Stevenson men’s lacrosse hosts annual Mustang Classic

Stevenson continues to shine a spotlight on Division III men’s lacrosse during tournament’s 13th year
Andrew Searing running with ball while setting up an offensive play against Lynchburg in the Mustang Classic
Andrew Searing running with ball while setting up an offensive play against Lynchburg in the Mustang Classic
Emma Hartman

The Mustang Classic, a lacrosse tournament that started in 2011 named the Meghan Puls Classic, began to help raise donations for the Meghan Puls Foundation. The tournament started as a fall ball classic over one day with four teams invited. Over the 13 years it has gone on, it has since expanded to a two day, 10-team tournament that brings Division III men’s lacrosse together.

This year’s classic included of No. 2 Rochester Institute of Technology, No. 3 Tufts, No. 4 Dickinson, No. 7 Christopher Newport, No. 8 St. Lawrence, No. 12 Lynchburg, No. 14 Washington and Lee, No. 16 York, Hamilton, and host Stevenson.

I had the chance to sit down with Stevenson men’s lacrosse head coach Paul Cantabene before the second day of the tournament about the importance of it and what it means to Stevenson and the men’s lacrosse program.

“I think it is one of the premier tournaments in the country across all divisions, having 10 games over two days,” said Cantabene. “I think it is a great thing for our school, we get tons of publicity out of it and we’re really happy how the tournament has gone and where it has come from, we started out with four teams, now it is up to ten teams, so it’s really cool.”

Throughout the classic, I came across parents and fans from different schools in the tournament. Their first impressions of Stevenson and the tournament were positive.

Tufts lacrosse participated in their first ever Mustang Classic this weekend. (Emma Hartman)

Mary Stockdale is a mother of six, all of which have played a sport whether it is field hockey or lacrosse. She has three sons, two of which play for Tufts lacrosse, so she is familiar with how the Mustang Classic works.

Stockdale and I chat while her sons are competing in day two of the classic. Tufts was competing in the tournament for the first time ever. They were matched up with the highest ranked team competing in No. 2 RIT. Her sons lost the game 16-11, but we didn’t spend much time talking about the game. We discussed Stevenson University’s complex.

“It is a great complex and [my family and I] were excited to come to Stevenson,” said Stockdale.

Being described as one of, if not the best Division III tournament outside of the NCAA championship, the Mustang Classic brings teams together early in the season that may not normally get an opportunity to play each other until later. All teams competing in the classic had played less than 10 games this season.

“It is a great environment. One of the epicenters of lacrosse, and has great facilities,” said Stewart Stockdale, Mary’s husband. “It is awesome to bring these teams early on and get the best of the best to play so early in the season. To match up teams from the north and the south is really cool.”

Lynchburg went 1-1 as well and from speaking with a few Hornet parents, thoughts carried the same if not higher praise for Stevenson. To boot, not only was the complex receiving compliments, but the level of competition was getting too with eight of the 10 teams being nationally ranked.

“It is the best two-day tournament in Division III lacrosse, they have been coming up for five years,” said Tom Wolfe, whose son  Dylan Wolfe (No. 55) is on the team.

“It is such a great weekend of lacrosse,” said Chris Harris whose son Will (No. 16) is a first-year on St. Lawrence. The Saints were one of only two teams in attendance to go 2-0 over the weekend.

The theme of the tournament was dramatic one point contests with two games going to overtime, and four being separated by no more than one goal.

Lynchburg beat host Stevenson 15-9 and was upset by Hamilton 16-15 during their games. Tufts went 1-1, beating Hamilton 19-12 on Friday and falling to RIT 16-11 on Saturday.

Midfielder Andrew Searing stands for the National Anthem prior to the Mustang Classic (Emma Hartman)

As mentioned by USA Lacrosse Magazine in a recap of the Mustang Classic, St. Lawrence had an exceptional weekend. In one of Friday’s best games, Ben Hutchinson (No. 11) scored two minutes and 36 seconds into overtime to secure a 9-8 Saints victory over York College of Pennsylvania.

The following day, St. Lawrence won another overtime thriller, knocking off Christopher Newport 13-12 on a goal by Judge Murphy (No. 34), who finished with a hat trick and two assists in each game.

“We wanted to come here 2-0, and we did just that. We couldn’t have left here in a better place,” Murphy said in an interview with USA Lacrosse.

Over the course of the two days, the Mustang Classic kept Stevenson front and center in the world of Division III men’s lacrosse. This tournament shows the country that Stevenson continues to be a hub for the sport again and again this time of year.

“Stevenson believes the impossible is possible, you just got to believe in that,” said Cantabene in a postgame interview with Glenn Clarke. “Coaches are willing to sacrifice so much to make this tournament great. This weekend showed the brilliance of Division III lacrosse and what coaches are willing to do.”

Mustang Classic Scores

Day One                                                                Day Two

No. 8 St. Lawrence 9, No. 16 YCP 8 (OT)          Dickinson 11, YCP 8
No. 7 CNU 17, No. 4 Dickinson 9                         St. Lawrence 13, CNU 12 (OT)
No. 2 RIT 15, No. 14 Washington & Lee 9          Hamilton 16, Lynchburg 15
No. 3 Tufts 19, Hamilton 12                                  RIT 16, Tufts 11
No. 12 Lynchburg 15, Stevenson 9                    Stevenson 10, Washington & Lee 9

 

  • YCP - York College of Pennsylvania
  • CNU - Christopher Newport
  • RIT - Rochester Institute of Technology
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About the Contributors
Ben Johnson, Sports Reporter
Ben is a junior communication studies major from Hanover, Pennsylvania. After college he hopes to pursue a career in journalism. Ben enjoys covering sports and will be serving as the Stevenson basketball beat reporter for the 23'-24' season.
Emma Hartman, Sports Photographer
Emma is a junior communication studies major with a minor in event planning. Outside of taking photos for The Villager, Emma also works for Stevenson Athletic Communications, NAVY Athletic Communications and is the social media manager for the Stevenson men's ice hockey team. Emma's goal after graduation is to do social media for a professional sports team.
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