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Sun Devil Lacrosse Beats No. 14 Rutgers for First Top-15 Win

Apr 3, 2022
Photo via Rutgers Athletics

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Sun Devil Lacrosse earned a dramatic comeback victory on the road over No. 14 Rutgers at SHI Stadium on Sunday.
 
Arizona State (5-6, 3-2) picks up its first victory over a Top-15 opponent in program history, handing the highly-touted Scarlet Knights only their second loss of the season. Carley Adams scored the game-winning goal in the first sudden death overtime period, sending the strong contingent of Sun Devil fans that had made the trip into a frenzy.
 
The Sun Devils were down by as many as four goals at several points of the game in less than ideal weather, but showed resiliency and toughness in mounting a valiant comeback effort. Arizona State was responsible for the final three goals of the game, stunning the home crowd and earning the program's first victory over a Big Ten opponent.
 
"It was huge for the team," Head Coach Tim McCormack remarked. "We were behind by a few multiple times today and never stopped battling back."
 
Goalkeeper Katie Vahle made several crucial saves to keep the game within striking distance, switching momentum to the visitor's side with her timely stops. The offense was responsible for eight goals in the second half against a stingy Rutgers defense, featuring a balanced effort with six players responsible for two or more points.  
 
Not only did the Sun Devil Lacrosse team take over late in the game, but the Sun Devil fans that made the trip did as well. During the East Coast swing, Arizona State fans have come out to support in impressive numbers. It did not go unnoticed, as the energy and excitement they created had a major impact on the game.
 
"Our fans were out of this world," Defender Bella Gaspar exclaimed. "So many families and friends came out. It honestly felt like we were playing at home. When we were heading into overtime, the stadium was just screaming ASU and I knew we had it. The support we have is unreal. SDL (Sun Devil Lacrosse) is a really special place to play and I'm so proud and blessed to be a part of it!"
 
TURNING POINT
Arizona State found themselves down 12-10 with 6:33 left, an extremely challenging hole to climb out of in lacrosse. Maria Villanti gave her team some life with a goal less than a minute later, pulling ASU within one goal for the fifth time on the day. This time, the Sun Devils were able to get over the hump and tie the game, thanks to some clutch play by veteran Taylor Pinzone. No stranger to Big Ten competition, Pinzone was excellent all day, but no play was bigger than the one she made with less than a minute left. Dodging several defenders and sticks on the way to the cage, Pinzone showed no fear in getting close to the goalkeeper. The rest was pure skill, as she deked the goalkeeper and found the back of the net to even the game at 12 and send it to overtime. Who else would be the hero but Carley Adams, as the redshirt senior attacker bullied her way to the cage and ripped one past the goalkeeper for the game winner.
 
NOTABLES

  • This is the third victory over a Top-25 team in program history, all of which have come under Coach McCormack.
    • By defeating No. 14 Rutgers, this represents the first Top-15 win for ASU and the highest-ranked to the Sun Devils have ever beaten.
  • ASU hands Rutgers only their second loss of the season, as they fell to 10-2.
    • Their only previous loss came at the hands of No. 4 Maryland. 
    • The Scarlet Knights came into the weekend at No. 8 in the RPI, having defeated No. 13 Michigan in their last game as well as prior wins over No. 20 Johns Hopkins, No. 21 James Madison on their resume.
  • It is only the fourth time in program history the Sun Devils have played an overtime game.
    • They move to 3-1 all-time in overtime games.
  • Arizona State defeats a Big Ten team for the first time in program history.
    • This was also Rutgers first game in program history against a Pac-12 opponent.
  • The Sun Devil win is the Scarlet Knights first home loss since March 21, 2021 against No. 3 Northwestern.
    • The last time Rutgers lost at home to an unranked team was Feb. 29. 2020 when they dropped an overtime game to Saint Joseph's.
  • ASU became just the third team in 12 tries to score 13 or more goals against the Scarlet Knights. 
  • Katie Vahle set a new career high, recording 11 saves, several of which came at a crucial point of the game.
    • She now has at least eight saves in seven games this year, picking up her fourth win of the season.
  •  Emily Glagolev continues her brilliant final campaign in Tempe, delivering when the Sun Devils needed her the most.
    • She scored four goals, the third time she has reached that mark this season.
    • Glagolev has four or more points in seven games in 2022.
    • In her career, Glagolev has four performances with 4+ goals.
  • Taylor Pinzone felt right at home in Big Ten territory, finishing with a team-high five points.
    • Through 11 games of her Sun Devil career, she already has 23 goals and seven assists (30 points).
    • In 50 games at Northwestern, she had 34 goals and six assists (40 points).
  • Carley Adams was a big part of the offense once again, scoring two goals and dishing out two assists.
    • Adams has scored at least one goal in every game this season.
    • She finished with four or more points for the fifth time in 2022.
  • Kaylon Buckner added a pair of important goals, the 14th multi-goal performance of her career.
  • The Sun Devils were able to hold their own in the draw circle (14-14) thanks in large part to the efforts of Zoe Mazur, who earned six draw controls. 
  • Arizona State was extremely efficient offensively, scoring 13 goals on only 20 total shots (17 on goal).

