Behind the ASU football team’s practice field and the Verde Dickey Dome lies a small field and it is the practice field of one of the more consistent ASU athletic team over the last half decade.
It is where the ASU club lacrosse team improves its game.
Sun Devil lacrosse has been a dominant program as of late, winning the Southwestern Lacrosse Conference title last year and going to the MCLA Final Four the last four seasons.
Now a new season begins.
Last year’s seniors have graduated. Underclassmen have improved, and new players have stepped into new roles.
Last season’s leading point scorer, senior Payson Clark, is one of the returners. He led the team last season with 22 goals and was second with 13 assists for a total of 35 points. Clark, along with five other offensive players, forms a returning offensive threat that all played with each other last season.
“The team chemistry has been building,” Clark said. “We want to win, and we want to have a lot of fun doing it.”
One of the players not returning is 2012 All-American goalie Dylan Westfall. Last season, he ranked No. 2 in the SLC averaging six goals per game and had 100 saves.
Someone needs to fill the net he left behind.Enter sophomore Brandon Propp.
Propp will begin his second season for ASU, his first as a starter. Propp played in nine games last year, allowing only eight goals in that span.
He understands the new responsibility, as well as the opportunity.
“It’s a big deal to me,” said Propp. “I’m ready for that ultimate challenge and take this team to a national championship.”
Both Propp and coach Chris Malone acknowledge that playing a year under Westfall was a growing experience for Propp. Last season, Westfall played 19 games and was able to tutor Propp during his freshman year.
“Last year, it was nice to have Dylan (Westfall) in front of him,” Malone said. “Just learn certain things and not be rushed into a starting a position.”
“It made me much better,” said Propp. “I always try to base how I play off how Dylan Westfall played last year.He made me who I am today.”
Entering the season, ASU holds the No. 2 ranking in the nation. Neither the players nor Malone are putting too much stock into the recognition.
“We still don’t know how good we are yet,” Propp said. “We’ll find out what we’re made of Feb. 16.”
“It’s just a number,” Malone said. “The only reason there’s a preseason poll is to give people something to talk about.”
No. 2 ASU kicks off its season Feb. 16 on the road against Cal. The Sun Devils’ first home game is March 1 against Chapman.
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