Eleven different players scored a goal in No. 4 Stevenson’s 23-7 shellacking of Lebanon Valley in a Middle Atlantic Conference tournament semifinal Wednesday night. That kind of diversity has not been limited to just one game.
For the second year in a row, the Mustangs have 10 players who have each scored 10 goals this season and boast an offense that entered the week ranked sixth in Division III in scoring with a 15.6 goals-per-game average. (That average was raised to 16.0 after the victory over the Dutchmen.)
The team’s range of firepower stretches from sophomore attackman Mark Pannenton, who leads the offense with 45 goals, to sophomore midfielder Matt Tompkins, who got his 10th goal of the season against Lebanon Valley.
Stevenson had eight players with at least 10 goals in 2010 and nine in double digits in 2011, but coach Paul Cantabene said he is enjoying the current diversified unit, which has posted 158 assists this season after recording 126 last year.
“I think it says that we’re a very unselfish team,” Cantabene said. “What’s great about this team is we don’t have to worry about one guy scoring all of our goals. We’re able to switch it around and have different guys score when the other guys aren’t on. That depth has really helped us. We’ve scored six more goals a game this year than we did last year, which is tremendous. We’ve got four attackmen with double-digit goals, and our whole first midfield has more than 15 goals. We’ve got a second line that has 23 goals. When you get that kind of production – especially from your first and second midfields – and then you’ve got 10 different guys with the ability to score at anytime, that really makes you a dangerous team, and I think our guys are playing so well together. We’re running our true motion offense, and that has helped them with their confidence and their play.”
Perhaps the one drawback is the Mustangs may not have a go-to scorer who can get the critical goal in critical situations. But Cantabene said the presence of multiple goal scorers also means that opposing defenses have a difficult time crafting a game plan.
“Each day, you don’t know who’s going to come play for us,” he said. “If teams game-plan to take this away, some guys have to step up. Some days, [sophomore midfielder] Michael Crowe steps up. Some days, it’s [senior midfielder] Nick Rossi. Some days, it’s [sophomore attackman] Pat Candon. Wherever we find those matchups, guys attack and we end up having good days.”