No. 2 Stevenson’s first significant test of the season will take place Wednesday night when No. 8 Rochester Institute of Technology visits Mustang Stadium in Owings Mills. But Stevenson won’t go into the meeting empty-handed.
The Mustangs (2-0) plan on starting senior midfielder Nick Rossi, who ranked fifth on the team in scoring last season with 20 goals and nine assists. The Lutherville native and Towson graduate’s petition for another year of eligibility was granted by the NCAA, and coach Paul Cantabene said Rossi – who also had to overcome an unspecified injury – will join senior Peter Green (three goals and four assists) and sophomore Michael Crowe (2, 0) on the first line.
“I think he gives us a calming influence a little bit,” Cantabene said Tuesday morning of the 6-foot-2, 188-pound Rossi. “He does a great job of understanding the game, and he did a great job of that last year. He’s a big kid that plays good defense and runs really well between the lines. Having a senior and another senior in your first midfield will really help. So now Peter Green and Nick Rossi go with Michael Crowe, and that also allows us to rotate in another sophomore in Billy Burgoyne when those guys get tired. It gives us four pretty good midfielders that we can rotate in there and trust at any time.”
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Rossi’s return would appear to leave junior Chris Dashiell – who was the team’s second-leading scorer last season and currently leads the offense in points (eight on five goals and three assists) – out of the starting lineup. But Cantabene said Dashiell is versatile enough to rotate with senior Tyler Reid (6, 1) and sophomores Pat Candon (1, 4) and Mark Pannenton (6, 1) on attack.
“Chris will still play both [positions],” Cantabene said. “He’s such a valuable asset for us in the midfield and attack. When Chris is out, he’ll probably play a little midfield on the first line, a little midfield on the second line, and he’ll rotate in on attack. So he’s still going to play a whole lot for us just because he stays in the game and is so valuable wherever he is.”