Men’s lacrosse heads to 3rd round of NCAAS

(Photo by Sabina Moran)

Stevenson men’s lacrosse team won the Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) for the seventh straight year, with a whopping 23-4 final score over Lycoming College in the finals; the conference win sent the Mustangs into the NCAA tournament where they won their first game on May 8, upending Franklin and Marshall College, 12-9.

Freshman Cam Leydig controls the ball against  the Lebanon Valley College defense in the Mustangs’ win on April 16. (Photo by Sabina Moran)

The Mustangs earned a pair of major awards and had 11 players added to the 2019 MAC Commonwealth All-Conference Team in the first week of May. Christensen was honored as Offensive Player of the Year, and freshman Seth Thorton was selected Specialist of the Year. Seniors J.T. Thelen, Gray McKee, Dominic DeFazio, and Dylan Harris also were selected to the first team, along with junior Jimmy Case.

Tatum and freshman Cam Leydig earned second-team selections, and juniors Al Falco and Marc Poust were named honorable mentions. The Mustangs also secured both Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week on April 29, with Tatum selected offensive and DeFazio winning defensive player. Tatum was also added to the USILA III Team of the Week for his 13 points scored on the road, including 10 goals against Arcadia University and Messiah College.

The Mustangs broke some records this season too, with Thelen becoming the new all-time leading goal scorer in their game versus Widener University on May 1. Thelen scored a total of 182 goals over his four years to break the record for career goals, and now has 187 after the MAC final.

The Mustangs have won the conference every year since they were added in 2013, and were crowned the national champions just six years ago. At 70-0 in the MAC Commonwealth, a program with repeated success comes with high standards, according to head coach Paul Cantabene.

Sophomore Jacob Tatum speeds towards the Lebanon Valley College goal in the Mustangs’ win on April 16. (Photo by Sabina Moran)

Cantabene said the tough schedule they play early in the year sets the tone for the advanced level of play the Mustangs carry into their conference. They plan to take each game one step at a time, and the goal is to survive and keep moving.

During the MAC championship game on May 4, the Mustangs started off with three early goals in the first three minutes by junior Ethan Christensen, putting them up 3-0 against the Warriors. Christensen finished the game with five goals and three assists, leading the game in scoring and earning the MAC Commonwealth tournament most valuable player.

Sophomores Will Smith and Jacob Tatum also scored a number of points that night, with Smith scoring four goals and one assist and Tatum tallying three goals and two assists. Thelen had two goals and two assists, and freshman Josh Brannan netted three goals as well.

Tatum noted that the season did not start the way they wanted it to, but the Mustangs’ determination and grit turned their season around since then. He said trying to go 1-0 each week is the team’s main focus entering NCAA playoffs.

The Mustangs’ record is currently 13-7, and they will head to Tufts University for a May 11 third-round NCAA playoff.

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