Reigning NCAA Division III champion Stevenson barely escaped its season opener vs. York with a win, outlasting the Spartans, 9-8 in overtime on Saturday.
Many coaches would prefer a slightly less stressful beginning to a season, but Paul Cantabene said there was a silver lining to the tighter-than-expected win.
“I think that really woke up our guys, that we weren’t going to be able to walk through games,” he said Thursday as the Mustangs (1-0) – ranked No. 1 in the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association preseason poll – prepare for Saturday’s matchup with No. 2 Rochester Institute of Technology (0-0).
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“We didn’t give a great effort. After you watch that film, it wasn’t a very good performance by us. I didn’t think we played very composed, I don’t think we shot the ball very well. I think we should have had the game won by halftime [when the team led, 4-1], and I think we should have been much better. ... I expect us to play much better in this game.”
If there is a game in which coaches expect mental lapses and physical mistakes, it is usually the season opener, as players get a little too excited about beginning the year.
Cantabene said he has higher standards for his program.
“We were watching our first game of last year against Nazareth, and we had a lot of breakdowns and didn’t play extremely well in the first game,” he said. “But that’s to be expected, and I’m sure RIT is going to have some of those as well in their first game getting out there. Everybody does. So they were expected, but I thought we should have played a little bit better and been a little more consistent especially on the defensive end where we have so many guys back.”