Stevenson has begun to show flashes of the team that captured last year’s NCAA championship, racking up four consecutive wins against perennial contenders Roanoke, Tufts, Nazareth and SUNY-Cortland.
As far as the Mustangs (8-1) are concerned, their run can be labeled a success if they can secure a victory at No. 8 Lynchburg (6-2) on Saturday.
“We’d like to finish this one off with a win,” coach Paul Cantabene said on Wednesday morning. “This is a big game from an NCAA [tournament] standpoint and where we stand in the seedings and everything. If they win it, they’re in a great position, and if we win it, we’re in a great position. So I think it’s a really big game overall. But you can’t be happy with where you are. We have to continue to work hard and get better and get ready for our conference games [in the Commonwealth].”
The team capped five wins in 10 days by outlasting Nazareth and Cortland in back-to-back games at last weekend’s Mustang Classic. Stevenson – which moved from No. 5 to No. 4 in the latest United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association poll – scored the final three goals of the 8-6 victory over Nazareth and held off Cortland long enough for the 9-8 decision. Cantabene was impressed with his players’ mettle.
“I think we have a lot of confidence in our team, and I think the guys have a lot of confidence in themselves,” he said. “They know that they have to take one game at a time. So I think we’re in a great spot being 8-1 at this point in the season. But we still have a lot of games to play. We’ve always played with a lot of confidence, but what we’ve learned and how we’ve won some of these games has given the guys a lot of confidence. I think when you win some tough games, you’ll do well in the NCAA tournament.”