Wednesday night's 7-5 victory over York helped No. 9 Stevenson improve to 5-1 with the lone loss occurring last Saturday against No. 4 Lynchburg. The Mustangs figure to get a stiffer test this Saturday when they must travel and meet No. 3 Cortland.
In fact, the team's next two contests against the Red Dragons (3-0) and No. 2 Tufts (2-0) might provide the players and coaches with some context on their strength as a national championship contender.
"I think that's probably a fair assessment," coach Paul Cantabene said Thursday. "These next two games will really kind of show where we are and kind of show us what depth we're at right now. As banged up as we are with some guys out, we really need to get some new guys in there, guys who haven't played before. So I think the game is going to show how deep we are, and hopefully, we'll have guys step up, and I think it will show our mental toughness and where we mentally stand right now. Cortland is a very good team. They've lost a lot on offense as well, but they've always been an extremely good defense, and they face off well. So it's going to be a good challenge and we're looking forward to the effort."
In the midst of a tough five-game stretch, Stevenson is 1-1. Wins and losses are obviously important, but Cantabene said he is looking for signs that the players are executing on offense.
"The biggest thing for us is if we just keep improving," he said. "It's one of the things that I think we're trying to do. Before last night, we struggled to get some shots, and last night, we shot the ball 57 times. We made a lot of quality shots. We didn't finish nearly the rate we wanted to, but I thought the offense was moving the ball much better, and we got some quality shots. The York kid had something like 23 saves last night [actually, 20] and made some great saves to do it. I think we just want to see us improve each game. If we're a better team after Tufts than we are right now, then we're heading in the right direction."