Defense Shines in Lacrosse's Victory over Oregon
TEMPE, Ariz. – Sun Devil Lacrosse opened Pac-12 Conference play with an 11-9 victory over Oregon on Friday evening at Sun Devil Soccer/Lacrosse Stadium.
A closely contested matchup tested the resiliency and poise of Arizona State, but the Sun Devils were up for the challenge. Another stifling defensive effort led the way, as the Ducks were held to single digit goals for the first time this season and committed 22 turnovers.
"That was a good battle," Head Coach Tim McCormack reflected. "It took a total team effort to pull this one off. Everyone contributed in some way to help the team succeed."
Eight different Sun Devils registered a goal, including three who scored a pair, as ASU once again featured a balanced offensive attack. The Maroon & Gold held a significant edge in ground balls, proving to be the team quickest to the ball throughout the game. Because of this possession advantage, Arizona State finished with 36 total shots and control a majority of the contest.
The two sides were locked in an evenly-matched battle, with the game tied at seven heading into the fourth quarter. It was a crucial 3-0 run that eventually elevated the Sun Devils to victory, as the veterans took matters into their own hands. It started with a Carley Adams goal, followed by Taylor Pinzone, with Emily Glagolev making it 10-7 Sun Devils. The defense did not allow the Ducks to score until nearly nine minutes into the fourth quarter, allowing only two goals in the period thanks to a dominant closing effort.
- Arizona State held Oregon to single-digit goals for the first time this season.
- The Ducks previously low season goal total was 12.
- Eight different Sun Devils collected two or more ground balls, contributing to ASU massive 26-13 advantage as a team.
- Taylor Pinzone, Lia Willis and Kylie Kroeger each had two goals to lead the way, while Katie Brodsky added two assists.
- Katie Vahle finished with 10 saves, her first double digit saves performance of her career.
- She has at least eight saves in all four games.
- Arizona State now has won four consecutive games against the Ducks, their longest winning streak against any Pac-12 foe in program history.
Senior defender Olivia Kroah
On filling in for Gigi Gaspar
"My whole mentality this season has been house money. When I get the opportunity, I go in and try to have as much fun as I can and my teammates are really supportive."
On the approach for the back-and-forth game
"I think the biggest thing was just playing our tempo for 60 plus. We never gave up, we were tough for the entire game. I think that was the difference and that's what made us chip away, one goal at a time. We just stayed tough and played our game."
On what Coach's message was during the game
"He always reiterates that it doesn't matter who's on the field or who we are playing, we just need to focus on us and play our game and I think we did exactly that and came out with a W."
On if the game plan was executed
"Honestly we just wanted to go out there and have fun, focus on us and the rest will come together."
On Katie Vahle's performance
"She is one of the best goalies I've ever played with. She is awesome, she's a great communicator and she's a great teammate and she had a great game."
On what can be learned from this game
"I think we learned that we are an extremely tough team and we can play with anyone and when we're on we are on."
Freshman Goalkeeper Katie Vahle
On the mentality coming into today
"For me coming in, is to stay out of my head and to just be there with my team and have fun and whatever happens, happens and we have to be there for each other."
On the technical approach for top scorers
"I did watch a good amount of film on Oregon, so I just tried to stay prepared and the other goalies Flynn (Murphy) and Lindsey (Spies) helped me pre-game and they keep my confidence levels up and help me see the ball."
On watching the ASU attackers
"I'm like a nervous a nervous mom. The stuff that they do is crazy and I could never do it, ever, but it's so fun to watch them with the stuff they come up with and put the ball in the back of the cage."
On creeping out of the goal and worried about someone shooting from far out
"I am yeah, but it's just about keeping my agility up and giving myself enough time to get back in the cage and trusting my defense to drop when I need them to drop."
On Olivia Kroah coming in
"Honestly, Kroah stepped up huge, she kind of got thrown in. So for her to just come in and get a stop right away is absolutely ridiculous and she just showed so much confidence today. I'm really proud of her."
On Colorado on Sunday
"We're so ready. Honestly, we just try to play our own game and keep each other's energy high."
Head Coach Tim McCormack
On taking advantage of scoring chances
"It's interesting, goals will go in, shots won't go in, we try to look at high-quality shots as our target. Do we take more of those, do we produce those, and we did. We took a lot of high-quality shots, their goalie played excellent, she made a lot of really solid saves, one on ones, she had a really good game. But, if you look at the production of our high-quality shots, it was incredible. I think we had 36 shots total, 25 of them on the cage, and 11 going in so you're probably looking at eight or nine good high-quality shots and that's what you work for. We try not to over analyze if they go in or not, just continue to fire them and play those presents."
On Maria Villanti's rebound goal
"Tremendous. Tremendous. If you think about the last few goals, I believe it was Carley Adams, then Emily Glagolev, and then Maria, and they would tell you that's what they're here to do, that's your senior, that's your leadership, and just huge plays.
On Olivia Kroah coming in
"She's now done it. There's experience there, we talked about her experience prior, she's been in plenty of opportunities and big games and she showed again today. She didn't miss a beat. Very impressive effort and I'm excited for her ability, it was awesome."
On the approach heading into Sunday's matchup with Colorado
"Just take it one day at a time, we have another game day tomorrow because we look at every day like it's game day and continue to do what we do and continue to play Sun Devil lacrosse and do it for however long we have to do it for and have fun and get better and grow."
It took a while for both teams to establish a rhythm, as defense ruled play early. The first goal wasn't scored until the 4:04 mark in the first period, with Oregon taking an early lead. Only 30 seconds later, Kylie Kroeger got the Sun Devils on the board with her first goal of the season. Emily Munro followed less than a minute later with a goal to give ASU their first lead of the game. It was short-lived, as the Ducks scored with less than 30 second left in the first to tie the game at two.
Defense remained the theme of the first half, as a slow tempo prevented either offense from producing much. Oregon took the lead a little over a minute into the quarter, but neither team would score during a seven-minute span. That is when Kaylon Buckner came through, tying the game back up at three. The Ducks would be the last team to strike in the half, taking a 4-3 lead into the break.
The adjustments made at halftime worked out well for Arizona State, as the Sun Devils would score the first two goals of the half. Lia Willis and Kylie Kroeger scored only 30 seconds apart, quickly putting their team back in the lead. Oregon did not score until the 6:27 mark of the period, when they evened the game back up at five. Hanna Hilcoff would give the Ducks their last lead of the game, 6-5 with 5:12 left in the third frame. Taylor Pinzone and Lia Willis would provide the Sun Devil response, with ASU going back in front as the pace started to pick up. A late Oregon goal would tie the game up at seven, setting up an important fourth quarter.
The Sun Devils took over in the fourth, scoring the first three goals of the period to overpower the Ducks. Carley Adams started things off, with Taylor Pinzone and Emily Glagolev joining the party. The 10-7 lead would prove to be enough, as a highlight-reel goal from Maria Villanti provided insurance with 1:15 left, giving ASU the 11-9 victory in the Pac-12 opener.
The Sun Devils make their Pac-12 Network debut when No. 23 Colorado comes to Tempe for an 11 AM showdown on Sunday, Mar. 13. The Buffaloes are 5-1 this season and are off to one of the best starts in program history. Visit the following link for more information on how to watch the ASU vs. Colorado match up on Pac-12 Networks, with live stats provided here.
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