Trailing only 8-7 after three quarters against No. 6 York in the Saturday nightcap of the Mustang Classic, No. 7 Stevenson was 15 minutes away from emerging from its two-day event at Mustang Stadium in Owings Mills with two victories and a four-game winning streak.
Instead, the Spartans scored the first three goals of the final period to pull away for an 11-8 win and saddle the Mustangs with a 1-1 mark and their first setback since a 16-13 loss at No. 2 Rochester Institute of Technology on Feb. 25. Coach Paul Cantabene said the poor fourth quarter slightly diluted a 12-9 victory over No. 16 Lynchburg on Friday night and the first three quarters against York.
“It does put a little bit of a downer because we thought we played well enough to go 2-0,” he said Monday morning. “We’ve got to get better. And this is the first time that this has happened to us, but our offense didn’t carry the day for us a little bit. I thought our defense played a great game. We were scrambling at the end and gave up a few goals to try to get the ball back, but I thought our defense played great. It was the first game where we weren’t better in the fourth quarter than we were in the first quarter, and so that’s a little bit concerning to us. We’ve got to address that.”
Stevenson (3-2), however, will not get much time to lick its wounds or make major changes because No. 3 and 2014 and 2015 NCAA Division III champion Tufts (5-0) will visit for a Tuesday night matchup. Every team the Mustangs have faced at the time of their contest has been ranked, and Cantabene said the team is looking forward to facing its sixth ranked opponent in as many games.
“We’ve played quality teams,” he said. “Everybody we’ve played has been ranked at the time that we’ve played them. It’s really hard to play that quality of teams and be able to play that way all the time. … We’re not crying about it. I still think we’re playing well and doing some things, but we need to cash in more offensively and score some more timely goals. I think York scored some timely goals on some good shots, and I think we missed some. I think we let them off the hook sometimes with some of our shot selection, and it could have been a little different if we had been a little bit smarter.”