The man-up unit put the Stevenson men's lacrosse team up for good.
Just 11 seconds after No. 8 Lynchburg was flagged for a slashing penalty, the No. 5 Mustangs took advantage of their extra-man opportunity when junior attackman Chris Dashiell found sophomore midfielder Michael Crowe wide open on the left side of the crease for a 12-11 win in overtime at Mustang Stadium on Saturday night.
Crowe's first goal of the game, with 2:43 left in the extra four-minute period, occurred as a result of the Hornets' defensive focus on sophomore attackman Mark Pannenton, who leads Stevenson with six man-up goals.
With Lynchburg shutting off Pannenton, he moved up from his usual spot on the left wing, which allowed Crowe to slip down from the left point and accept the skip pass from Dashiell positioned to the right of the net and sophomore goalkeeper Adam Davey (19 saves).
"Our whole thing is to just move around and get open," Crowe said of the extra-man strategy. "Mark was being covered the whole time. So we were telling him to move around and try to get open, and luckily, I was on the backside. Dashiell passed it to me, and I was able to finish."
Crowe's heroics helped the Mustangs (9-1) avoid what might have been a deflating collapse. Stevenson led, 11-7, with 5:27 left in regulation after freshman goalie Dimitri Pecunes made a stick save and fired an outlet pass to freshman short-stick defensive midfielder Dylan Muti, who buried a shot from the left point.
But the Hornets (8-2) rallied back with four goals in a span of three minutes.
Sophomore midfielder Campbell Armstrong had a hand in the first three goals, with a pair of assists to freshman attackman Aaron Murphy and then his own score to cut the deficit to one with 1:43 remaining.
Pecunes stopped a shot -- his career-best 15th save of the game -- by Hornets senior midfielder Max Voumard, but the Mustangs failed to cross midfield within an allotted 30 seconds.
Lynchburg quickly converted the turnover when freshman attackman Austin Stewart centered the ball to senior attackman Derek Sweet to tied the score with 38.6 seconds left.
The Hornets won the opening faceoff of overtime, but as Voumard carried the ball into the offensive zone, Mustangs junior long-stick midfielder Warren Pumphrey dove and jarred the ball loose from Voumard's stick.
Stevenson gained possession and then sophomore short-stick defensive midfielder Chris Hower was flagged for slashing Crowe with 2:54 left in overtime.
"Our extra man hasn't been great this year, but we asked them to win us the game," Stevenson coach Paul Cantabene said. "Be the reason we win the game, not the reason we lose. They were the reason we won. They did a great job. ... We needed it. It puts us in a good position for the NCAA tournament. I think you have to give the guys a lot of credit because when things got tight, they made the plays to win the game. A lot of times, teams find ways to lose those games."
Lynchburg coach Steve Koudelka said he had no regrets about calling a timeout just before Voumard's turnover.
"I told the guys at the end of the fourth quarter, I'm going to be a little slow to call the timeout to see what plays out," he said. "I thought he was going to take a shot there. So you don't want to call a timeout, and they made a nice play on the ball."
Dashiell and senior midfielder Nick Rossi led the Mustangs with two goals and one assist each, and Stevenson jumped out to a 6-1 lead in the second quarter.
But Lynchburg refused to go away, relying on Sweet (a game-high four goals and six points) and Stewart (two goals and one assist) to keep the game close in front of an announced attendance of 1,025 -- the second-largest crowd to watch a lacrosse game at Mustang Stadium since 2,184 witnessed a Stevenson loss to Salisbury on April 14, 2012.