Sun Devil Lacrosse Opens 2022 Season with Midwest Trip
TEMPE, Ariz. – Sun Devil Lacrosse opens up the 2022 season with a road trip to the Midwest, taking on Michigan and Northwestern.
Arizona State's first game is Friday, Feb. 18 at 11 AM MST against No. 11 Michigan, with a quick turnaround to a Sunday, Feb. 20 matchup at 11 AM MST with No. 5 Northwestern. It is the first time in program history the Sun Devils have opened the season with a Top-25 opponent. It is also the first time in program history ASU has played back-to-back Top-15 teams. 2021 Pac-12 Coach of the Year Tim McCormack recognizes the challenge of this road trip.
"We play two extremely talented and well-coached teams," McCormack remarked. "This will be a great test for our group right out of the gate."
Sun Devil Lacrosse set program records in wins (10), conference wins (5), and earned their first Pac-12 Conference Tournament victory during a historic 2021 campaign. Heading into the 2022 season, the anticipation is higher than ever in McCormack's third season at the helm in Tempe.
Several key players return next year from a team that knocked off a ranked team for the first time, picked up the program's first victories over USC and Colorado, while also sweeping three games in one season from a Pac-12 opponent (Cal). Pac-12 assist leader attacker Emily Glagolev, the lone freshman on the Pac-12 First Team defender Bella Gaspar, and a loaded midfield led by Maddy Hunter are back in Tempe.
The Maroon & Gold accomplished another program best when they were picked third in the Pac-12 Preseason Poll earlier in the month. Voted on by the other coaches in the league, ASU was picked only behind Stanford and Colorado. The Sun Devils also received a first-place vote for the first time in program history.
KNOW YOUR FOES
The squad will not have to wait long for their first test, as they open the season by traveling to Michigan on Friday, Feb. 18. The Wolverines are a NCAA Tournament regular and come in at No. 11 in the latest Inside Lacrosse/IWLCA Top-25 poll. This will be the first meeting between the two programs. The game has been moved to UWM Sports Complex in Pontiac, Michigan.
Michigan is coming off a historic victory, defeating No. 5 Notre Dame 11-7 to open their season 2-0. It was the first time they had knocked off a Top-5 foe, doing so on the road. The Wolverines have been led by their defense and goalkeeping, allowing only nine goals through two games.
Goalkeeper Arielle Weissman (Defensive Player of the Week), Kaitlyn Mead (Midfielder of the Week), and attacker Kaylee Dyer (Freshman of the Week) each took home Big Ten Player of the Week honors.
Coach McCormack returns to Evanston for the second time since leaving his post as Northwestern Assistant Coach to take over at Arizona State. His team will attempt to win in one of the nation's toughest environments when they take on Northwestern on Sunday, Feb. 20. In the only previous meeting which was also at Ryan Fieldhouse, ASU fell to No. 3 Northwestern 28-12 back in 2020. This year's Northwestern team is loaded once again, slotted at No. 5 in the latest Inside Lacrosse/IWLCA Top-25 poll.
The Wildcats opened up their season with a hard-fought loss to No. 1 Boston College before defeating Marquette in their home opener on Monday. Northwestern's roster is littered with star power, including All-American Lauren Gilbert, who is tied for the team lead with nine points. Erin Coykendall and Leah Holmes also have nine points for a Wildcat offense averaging 16.5 goals/game. Goalkeeper Madison Doucette has started both games in net, playing 116 of a possible 120 minutes.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"I am extremely grateful for my time at Northwestern," graduate transfer attacker Taylor Pinzone reflected. "I learned so much from the coaching staff and my teammates. It will be exciting to reunite, but also a little strange to be competing against them."
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
The Sun Devils are coming off a season in which they nearly earned a NCAA tournament berth last year and will face a 2022 slate filled with opportunities to build their postseason resume. The schedule consists of 16 regular season games and the Pac-12 Lacrosse Tournament, hosted by Arizona State in Tempe. Of those 16 games, nine of them are against teams ranked in the Top-20 of at least one major preseason poll. The Sun Devils have arguably the toughest non-conference schedule in the nation, featuring matchups filled with connections to the ASU coaching staff.
HOW TO FOLLOW
Arizona State's matchup against Michigan will not be streamed, but live stats will be provided at the following link. The Northwestern game will be streamed live on Big Ten Plus, with live stats found here. For in-game updates, follow our Twitter and Instagram accounts (@SunDevilWLax). Like our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/sundevilwlax/) for content throughout the season. Visit our website, TheSunDevils.com, for the latest updates and information on the program.