Paul Cantabene can only chuckle at the injuries that continue to sap his Stevenson team of starters and valuable contributors.
The Mustangs lost Brian Badolato to bruised ribs in the third quarter, and the senior attackman did not return to Saturday’s eventual 13-9 loss to No. 9 Cortland.
Badolato joins a growing group of sidelined players, and he, sophomore attackman Tyler Reid (unspecified), senior midfielder Justin Lea (unspecified) and junior Mike Richardson (unspecified) are not expected to suit up for Tuesday night’s home contests against No. 2 Tufts.
“We hope to get them back maybe next week, but they’re still out and we’ve got to keep fighting through,” Cantabene said Monday morning. “It hurts our depth a little bit. We had nine really good offensive middies, and now we’re down to six, and then we’ve got to start playing some other guys as well. We thought we had five good attackmen and now we’re down to three. And now we’re playing [sophomore] Chris Dashiell at attack a little bit, and he’s a midfielder. We’re trying to coach them up, but I think the kids are understanding, and we’re starting to do some good things.”
While the absences of those players hurts the offense, perhaps the silver lining is more opportunities for their younger teammates. Six of the team’s nine goals in the loss to the Red Dragons were scored by freshmen, and Cantabene is hopeful that they will continue to evolve.
“[U]ntil we get Tyler Reid back and Justin Lea back and Mike Richardson back, these are the guys we have,” said Cantabene, whose Stevenson dropped from No. 9 to No. 10 in the latest United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association poll. “We’re a pretty banged-up team, but we’ve got to fight through this. There are no excuses. We hold our kids to a high level, and we think they can play at that high level. They’ve just got to start understanding what it takes on every play to do that. But I think we learned a lot.”