When it was confirmed Taylor Pinzone had received a fifth year of NCAA eligibility, it was an easy decision for her to continue to play another year of lacrosse.
The attacker played 50 games for Northwestern and finished her career with the Wildcats scoring 34 goals. Instead of remaining with the Wildcats for her fifth and final year, Pinzone entered the transfer portal.
"I really loved my four years at Northwestern and I wouldn't trade that for anything. But I was just looking for a different experience for my last year," Pinzone said.
For Pinzone's first two years at Northwestern, ASU head coach Tim McCormack served as an assistant coach for the Wildcats. McCormack was one of the first coaches to reach Pinzone when she entered the transfer portal.
"I was really excited when Tim reached out, and I think he was a big reason that drew me to this school," Pinzone said.
With Pac-12 women's lacrosse on the rise, Pinzone is excited to help the Sun Devils continue to grow as a program. The Sun Devils have already seen success as such a new program and show no signs of slowing down.
"As a fifth year, I'm looking to bring some leadership and some past experience and I'm just ready to compete," Pinzone said.
Pinzone has found the transition from Evanston, Illinois, to Tempe to be seamless, her new teammates making her feel welcome from day one and creating an encouraging and fun environment.
"They're all very dedicated players and they want to win just as bad as I do," Pinzone said.
McCormack credits Pinzone's on field personality as one of the most important assets the attacker brings to the Sun Devils. Pinzone is an ideal teammate who encourages everyone around her to perform at their best while still having fun.
Coach McCormack said Pinzone is someone the other girls on the team trusted instantly.
"I think our offense is, it's not just built around one person," graduate attacker Emily Glagolev said. "It's a whole team, all seven of us are out there and can do anything. So I think that's helpful when people are coming in to not have to fill a role."
Pinzone brings unmatched experience to the Sun Devils, having played in the Big Ten conference. With two Big Ten conference championships and three NCAA tournament appearances, Pinzone has made an impact in high pressure games.
"She's had huge game experience and brings that with her," McCormack said.
Pinzone is looking forward to competing with the Sun Devils with her sights set on helping to win the first Pac-12 championship in program history. With her impressive record of postseason appearances, Pinzone is sure to give the Sun Devils a boost through the entire season.
"It's going to all come together because we're competing every single day," Pinzone said.
Pinzone and the Sun Devils will face off against the Northwestern Wildcats on Sunday, Feb. 20. While she looks forward to taking on her former teammates, Pinzone is approaching the game in the same way she approaches every game on the schedule.
"I think it will be exciting to go back and see my old teammates and friends and my coaches, but my mindset stays the same," Pinzone said. "It's just like any other game but it will be exciting."
Kathryn Field is a sports editor at The State Press. Kathryn has previously worked as a full time reporter at The State Press, covering women’s basketball and lacrosse.