With Stevenson coach Paul Cantabene making his players off-limits after Tuesday night’s 7-6 loss to No. 9 Tufts at Mustang Stadium in Owings Mills, this postscript will be briefer than usual.
But brevity probably won’t be an issue for the Mustangs (6-1), who will have a lot to review before Saturday’s home contest against Hood.
The 24 turnovers committed were the second-most this season behind 26 in 19-3 demolition of Elizabethtown last Saturday. The offense’s shooting percentage of 15 percent (6-of-40) was a season low. And the faceoff unit lost more draws than it won for the first time this year.
Cantabene said the setback to a Jumbos team (2-2) that was playing with its full complement of players for only the second time this season should serve as a wake-up call for Stevenson, which has been widely regarded as a serious national title contender.
“I certainly hope so with the mistakes we made on offense,” he said. “Those guys have got to get a little tougher and understand what we’re trying to do if we want to play the way we can. They didn’t do that. So hopefully, those guys come ready to practice [Wednesday] and are ready to go.”
*The loss drops the Mustangs from the ranks of the unbeaten, but with at least 10 more games on the regular-season schedule, expecting them to go undefeated might have been a stretch. But Cantabene said lodging a perfect record was not a priority for the program. “I think we’re fine,” he said. “I just think we didn’t pay attention to our detail and our scouting reports and do what we expected to do. That’s a little disappointing, especially for some of our older guys who I don’t think were as sharp as they should’ve been.”
*As mentioned above, the faceoff unit lost more draws than it won against Tufts for the first time this spring. Sophomore Sam Wyatt, who had entered the Tuesday night with a 67.6 percentage (71-of-105), dipped to 36.4 percent (4-of-11) and junior Brent Hiken, who had won 74.2 percent (23-of-31), managed just 33.3 percent (2-of-6). Meanwhile, Jumbos senior Brian Ruggiero won 64.7 percent (11-of-17) after winning just 38.5 percent (25-of-65) prior to the game. But Cantabene expressed little worry about Wyatt. “Sam’s been on such a roll on faceoffs, and sometimes it’s matchups,” Cantabene said. “Some days, you win them all and some days, you don’t. He’s had a great season, and he’ll continue to be great. The kid did a good job and grounded out some faceoffs. There were a few 50-50s that they kind of came up with. But that’s part of the sport. Sometimes you win them and sometimes you don’t and sometimes the worst guy in the world beats the best. We’ll get better.”