style that opponents simply don't know how to handle. "Since we were so used to playing a fast-paced game, it helps us out in field lacrosse since there is a lot more space that we have to work with," Bella said.

They approached their senior year of high school still unsure which sport they would play at the collegiate level. This made their recruitment unorthodox, as they remained uncommitted heading into their senior year. Gigi explained that "It can be a little hard to trust the process when it's so late in the recruiting process." 

Despite the uncertainty, it didn't stop McCormack from getting in contact with their box lacrosse club coach at Team British Columbia after hearing about their success. Meanwhile, Ontario-native Avery Hamill was in the midst of a successful career at ASU. Because of these connections and the approach by the ASU coaching staff, the twins decided to leave Canada to play for the Sun Devils.

McCormack commented, "Canadian players always come ready to compete at a high level. They develop strong, smart, and confident players all over the country. We have enjoyed our long-standing connection to Canada."

The twins were recruited as midfielders when they committed to play at ASU. However, after a few weeks into practice, Bella and Gigi were switched to defense. This proved to be a game-changing decision, as the duos' skill set could be put on full display at the defender position.

Although they changed positions, their midfield background still contributed to how they play defense. Gigi said, "We will both scramble to pick up a ball and clear it all the way up the field if we can. That isn't normal for defenders to do."

As for the transition to playing defense, Bella commented, "Being freshmen, we knew that there were going to be changes. But, regardless, we knew that whatever they were going to throw at us, we were going to be able to adjust and give it our all."

They did exactly that. Since coming to ASU, Bella and Gigi have thrived on and off the field. "The Gaspars have had a huge impact on the program," McCormack stated. "I was so excited when they decided to become Sun Devils." 

During their first season with the lacrosse team, they both started all 16 games on opposite sides of the defense. Last season, Bella was the only freshman named to the Pac-12 All-Conference First Team. She was also the top freshmen defender in the league and was part of a unit that held opponents to 10 goals or less in six games. Gigi collected 16 ground balls and caused ten turnovers on the other side, making the twins one of the best defender tandems in the league. They were a big reason why the program set records for wins (10), conference wins (5), and earned their first Pac-12 Conference Tournament victory during a historic 2021 campaign.

Individually, Bella and Gigi are exceptional athletes; but together, the twins are an unstoppable defensive force. Since they have always played sports alongside each other and have an extremely close relationship on top of that, they have a unique way of balancing each other out on the field.

As they approach their second season with the Sun Devils, Bella and Gigi are stepping into more of a leadership role on the team. 

"The energy, competitiveness, and toughness they bring to the field every day inspires their teammates and makes them natural candidates to be leaders, a role in which they have stepped into more this year. It has been exciting to see them continue to develop not only as lacrosse players but also as great people off the field," McCormack added. "I look forward to seeing what they can do this season now that they have a year of experience under their belt."

The twins emphasized how playing at ASU has been a blessing for them. "We didn't know when we started field lacrosse where it was going to take us," Bella mentioned. "I'm extremely blessed to be playing with my twin sister every day. Not a lot of people get the opportunity to."

Sun Devil Lacrosse start their season at Michigan on February 18. The first chance to check out the Gaspars in person is February 25 when ASU hosts San Diego State at 11 a.m. at Sun Devil Soccer/Lacrosse Stadium.

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Arizona State earned the chance to host the 2022 Pac-12 Lacrosse Championships, running May 4-7 in Tempe. Two first round matchups will take place on Wednesday, May 4 with the two semifinal showdowns following on Thursday, May 5. The Pac-12 Championship comes after an off day, hosted at Sun Devil Lacrosse/Soccer Stadium on Saturday, May 7. 

"Getting to host the Pac-12 Lacrosse Championships is a huge opportunity for our program," Coach McCormack mentioned. "It offers exposure to our University as well as to the sport of lacrosse in the state of Arizona. We are extremely thankful for the hard work that is being put in by the administration to make sure this event is a memorable one."