The head coach Tim McCormack challenged his team with an extremely tough schedule and it paid off as Sun Devil Lacrosse pushes for its first spot in the NCAA Tournament. It’s finally Selection Sunday, with the 29-team bracket to be determined when it airs on ESPNU at 6:00 p.m. MST. Thanks to an 11-win program, several of which have garnered national attention, the Maroon & Gold are a strong contender for a general offer.
“No matter what happens, we remain proud of this group,” remarked coach McCormack. “The way we handled the schedule was impressive and allowed us to improve as the season progressed. We are playing our best lacrosse right now.
Arizona State is viewed favorably in two key metrics when evaluating their playoff resume. The Maroon and Gold have the strength of the No. 12 ranked schedule, having faced 11 Top 25 teams in 19 games. Due to their success in these games, Arizona State has an RPI of 26, which continues to climb over the years. For a period from March to April, ASU played five consecutive games against ranked opponents, one of eight teams in the country that had to meet this challenge in 2022.
As the regular season nears its conclusion, Sun Devil Lacrosse continues to emerge as one of the country’s promising programs. Take a closer look at how the 2022 campaign unfolded, the one that prepared Arizona State for any adversary it faces. Here is a breakdown of Maroon & Gold’s resume:
SUN DEVILS IN THE RANKING
Arizona State is currently ranked in the Top 25 in one of the two major national polls, the fifth straight week they have been ranked. It’s the first time ASU has stayed in five consecutive Top-25 finishes and most of the time in a season it’s been ranked. Inside Lacrosse/IWLCA places the Sun Devils 23rd in their latest polls, matching the highest spot the program has ever held. ASU is also receiving votes and is on the verge of landing US Lacrosse Magazine’s most recent Top-20.
In the latest US Lacrosse Magazine and Inside Lacrosse bracketologies, Arizona State was included in the NCAA tournament as an overall team. US Lacrosse magazine projects Arizona State will face Denver in a first-round game at the Syracuse Regional, hosted by No. 5 seed Syracuse. Inside Lacrosse, the Sun Devils travel to the Stony Brook Regional to take on host No. 6 Stony Brook in a first-round matchup.
What helps coach McCormack’s side pull apart is the lack of bad losses, as their eight losses in 2022 have been inflicted by teams currently in the Top 25. Going further, three losses against Sun Devil have been against Top 10 teams. ASU is one of four Pac-12 teams pushing for a spot in the NCAA, joined by USC, Stanford and Colorado to produce a record year for the league. Only the ACC (6) and Big Ten (5) have more teams in the fictional field than the Pac-12, both of which are nearly double the size of the Pac-12. The most recent evidence available to the committee is a win over No. 16 USC in the Pac-12 semifinals, with ASU peaking at the right time.
Coach McCormack’s team has a fearless mentality, not afraid of high pressure situations or hostile environments. Despite having the 12th toughest schedule in the nation, Arizona State is 11-7 and has beaten four ranked teams. The Maroon & Gold summary includes several impressive wins that will prove to be a huge boost in the playoffs.
March 13 – Arizona State 20#23 Colorado 6
Arizona State took control of the game early and never looked back, crushing the ranked Buffaloes in an 8-0 second period. The 14-goal margin of loss was the largest in nine-year Colorado program history. They claim their second victory against a Top 25 team as a program, doing so in impressive fashion.
April 3 – Arizona State 13@ #14 Rutgers 12 (OT)
Sun Devil Lacrosse picked up a dramatic road victory over the No. 14 Rutgers. They pick up their first victory over a Top 15 opponent in program history, handing the much-loved Scarlet Knights just their second loss in the season. carley adams scored the game-winning goal in sudden death’s first overtime, sending the strong contingent of Sun Devil fans who had made the trip into a frenzy.
ASU dropped as many as four goals at multiple points in the game in less than ideal weather conditions, but showed resilience and tenacity in staging a valiant comeback effort. Arizona State was responsible for the game’s final three goals, stunning the home crowd and earning the program’s first victory over a Big Ten opponent.
April 8 – #25 Arizona State 18, #22Stanford 11
Sun Devil Lacrosse finally overcame the hump, beating Stanford for the first time. Arizona State proved to be the better team from the first tie, topping the No. 22 Cardinal in each of four quarters en route to an impressive 18-11 win. Now that the head coach Tim McCormack beat Stanford, its program has now beaten all five Pac-12 opponents. In a clash of Top 25 teams, the No. 25 Sun Devils controlled the action in front of a spirited home crowd.
The Maroon & Gold backed a road win over No. 14 Rutgers with a second straight Top 25 victory, the first time the program has accomplished the feat.
April 17 – #23 Arizona State 16, @ colorado 8
Arizona State had never won in Boulder, but that changed a lot on April 17 thanks to an all-out, focused effort. The Sun Devils took a 7-0 lead and never looked back, using a balanced offense and aggressive defense to overwhelm the Buffaloes from the first whistle. ASU eliminated the home crowd from the game as Colorado never recovered within four goals, with the Maroon & Gold eventually setting a clock with a double-digit lead.
May 5 – #23 Arizona State 13#16 USC 12
Sun Devil Lacrosse picked up one of the biggest wins in program history, beating No. 16 USC in the semifinals of the Pac-12 Lacrosse Tournament. No. 23 Arizona State proved to be the top team in the ranked game, outlasting the Trojans despite playing a game the day before. The Impact of Assistant Head Coach for Athletic Performance Pete Alosi and Head Athletic Coach 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 clinched a massive 13-12 victory to clinch a spot in the 2022 Pac-12 Lacrosse Tournament Championship Game thanks to a vital 3-0 run in the fourth quarter.
Coach McCormack and his team learned from the two regular season matchups with the Trojans, building a game plan that tackles the Trojans’ weaknesses. Even with the return of All-American Kelsey Huff to the USC roster, Arizona State still managed a victory over the highly vaunted No. 2 seed and Pac-12 regular-season co-champions.
With the victory over Stanford on April 8, Arizona State has now beaten every other Pac-12 program. They’ve had 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 70% winning percentage were both new highs for the program. Third place in the Pac-12 was also a new record, with ASU claiming the No. 3 seed in the conference tournament for the first time.
They built on regular season conference success with a historic run in the Pac-12 lacrosse tournament. Arizona State became the first team besides Stanford, USC or Colorado to qualify for the conference championship game. They got there by beating Cal for the seventh straight time and knocking out No. 16 USC in the semifinals a day later.
NCAA TOURNAMENT KEY DATES
Sunday, May 8 – Selection Show on NCAA.com
Friday, May 13 and Sunday, May 15 – First and Second Round Games (Campus Sites)
Thursday, May 19 – Quarter-finals (campus sites)
Friday, May 27 – Semi-Finals (Homewood Field; Baltimore, MD)
Sunday, May 29 – National Championship (Homewood Field; Baltimore, MD)
HOW THE CHAMP IS MADE
The NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Tournament is made up of 29 teams, with 15 automatic offers given to conference tournament champions, leaving 14 full-scale offers selected by a committee. Top 8 teams get domestic seeds and are guaranteed to host in the first and second round if they are able, with 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 6:00 p.m. MST. The Sun Devils will find out their playoff fate, with the 29-team field revealed live with Arizona State as one of the featured teams on the show. For more information on how to watch and follow the selections, visit the following link.
HOW TO FOLLOW
For the latest updates, follow our Twitter and Instagram accounts (@SunDevilWLax). Like our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/sundevilwlax/) for team content throughout the season. Visit our website, TheSunDevils.com, for the latest program updates and information.