The men’s lacrosse team is halfway through its season, and though the team had a slow start, a recent win against No. 1 Tufts University demonstrated improved strength. The team has a plan in mind. With power and teamwork, they hope to achieve their goals.
Head coach Paul Cantabene said, “The team’s main goal is to get to the NCAA championships.” A winning record for the last 12 seasons is proof that Cantabene’s goal is a realistic one.
The team had a slow start for their first couple of games. Losses to Western New England, RIT, Salisbury and Dickinson marked the start of the 2016 campaign, but the win over Tufts provided an enormous boost to morale.
Mike Adams, a sophomore defenseman, said: “We were playing individually, instead of playing like a family.” Adams also said that as the season has progressed the players are coming together and playing more like a team. With their notable win against the No.1-ranked Division III team in the country, Adams said, “We finally came together and played well like a team; we were working towards a common goal.”
Senior goalie Connor Skeen added that defeating Tufts came from the Mustangs having a chip on their shoulder and understanding they had a chance to win. “We played together and had more of a team bond,” he said.
Against Hood College on March 26, the Mustangs grabbed a 20-9 victory against the Blazers as 13 different Mustangs scored. Senior attack Stephen Banick currently leads the team with 26 points, followed by senior midfielder Matt Tompkins with 19 and junior midfielder Kyle D’Onofrio with 17. Sophomore defender Dom DeFazio leads the team in ground balls with 29. With an average of just over 49 shots per game, the Mustangs are shooting about 25 percent on the season.
The team has consistently improved since the start of the season and they have realized the importance of teamwork. In order to be successful, Cantabene said it’s about “getting the right players; players who work hard and are tough mentally.”
Recruiting continues to be a significant part of Stevenson lacrosse. Players come from all over the nation to play for the Mustangs, hoping to be a part of a successful team. Though many players come from local powerhouses in Maryland as well as New York, others hail from schools in North Carolina, Tennessee, California, Florida and Montana, just to name a few.
The Mustangs, ranked No. 15 by the NCAA as of March 28, will travel to Lynchburg College on April 2 for a 7 p.m. game, and then face York College (No. 4) at home in Mustang Stadium on April 8.