Among the midfielders who have emerged for No. 3 Stevenson this season, Colin Dabney’s growth may be the most significant.
The junior ranks third among the reigning national champion Mustangs (16-2) in goals with 31 and fifth in points with 37. Dabney has found a fit on the first line with senior Glen Tompkins (34 goals and 18 assists) and junior Tony Rossi (24-18).
Dabney’s development masks a pair of unassuming seasons in which he compiled four goals and one assist in eight games in 2013 and did not play in 2012.
“We always knew that Colin was a good player and could shoot the ball,” coach Paul Cantabene said on Friday morning. “But I think in his first two years, he was up and down and erratic at times. This year, he finally settled down and understood what we were talking about. He finally got that ‘aha’ moment as I like to call it where he was, ‘Aha. That’s it? That’s all I’ve got to do?’ He figured it out, and he’s playing really, really well. Colin is a very dangerous player because he shoots the ball so well, and he can shoot it from a variety of different spots. Colin is definitely the bigger surprise.”
Cantabene said Dabney’s turning point occurred when he scored game-high five goals in Stevenson’s 15-9 upset of then-No. 3 Tufts.
“They’ve always been a good defensive team, and for him to step up in that game and have five goals, I think that’s pretty big,” Cantabene said. “So I think that was huge and that was when he had to be accounted for.”
Dabney will be counted on to help the top-seeded Mustangs in Saturday’s Commonwealth Conference tournament final against Albright at 7 p.m. at Mustang Stadium in Owings Mills. The third-seeded Lions (11-5) knocked off second-seeded Widener, 12-7, on Thursday night and battled Stevenson to a 12-8 loss on March 8.
“I think Albright’s a pretty good team,” Cantabene said. “We played them early, but they played us tough. I think they’re a little more athletic than Widener was and a little tougher. So I thought they had a really good chance. We said all along that Albright was a pretty good team, and they showed it. They’re playing well, and they played without one of their best players. So it just shows you how gritty they’re playing. They almost beat [No. 13] Montclair State a couple weeks ago, and that’s a ranked team in the North. So they’re playing pretty well right now and getting a lot of contributions from others. So I’m not surprised at all that they won yesterday.”