When Stevenson lost a starting defenseman in senior Kyle Fendlay for personal reasons prior to the beginning of the current season, the thought was that the unit might suffer a little bit. But that hasn’t been the case thanks to the emergence of sophomore Callum Robinson.
As the No. 3 Mustangs prepare to meet Tuesday night a Roanoke squad that upended No. 7 Lynchburg, 9-8, last Saturday, Robinson, 21, leads the No. 3 Mustangs (11-1) in caused turnovers with 17, ranks third in ground balls with 36, and has scored two goals.
The 6-foot-4, 230-pound native of Perth, Australia has started every game this year and credited his teammates with easing his transition to the American style of lacrosse.
“I’m honored to be getting playing time, and I’m really enjoying my time here,” he said after the team’s 12-11 overtime win against the Hornets on March 30. “The program’s been great, the coaches have been great. All my teammates have just helped me transfer into this school without a hiccup. It’s just been so helpful.”
Robinson has teamed with seniors Kyle Holechek (31 ground balls and 12 caused turnovers) and Parker Bratton (28, 9) to help the defense limit opponents to just 6.3 goals per game this spring. Robinson has been a physical presence, but even he expressed some surprise at his personal numbers in his first season with Stevenson.
“I’m pretty privileged to be getting playing time,” he said. “Personally, I like to get an opportunity and I like to grab the opportunity with two hands. That’s what I’m trying to do at the moment. I like to play in an aggressive defense, and that’s what Coach Tim Puls [the team’s defensive coordinator] likes to run as well. So I think I’m fitting in pretty well and learning the team defense and helping out the boys wherever I can. Everything’s just coming together pretty well at the moment.”
Coach Paul Cantabene said Robinson seamlessly moved into Fendlay’s spot, but said the first-year starter is still learning how the game is played here.
“Cal’s doing a great job for us,” Cantabene said. “Coming from Australia, they play a much different brand of lacrosse. They don’t have as many savvy kids, and I think he’s doing a great job on the ball. Where we need Cal to get better is that he doesn’t know all the rules quite yet and the little nuances that he might have gotten from playing in high school over here, he struggles with those. But I think he’s a tremendous defenseman and he’s only going to get better playing at this level. He is leaps and bounds ahead of when he first got here.”