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Mustangs defense stymies #5 Cabrini for win

Connor Skeen made 12 saves as the Mustangs defense shut down No. 5 Cabrini.

Connor Skeen made 12 saves as the Mustangs defense shut down No. 5 Cabrini.

It would have been easy for the Stevenson men’s lacrosse team to sink after giving up three early goals to fall behind the No. 5 team in the country, especially only a few days after dropping out of the top-20 rankings themselves. But the Mustangs tightened up on defense and had their way against Cabrini the rest of the way as they earned a 7-4 victory over Cabrini.

“This is exactly what we needed,” senior leader Stephen Banick said. “Tonight was the first time we had fun playing and you could see it on the field. Guys were smiling, our attitudes were positive and we felt like we were dominating.”

Wade Korvin gave Stevenson a 1-0 lead after finishing a feed by Matt Thompkins just five minutes into the game, but Cabrini struck right back, nailing three-straight goals to take a 3-1 lead by the end of the first quarter.

The Cavaliers took advantage of an extra-man opportunity following a one-minute cross-check penalty called on Taylor Morgan with 8:55 remaining in the first half. Just 27 ticks of the clock later Jordan Krug found Kyle Bush for the game-tying score. Then, about three minutes later Brian Kittredge worked his way toward the crease, spunk around and put a behind the back shot into the net.

Cabrini continued on with a third goal in just a four-minute span when Sean Wagner finished a feed by Evan Allvord to put Cabrini up after one quarter.

The Cavaliers dominated possession early, winning all five faceoffs in the first quarter and taking the lead in the ground ball battle.

Those two things would continue throughout the game too. Cabrini dominated at the faceoff X, winning 14-of-15 attempts and out-scooped Stevenson 34-28 in ground balls over the course of the game. But the Mustangs were able to neutralize the sever disparity at the X with incredible defense.

Connor Skeen made 12 saves in the game and their pressure led to the Cavaliers turning the ball over 26 times. Ten of them were caused by the Mustangs.

“We just grinded it out,” Skeen said. “It showed how we played as a whole. We went down 1-3 and the whole team picked ourselves up. We grinded it out.”

Stevenson shut Cabrini out for 45 minutes until the end of the game when Matt LoParo netted a goal with 4:15 remaining in regulation. At that point, though, Stevenson was able to shake off the early punch they got hit with and scored six-straight goals to get in position for the win.

“In the first quarter I thought our offense was hurting us more than anything with quick possessions. They (Cabrini) have a lot of talented guys on offense so we were making us play a lot of defense,” Stevenson head coach Paul Cantabene said. “I thought once we settled down and made some plays in the second quarter it settled us in.”

Banick scored early in the second quarter and not even a minute later Korvin netted his second goal of the game. Banick scored for a second time at the end of the first half when Kyle D’Onofrio found him for a goal with 3:26 remaining.

Banick returned the favor in the third quarter as he fed D’Onofrio for the game’s lone goal in the third quarter. He them completed his hat trick with 13:18 remaining in the fourth quarter after finishing a feed from Jesse Horn. Morgan Pritchett put the Mustangs ahead by four goals with a goal with 10:38 remaining in the game.

Stevenson continued to play strong defense to keep the Cavaliers from getting anything going.

“It’s nice when you’re not chasing the lead and all you have to do is pad the lead,” Banick said.

After a tough start to the season, Stevenson has evened their record with a second-straight victory over a ranked opponent. They will have just a 24-hour turnaround before hosting No. 18 Dickinson in the second day of the Green Turtle Classic on Saturday at 8 pm.

“They key (to a quick turnaround) is mentality,” Cantabene said. “We’ve done this a lot…you got to grind through it. It’s a mental test. What’s great about this tournament is you turn around and play another really good team the next day and you see what your team is made of.”

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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