The Stevenson men's lacrosse team got the signature win it had been seeking.
Six different players scored at least one goal to propel the No. 10 Mustangs to a 9-5 victory over No. 2 Tufts before an announced attendance of 773 at Mustang Stadium in Owings Mills on Tuesday night.
It was Stevenson's first victory over a ranked opponent since a season-opening 11-5 win against No. 17 Haverford. And it helped even the team's record 2-2 over a tough five-game stretch that included losses to No. 9 Lynchburg and No. 3 Cortland.
"I think they understand now that this is how you beat a good team," Stevenson coach Paul Cantabene said. "This is what you have to do to beat good teams. Every possession mattered, and that's what you have to do. Tufts is a heck of a team. They've got a lot of great players, and they were beating up a lot of good teams. But I think if we play our style and we get some contributors each week, we'll be pretty good, and that's what we've got to continue to do."
Freshman attackman Pat Candon paced the Mustangs (6-2) with a game-high three goals — the first hat trick of his career. Freshman midfielder Michael Crowe scored twice for the first multi-goal game of his career.
But diversity was the buzzword for the Stevenson offense, which relied on crisp passing from sophomore attackman Chris Dashiell (three assists) and freshman attackman Stephen Banick (one assist) to find gaps in the Jumbos defense.
"The big thing was just moving the ball," Candon said. "That was our big problem in the beginning of the season. We just needed to start moving the ball. Before this game, we were just trying to force it right away. This game, we moved it, and the shots just came."
For the seventh time this season, an opponent failed to score more than six goals, and the Mustangs improved to 87-2 when allowing six goals or less.
Senior goalkeeper Ian Bolland out dueled Jumbos sophomore Patton Watkins, making 11 saves to Watkins' 10. The defense also limited Tufts to its lowest goal output since April 26, 2008 when the Jumbos dropped a 9-4 contest to Middlebury.
"I think we did a great job of getting the slide and not letting them get those one-on-one shots," said Bolland, who has made double-digit stops in five of his last six games. "We allowed a couple of them, but luckily, I made those saves. I think [Tuesday], we did great with transition, we made sure our middies didn't run off quickly from the box. We just played good defense ."
Sophomore midfielder Beau Wood led Tufts (3-1) with two goals, and the offense clearly missed senior attackman Sean Kirwan, who ranked third in Division III with 66 goals last year but hasn't played this season since injuring his ankle the day before the March 10 season opener at Hamilton.
But coach Mike Daly sounded as if he was unsure whether Kirwan's presence against a Stevenson defense that moved faster than the Jumbos' offensive players would've made a difference.
"They just played at a higher tempo than us, and that's real disappointing," Daly said. "When we moved the ball well, we had some good looks, and that's what's great about this game and terrible about this game. We had some good looks and their goalie was great. That's why I say in every phase of the game, they beat us."
Notes: The Mustangs snapped a 0-of-15 drought on extra-man opportunities when freshman midfielder Billy Burgoyne converted a pass from Dashiell just 1 minute, 35 seconds into the second quarter. … Tufts collected 34 groundballs to Stevenson's 27 and won 11of-16 faceoffs.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun