The first three times Stevenson and Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) clashed, the Mustangs won – a streak capped by a 16-14 decision that brought home the program's first NCAA Division III championship in 2013.
Since then, however, the Tigers have rattled off three straight victories of their own, including an 18-9 pummeling on Feb. 27, 2016. The two teams will meet Saturday in Rochester, and Stevenson coach Paul Cantabene said players and coaches are aware of the recent trend.
"Obviously, it's not great, but I think our guys are ready to go," he said Wednesday morning. "It's a good rivalry. We got them the first three times, and they've gotten us the last three times, and there have been some great games in there. This will be a really good game as well, and I don't think our guys are dwelling in the past. We think we have a really good team this year, and we're looking forward to getting out there and seeing what we can do."
RIT, which is ranked No. 2 in the latest United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association's coaches poll, opened the year with a 12-11 decision over No. 12 Ohio Wesleyan. Saturday will be the season opener for the No. 10 Mustangs, but Cantabene said he is not worried about his players being affected by rust.
"I think we've been practicing pretty well," he said. "Once we get into the flow of the game, I think we'll be just fine. We've just got to come out and play well early, and I think we will. I think we're ready to go, but we will make mistakes until we get into the flow of the game and get used to it. I think we'll make probably a few mistakes, but hopefully, they won't be anything that we can't overcome."
Stevenson did not participate in any scrimmages in the preseason, which has been par for the course for the past four years. Cantabene said the players are looking forward to tangling with opponents wearing different colored jerseys.
"I think they're sick of hitting each other," he said with a chuckle. "They're looking forward to getting out there. The guys have been doing a real good job in the practices for the most part. So they're definitely eager to get out and play somebody else, and we're excited to do that."