In spring 2017, men’s lacrosse head coach Paul Cantabene is expecting nothing less than a continuation of the reputation that Stevenson men’s lacrosse has built during the last 13 years, generating hard-working, grind-it-out athletes on the field.
“I enjoy coming to work because I like what I do,” said Cantabene. “The guys have a great attitude; they work hard and know what they want. It’s fun to be out on the field with them,” he added.
Senior captain Dominic Defazio is looking forward to a great season as well.
“We’re a tight group of guys; we all have each others’ backs. We’re competitive with each other, always pushing … to do better. We have an eye for recognizing problems and then finding solutions. We’re going to have a great season. I guarantee it,” he said.
Among both players and coaching staff, there seems to be a mutual agreement that Salisbury is consistently the Mustangs’ top competitor. The Salisbury loss last season has the team looking forward to a shot at redemption.
Senior attackman Tyler Fuhrman said, “Playing Salisbury is always a good game. The stakes are high; everyone always brings their best game. It’s different then any other atmosphere; you can feel the tension.”
Cantabene has complete confidence in his team this season. With a strong incoming freshman class, dedicated players, and resilient leadership, he’s expecting a lot to come out of this particular group of players.
“It’s going to be a challenge,” Cantabene said. “We play four of the top five teams within the first couple weeks of our season. From the beginning we need to be mentally tough and start out strong,” he added. Mental toughness, in fact, may be the theme of the season for the team this year. Players and coaches alike agree that the team’s mental attitude and toughness — transferred physically onto the field — will determine the outcome of success.
Defazio reiterated that the team just needs to “trust the process. We know what we want; we know we’re capable,” he said.
The team opens their season at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) on Feb. 25. Preseason polls, including the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA)/Nike Division III Men’s Lacrosse Coaches Preseason Poll and the 2017 Face-off Yearbook Division III Top-20 poll have RIT ranked third in Division III. RIT escaped with a narrow 12-11 victory in their season opener against Ohio Wesleyan.