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Breaking Down the Sun Devil Lacrosse Postseason Resume

May 8, 2022

Head Coach Tim McCormack has challenged his team with an extremely difficult schedule and it has paid off, as Sun Devil Lacrosse is pushing for their first berth in the NCAA Tournament. It is finally Selection Sunday, with the 29-team bracket to be determined during a broadcast on ESPNU at 6 PM MST. Thanks to a program high 11 wins, several that attracted national attention, the Maroon & Gold are a strong contender for an at-large bid.

"No matter what happens, we remain proud of this group," Coach McCormack remarked. "The way we handled the schedule was impressive and made us better as the season went on. We are playing our best lacrosse right now."

Arizona State is looked upon favorably in two key metrics when evaluating their postseason resume. The Maroon and Gold have the No. 12-rated strength of schedule, having faced 11 Top-25 teams through 19 games. Because of their success in those games, Arizona State has a RPI of 26, which continues to climb down the stretch. During a span from March and into April, ASU played five straight games against ranked opponents, one of only eight teams in the nation that had to take on that challenge in 2022.

As the regular season gets closer to a conclusion, Sun Devil Lacrosse continues to emerge as one of the up-and-coming programs in the nation. Take a closer look at how the 2022 campaign has unfolded, one that has prepared Arizona State for any opponent they face. The following is a breakdown of the Maroon & Gold's resume:

Arizona State is currently ranked in the Top-25 in one of two major national polls, the fifth straight week they have been ranked. This is the first instance in which ASU stayed in five consecutive Top-25's and most times in a season they have been ranked. Inside Lacrosse/IWLCA slot the Sun Devils at No. 23 in their latest polls, matching the highest spot ever occupied by the program. ASU is also receiving votes and on the cusp of cracking the most recent U.S. Lacrosse Magazine Top-20. 

In both the latest U.S. Lacrosse Magazine and Inside Lacrosse bracketologies, Arizona State was included in the NCAA Tournament as an at-large team. U.S. Lacrosse Magazine projects Arizona State to play Denver in a first round matchup at the Syracuse Regional, hosted by No. 5 seed Syracuse. Inside Lacrosse has the Sun Devils traveling to the Stony Brook Regional to take on host No. 6 seed Stony Brook in a first round matchup.

What is helping Coach McCormack's team separate itself is the lack of bad losses, as all eight of their defeats in 2022 have come at the hands of teams currently in the Top-25. To take that a step further, three Sun Devil losses have been against teams in the Top-10. ASU is one of four Pac-12 teams making a push for a NCAA berth, joined by USC, Stanford, and Colorado in producing a banner year for the league. Only the ACC (6) and Big Ten (5) have more teams in the mock field than the Pac-12, both of which are almost double the size of the Pac-12. The most recent evidence the committee has is a victory over No. 16 USC in the Pac-12 semifinals, with ASU peaking at the right time.

Coach McCormack's team has a fearless mentality, unafraid of high pressure situations or hostile environments. Despite playing the 12th-toughest schedule in the nation, Arizona State is 11-7 and has defeated four ranked teams. The resume of the Maroon & Gold includes several impressive wins that will prove to be a huge boost come postseason time.

March 13th - Arizona State 20, #23 Colorado 6
Arizona State took control of the game early and never looked back, overwhelming the ranked Buffaloes during an 8-0 second period. The 14-goal margin of defeat was the largest in the nine-year history of the Colorado program. They claim their second win over a Top-25 team as a program, doing it in impressive fashion. 

April 3rd - Arizona State 13, @ #14 Rutgers 12 (OT)
Sun Devil Lacrosse earned a dramatic comeback victory on the road over No. 14 Rutgers. They pick up their 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.
ASU was 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.
April 8th - #25 Arizona State 18, #22 Stanford 11
Sun Devil Lacrosse finally got over the hump, defeating Stanford for the first time. Arizona State proved to be the better team from the opening draw, outscoring the No. 22 Cardinal each of the four quarters en route to an impressive 18-11 victory. Now that Head Coach Tim McCormack has defeated Stanford, his program has now beaten all five Pac-12 opponents. In a matchup of Top-25 teams, the No. 25 Sun Devils controlled the action in front of a lively home crowd.

The Maroon & Gold backed up a road win over No. 14 Rutgers with a second straight Top-25 victory, the first time the program has accomplished the feat.

April 17th - #23 Arizona State 16, @ Colorado 8

Arizona State had never won in Boulder, but that changed in a big way on April 17 thanks to a complete and focused effort. The Sun Devils jumped out to a 7-0 lead and never looked back, utilizing a balanced attack and aggressive defense to overwhelm the Buffaloes from the opening whistle. ASU took the home crowd out of the game as Colorado never got back within four goals, with the Maroon & Gold eventually establishing a running clock thanks to a double-digit lead.

May 5th - #23 Arizona State 13, #16 USC 12
Sun Devil Lacrosse picked up one of the biggest wins in program history, defeating No. 16 USC in the Pac-12 Lacrosse Tournament semifinals. No. 23 Arizona State proved to be the better team in the ranked matchup, outlasting the Trojans despite having just played a game the day before. The impact of Assistant Head Coach for Sports Performance Pete Alosi and Head Athletic Trainer Caitlyn Blanton was on full display, as the Maroon & Gold bounced back with fresh legs and plenty of gas still in the tank. In an instant classic, the Sun Devils pulled off a massive 13-12 victory to clinch a berth into the 2022 Pac-12 Lacrosse Tournament championship game thanks to a vital 3-0 fourth quarter run.

Coach McCormack and his staff learned from the two regular season matchups with the Trojans, constructing a gameplan that attacked the weaknesses of the Trojans, Even with the return of All-American Kelsey Huff to the USC lineup, Arizona State still managed to pull off the victory against the highly-touted No. 2 seed and co-Pac-12 Regular Season Champions.

With the win over Stanford back on April 8th, Arizona State has now beaten every other Pac-12 program. They picked up at least one victory over every Pac-12 team this season, sweeping the season series with Colorado, Oregon, and California. The seven conference wins and winning percentage of 70% both represented new program highs. The third place finish in the Pac-12 was also a new best, with ASU claiming the No. 3 seed in the conference tournament for the first time.

They built on the regular season conference success with a historical run in the Pac-12 Lacrosse Tournament. Arizona State became the first team besides Stanford, USC, or Colorado to make it to the conference championship game. They got there by defeating Cal for the seventh straight time and knocking off No. 16 USC in the semifinal round one day later. 

Sunday, May 8th - Selection Show on
Friday, May 13th & Sunday, May 15th - First & Second Round Games (Campus Sites)
Thursday, May 19th - Quarterfinals (Campus Sites)
Friday, May 27th - Semifinals (Homewood Field; Baltimore, MD)
Sunday, May 29th - National Championship (Homewood Field; Baltimore, MD)

The NCAA Women's Lacrosse Tournament is made of 29 teams, with 15 automatic bids handed out to conference tournament champions, leaving 14 at large bids selected by a committee. The Top-8 teams get National Seeds and are guaranteed to host in the first and second round if capable, with the Top-3 seeds also receiving a bye into the second round. 

The NCAA Men's and Women's Lacrosse selection show will air on ESPNU tomorrow starting at 6 PM MST. The Sun Devils will find out their postseason fate, with the 29-team field revealed live with Arizona State as one of the featured teams on the broadcast. For more information on how to watch and to follow along with the selections, visit the following link.

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