This Saturday, the Stanford Cardinal are set to square off against the Arizona State Sun Devils at UCLA in the 2014 Pac-12 Shootout.
Stanford comes into the contest ranking 11th in the MCLA. Last week they lost to UC Santa Barbara in a 12-4 beatdown and look to rebound this weekend. Last season they went 14-4 and won the WCLL title, but struggled in the tournament, losing to Michigan State in the first round 13-9.
Image from: StanfordLacrosse.org
Although they only graduated six players, one of them was WCLL player of the year and first team All-American Jack Farr. They also graduated all of their LSMs as well as first team WCLL middie and faceoff man Sean O’Brien. It is not all bad for Stanford as they return two of their top three point getters in second team All- American Peter Doyle who scored 50 goals last year and Neil Hamamoto, one of their new captains, who had 70 points.
This is the opening game for Arizona State who comes in ranked 3rd. They finished last season with an 18-3 record, won the SLC and made a run in the tournament before losing to Colorado in the semifinals 5-4. They only graduated four seniors, including first team All-American and team captain Payson Clark, who finished the year with a league high 66 goals. They return four of their top five point getters and four All-Americans, two first team, FOGO Zack Handy and middie Logan Quinn, one second team defender Ian Connell, and one third team defender Zach Mendoza.
Stanford is going to come strong out of the gates in this matchup to try to make up for the loss last week, but will this be enough to defeat an Arizona State team with this much talent? If Stanford plays offensively like they did in their first game, there is no way they can. Two All-American defenders on the opposition and the loss of their top faceoff man will hurt their chances. In order for them to win this game, their offense will have to step it up, and their defense will need to play shut down on the two returning 45+ goal scorers on the Sun Devils.