Round of 16
Region 3: Team Achievements
No. 8 "Lacrosse Makes Final Four" vs. No. 5 "Hockey Makes Final Four"
The case for "Lacrosse": Payson Clark. Justin Straker. Dan Davis. If you're a devoted Sun Devil athletics fan, you still might not know these names. But you should. The trio above formed one of the most successful attack lines in Arizona State lacrosse history and propelled the Sun Devils to their fourth straight final four.
Like ASU Hockey, lacrosse is a club sport and doesn't compete at the NCAA level. However, like hockey, club lacrosse has become increasingly competitive and 2013 was a banner year for the sport. Teams from across the country pulled in top-notch recruiting classes and Arizona State was no different. Sun Devil standouts like Preston Anderson and Jackson Browne joined coach Chris Malone's recruiting class in hopes of building a legacy in the desert.
And that's exactly what this team did. The Sun Devils overcame losses to two conference rivals (Chapman and Grand Canyon) to demolish the Arizona Wildcats before heading to the MCLA Tournament. Upon arrival, ASU thrashed two opponents by 10 goal margins before ultimately succumbing to National Runner-Up Colorado by one goal. ASU Lacrosse made its fourth consecutive MCLA final four this season, and hope abounds for next year. Though this team might be anonymous to some Sun Devil fans, it deserves recognition and deserves to move on. -Kerry Crowley
The case for "Hockey": This season, the Arizona State hockey team reached unprecedented heights for one of the nation's best up-and-coming programs. Under head coach Greg Powers, the Sun Devils achieved their first No. 1 overall ranking, won their first 18 games of the season, and knocked off an NCAA Division 1 opponent in stunning fashion. But perhaps the greatest accomplishment came in the ACHA Tournament, where the Sun Devils advanced further than ever before.
After blowing past Rutgers and Illinois in the first two rounds of the tournament, Arizona State found itself in uncharted territory. The Sun Devils made the National Semifinals and squared off against a perennial powerhouse in the Lindenwood Lions. After falling behind 4-1, the Sun Devils executed one of the most thrilling comebacks in tournament history to tie the game at four. Unfortunately, the Lions pulled away and advanced to the championship.
In making it to the semifinals and pulling in a top recruiting class yet again, Arizona State assured itself that the Sun Devils will be a force to be reckoned with for years to come. At this point, coach Greg Powers has adopted the "National Championship or Bust" philosophy and its due in large part to the success of the 2012-2013 team. -Kerry Crowley