FIRST QUARTER
Rutgers struck first with a goal a little over four minutes into the game, as the Sun Devils were able to control the pace early. Kaylon Buckner would respond less than two minutes later, getting the visitors on the board and tying the game. The Scarlet Knights would go on to score the final two goals of the period and almost had a third, but an acrobatic play by Katie Vahle prevented them from extending the lead. ASU would find themselves trailing 3-1 after the opening 15 minutes. 
 
SECOND QUARTER
Rutgers was able to strike first in the second quarter, but the Sun Devils took over in the second. Arizona State went onto score three goals in a 1:18 minute span to tie the game, executing in the draw circle and on offense. It was the Carley Adams and Emily Glagolev connection that started the run, as Glagolev finished off a great feed from Adams. Glagolev wasn't done there, scoring another goal exactly a minute later off a nice dish from Taylor Pinzone. Only 18 seconds after that, Katie Brodsky found an opening and converted off an excellent pass from Carley Adams. The three-goal run caused Rutgers to take a timeout, with ASU claiming the momentum. The Sun Devil defense held the Scarlet Knights scoreless for a 10:36 period of the second quarter. Rutgers was finally able to break through with two goals late in the period, taking a 6-4 lead into halftime.  
 
THIRD QUARTER
For the third consecutive period, Rutgers struck first, opening up the period with two straight goals. Emily Glagolev was able to stop a 4-0 Scarlet Knights run, scoring her third goal of the game to make it 8-5. Mina Scott cut back down to two, beating the goalkeeper after Emily Munro found her open. It became a game of 2-0 runs, as Rutgers would go on to score the next two goals. The Sun Devils were not fazed, responding with a 2-0 run of their own to end the period. The first goal came off the stick of Taylor Pinzone, with Kaylon Buckner credited with the assist. Carley Adams ripped a shot low on the goalkeeper, as Mina Scott set her up on the doorstep. Arizona State would remain in striking distance heading into the fourth, trailing only 10-8.
 
FOURTH QUARTER
After Rutgers scored first in each of the first three periods, Arizona State flipped the script and managed to get on the board with a huge goal. Taking advantage of the woman-up opportunity, Kaylon Buckner converted on the free-position attempt to make it 10-9 and extend the ASU run to 3-0. Gigi Gaspar was called for a second yellow card, creating a two-minute, non-releasable advantage. The Scarlet Knights were able to come through on a woman-up chance of their own, extending the lead back to 11-9. The Sun Devils continued to fight, behind the brilliant performance of Emily Glagolev. She managed to slip by the Rutgers defense unmarked and Taylor Pinzone fed her for an easy goal. 
 
