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No. 6 York slows down No. 7 Stevenson to take 11-8 decision

Stevenson was held well below their shot average as York’s slow-paced attack kept the Mustangs out of a rhythm.

Three unanswered goals to end the third quarter by the No. 6 York Spartans turned into a six-goal run that went deep into the fourth quarter and sunk the No. 7 Stevenson Mustangs men’s lacrosse team 11-8 on Saturday night in both team’s second game of the Mustang Classic.

Stevenson led 7-5 with 5:55 left in the third quarter after Kyle Karsian scored his second goal of the game, but they suffered through a 17-plus minute scoring drought as the Spartans took a four-goal lead late in the game. Stevenson finally scored with 3:25 left in the game, but couldn’t mount a comeback against a tough defense that made life difficult for them throughout the contest.

Stevenson was beaten 13-9 on faceoffs and 34-20 in ground balls. That gave York enough possessions to slow the Mustangs down and kept them from ever getting in a real rhythm.

“They (York) did a good job getting to loose balls and out-ground balled up by 14 and that was critical,” Mustangs head coach Paul Cantabene said. “They made us play slow and we couldn’t and that’s the way they want to play. They did a really good job doing what they want to do and we couldn’t get them out of it.”

Kyle D’Onofrio led Stevenson with three goals and two assists, but unlike previous games where the Mustangs were able to spread the ball around with ease, only five Stevenson players scored and only he and Karsian had multigoal games.

“Kyle (D’Onofrio) is a real special player. I think he’s one of the best players in the country and we rely on him a lot but probably too much tonight,” Cantabene said. “We got to get better play out of our attack.

“We just couldn’t get our attack to go today. We needed more of an attack. I thought they had chances but I thought they played a little soft at times. I thought we left some goals on the table and that kind of hurt us in the end when we didn’t put the ball away because we were too casual with it.”

Entering the game, the Mustangs were averaging 13 goals and 52.7 shots per game. Against York, with a struggling attack against a slower, methodical opponent, the Mustangs eight goals came on 31 shots. York was able to keep possession longer than teams had been able to in Stevenson’s three-game winning streak and eventually that bit the defense that was without two key pieces because of the flu.

Close defender Lito Flanagan and short stick defensive midfielder Tyler Russo both missed the game. The Mustangs defense held up admirably for most of the game, and even without those two, they limited the Spartans to just two goals in their six extra-man opportunities. One of those goals came when the Mustangs were two men down in the first quarter.

Stevenson worked out to a 5-2 lead in the second quarter and were in front 7-5 in the third quarter after Karsian scored in a man-up situation in the third quarter, but the six-straight goals over the 12-minute span put the Spartans ahead and the Mustangs were completely out of whatever little rhythm they had by the end of the game, making the comeback attempt an impossible task.

Cantabene also added that he felt his team was a little tired in their fifth-straight game against a ranked opponent while the Spartans might have been a little fresher when the fourth quarter came around.

But that is how the Mustangs have set up their schedule, loading it with a gauntlet of highly-ranked opponents in the non-conference season before entering non-conference play. And that gauntlet continues with another game in a short span of time when they host No. 3 Tufts on Tuesday at 7 pm. This will be the sixth straight year the Mustangs have hosted the Boston-based powerhouse at Owings Mills Stadium. Stevenson is 3-2 against them in that stretch since 2012.

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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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