Breaking News:

So Much Sports Baltimore has officially shut down on August 7, 2017, but would like to thank all of our readers, writers and everybody who helped make this website possible.

No. 17 Mustangs win fifth straight MACC title

When Albright scored three straight goals in the final four minutes of the first quarter to take a 4-1 lead into the second, it looked like the Stevenson Mustangs men’s lacrosse team might really be challenged by a conference opponent. But ultimately, Stevenson once again showed their great superiority on their way to winning the game and their fifth straight MAC Commonwealth championship.

“Any time you’re in the NCAA Tournament you feel pretty good,” Mustangs head coach Paul Cantabene said. “We knew we had to grind it out a little bit. They came to play and knew they would because they are playing their best lacrosse of the year. We’re happy to be where we are, happy to still be playing and are looking forward to seeing who we play tomorrow night.”

Maybe the final 12-6 score was not as wide as one might have expected considering how blowouts the Mustangs have won over the past five seasons, but Stevenson held Albright scoreless for 36-plus minutes and was never threatened once they got into a rhythm, even after the Lions made a push in the fourth quarter.

“It took us maintaining our standard of play and knowing how well we’re supposed to do and going out there and doing it and not talking about it,” Stevenson goalkeeper Ross Dinan said. “We were down 4-1 and I don’t think anyone was worried, knowing how good we are and how good we can play.”

Dinan was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player after making 11 saves in the game and 19 in the two games.

Albright scored the first goal of the game when scoring machine Cam Cetrone found the free man in front of the Mustangs goal. That free man was Nick Tonno, who scored in the fourth minute to put the Lions ahead.

JT Thelen was able to get the Mustangs on the board in the sixth minute with a score off a pass from Brandon Watson, but it the usual high-scoring offense struggled to get going early in the game. Meanwhile, Albright scored three goals in a row, including two in the final minute of the first quarter, just nine seconds apart from each other, to go ahead by three scores at 4-1.

Cetrone capped off the run with his 68th goal of the year.

But even his incredible ability to get the ball in the goal was not enough to break a tough Mustangs defense. Albright would not score again until more than six minutes were off the clock in the fourth quarter. The Mustangs pulled away with nine straight goals to take a 10-4 lead.

Stevenson scored all five of the goals in the second quarter. Kyle D’Onofrio started the big Mustangs run with a score before Thelen, Jacob Brown, Morgan Pritchett, and Sean Ohlhaver followed. To give Stevenson a 6-4 lead at halftime.

Kyle Karsian continued the run in the second half with his 30th goal of the year off another Watson feed. He scored again after D’Onofrio’s second goal. Tyler Fuhrman completed the Mustangs run with a whipped that went into the net as the buzzer sounded.

D’Onofrio, who finished the game with a team-high three goals, said Stevenson knew Albright was going to play a zone defense so their strategy was to attack their short stick midfielders and draft slides. And when that happened they would make a move forward into a one-on-one situation against the goalie. Even after the slow first quarter, Stevenson stuck to that gameplan and the scores finally just came.

“Our guys took them a little light out of the gate but I thought we did a great job bouncing back, solving their zone and getting some great shots,” Cantabene said. “I think our guys did a great job rallying. It’s tough when you’ve won as many conference games as we have to keep ringing that bell but I think our guys do a pretty good job of it.”

Cetrone ended the Mustangs run and Albright drought with his second goal of the game and 69th score of the year. He then assisted Tonno for a second time in the game, coming in an extra-man opportunity. The back-to-back goals got Albright within four scores with 6:13 left, but Stevenson shut them down the rest of the way and even added two more scores to their final total to secure the victory.

Cetrone finished with four points but was very quiet during the second and third quarters while Stevenson pulled away. And not just quiet in terms of scoring, he was not even threatening Stevenson.

“He’s Player of the Year offensively but we have the Defensive Player of the Year, Dom [DeFazio],” Stevenson defenseman Dylan Harris said. “He’s a leader down low and took it to him. He showed who the bigger man was down low.”

The victory was also Cantabene’s 200th career victory, all coming with the Mustangs since he took over in 2005. Stevenson has never lost a game to a MAC Commonwealth opponent.

“It’s great to get it (his 200th win),” Cantabene said. “At times I didn’t know if I would get it but we got it and it’s really about the school and the players and the coaches more than me because I’m just the guy at the head. It takes a University to run a lacrosse program and it’s more of a tribute to them. What we’ve accomplished in 13 years is truly amazing. Not many programs can do what we’ve done.”

Stevenson has clinched a berth to their ninth straight NCAA Tournament. They were one of only seven schools to play in the last seven straight tournaments. They will learn their NCAA Tournament opponent during the Division III NCAA Tournament selection show on Sunday, May 7 at 9 pm.

The following two tabs change content below.

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.

Latest posts by Corey Johns (see all)

Comments are closed.