LM MCLA Division I Preseason Player of the Year: Dylan Westfall
Arizona State Has a Presence in Goal
|Dylan Westfall wears his heart on
his sleeve in net "whether things are going well or whether they're
not," Arizona State coach Chris Malone said.
© Cecil Copeland
You want to play poker against Dylan Westfall. Trust us. You may not know how to play the card game and you might not know Westfall, but you're going to win a lot of chips if the Arizona State senior goalie sits across the table. Why? Because you'll always know when he has a good hand.
"You're going to see how I feel just by looking at me," Westfall said.
Westfall might be a mark in Las Vegas, but his emotional presence on the lacrosse field is part of the package that makes him the best player in MCLA Division I. He is a sound technical goalie, and his size (6-foot-3, 200 pounds) and athleticism are nonpareil among netminders in the non-varsity league. But it's Westfall's heart-on-his-sleeve exuberance that can both rally his teammates and fluster opponents.
Westfall proved critical in ending Michigan's three-year stranglehold on the MCLA championship. He made 10 saves in the Sun Devils' 7-6 victory over the Wolverines in the semifinals, but did even more to rattle the typically bloodless Michigan players with his demonstrative body language and verbal outbursts.
"I play with a lot of emotion, and I think it rubs off on the defense," Westfall said. "I definitely get them rowdy and get them going. That's my job as a goalie, and it's my job as a leader of the defense to lead by example and hopefully it will rub off them."
Westfall's zeal hasn't always been a benefit. In his first three games as a starter in 2010, his hot-headedness resulted in three penalties in his first five. While he hasn't been penalized since, Westfall still must consciously make sure his flare-ups do not damage the team.
"He's definitely an emotional person, whether things are going well or whether they're not," said ASU head coach Chris Malone. "When we talk about maturity, that's one of the things we try to focus on. When things aren't going the way you want them to go or we're just having that brain lapse for a couple of minutes, he's got to keep it together. He's definitely come a long way since when he got here, but he can definitely get better in that area. However, when he's on and is seeing the ball well and guys are making the plays, it's going to be tough to get the ball by him."
How has he done it?
"Just keeping it positive," said Westfall. "That's the number one thing I still work on today. It's my biggest challenge in being a goalie. A lot of goalies work on position in the cage; mine is just worrying about the next goal. Since this is my senior year, a lot of people look up to me, and I control the emotions of our team, so I have to keep it positive."
Arizona State has played in the last two national championship games, but came up short in both contests. If Westfall can use his emotions for good instead of evil, the Sun Devils might just come up aces in 2012.
LaxMagazine.com MCLA Division I PPOY Fan Vote
Dylan Westfall, Arizona State
Johnny McKnight, Texas
Ted Ferrin, BYU
Matt Walrath, Chapman
Check back to LaxMagazine.com Wednesday for profiles on
Lacrosse Magazine's preseason players of the year in WCLA Divisions
I and II, Clayton Crum (Texas) and Chelsea Farrell