The drama and intensity ratcheted up from this point, with every play becoming extremely important. Rutgers took a timeout and they were able to execute shortly after, re-establishing a two-goal lead. As they did all game, the Sun Devils battled back to cut the lead back to one. Maria Villanti's first point of the game couldn't have come at a better time, delivering a crucial goal with less than six minutes left. It was the Katie Vahle show from there, as she made several important stops to keep the deficit at one. This set up an opportunity for ASU to tie the game, one they were finally able to take advantage of after getting close five times previously. Taylor Pinzone muscled her way into a favorable position on the goalkeeper and delivered a goal with under a minute left to tie the game at 12. The Sun Devils nearly won it in regulation after claiming the ensuing draw control, but Pinzone was stopped by the Scarlet Knight goalkeeper. 
 
OVERTIME
For the first time all season, Arizona State had to get prepared for overtime, with the sudden death format putting emphasis on possession. Despite the fact that Rutgers was able to win the opening draw, the Sun Devil defense got the biggest stop of the season to get the ball back to the offense. Utilizing a patient approach, the Maroon & Gold waited for the right opportunity. That moment came when Carley Adams had the ball, as she took a feed from Taylor Pinzone and scored the biggest goal to date in program history.
 
QUOTABLES
Head Coach Tim McCormack
On the team's ability to bounce back
"It shows that we truly believe that every day is game day and no one day or one moment will define us."
 
On the play of goalkeeper Katie Vahle
"Katie was huge for us she saw the ball all day long and showed tremendous poise and confidence."
 
On the turnout of Sun Devil Nation on the road
"Our fans and supports were huge today and have been all season," It felt like we were at home with all the support and they've been there all year."
 
Defender Bella Gaspar
On the team's ability to get over the hump after a few close road losses
"This win today is just a testament to what we've been working for since the beginning of the year. It's an unmatched feeling, we deserved this and it's a feeling nobody on our team will ever forget!"
 
On how the team was able to bounce back so quickly after Friday's loss
"After Friday's game we honestly all just kind of were on the same page that we came a really long way to play these games, not only travel wise, but also as a team and there was absolutely nothing that was going stop us from bouncing back. There was not a moment in the game where I doubted anyone on our team, we all wanted this so bad. I looked at everyone on the defense in the 4th and just yelled that we aren't letting this one go this is all us."
 
On goalkeeper Katie Vahle's performance
"Katie is a stud. Plain and simple. She's growing with every game and came up big when we needed her to today."
 
Attacker Carley Adams

On the victory 
"We never doubt ourselves and our preparation so when we are down we never give up on each other and to see that culminate in a beautiful game like today was so rewarding."

On the fight of her team
"This Sun Devil lacrosse team is made up the best 40 kids you'll ever meet. We support and love each other every moment we get to spend together. So after a tough loss, we just feel grateful to get to play the sport we love for another day."

On scoring the game-winning goal
"Today's win was a feeing I'll never forget. It was also cool to hug my mom and call my brothers after a moment like that. Really special."

On the impact of Sun Devil fans

"Sun Devil Lacrosse fans give all of their energy into each game and it's starts with the sidelines. Today it felt like there were only Sun Devils in the stand"

UP NEXT
Arizona State returns home to host a pair of Pac-12 opponents next weekend. First up, No. 25 Stanford comes to town in a pivotal game for the Pac-12 Conference Standings. The game will take place at 4 PM MST at Sun Devil Soccer/Lacrosse Stadium, broadcasted via the ASU Live Stream with live stats also available. ASU will look to defeat the Cardinal for the first time in program history and hand them their first conference loss in the process.
 
The second game of the weekend features a matchup with California on Sunday at 12 PM MST. The contest will also be broadcasted via the ASU Live Stream, with live stats found here. The Sun Devils will attempt to win their sixth-straight game over the Golden Bears and third in a row at Sun Devil Soccer/Lacrosse Stadium.
 
HOW TO FOLLOW
For the latest updates, follow our Twitter and Instagram accounts (@SunDevilWLax). Like our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/sundevilwlax/) for content on the team throughout the season. Visit our website, TheSunDevils.com, for the latest updates and information on the program.