The trend continues for the Stevenson men's lacrosse team.
In their past six annual meetings with Tufts, the Mustangs emerged victorious only in the even-numbered years. That pattern continued Tuesday night after the Jumbos earned a 16-13 win before an announced 517 at Mustang Stadium in Owings Mills.
No. 8 Stevenson (3-3) dropped its second game in a row for the first time this season via some self-inflicted wounds. The team failed on 10 of 36 clears against Tufts' frenetic 10-man ride, contributing to a season-worst 24 turnovers. The offense could only convert three of eight extra-man opportunities, and several offensive players missed point-blank chances to score goals.
"We didn't do a great job finishing our opportunities," coach Paul Cantabene said. "I thought Tufts did a great job when they got their opportunities to finish inside. When we got those opportunities, we let some slide by. Especially in their 10-man ride, we had some opportunities for breaks, and we overthrew a few guys. We were there to make those plays. In the end, I just thought they made those timely plays and went on a couple timely runs."
Trailing 5-2 late in the first quarter, the Mustangs scored four straight goals. They induced the Jumbos' defenders to slide to the ball carrier and repeatedly found open players for high-percentage shots. But those chances never materialized in the second half as the number of failed clears and turnovers began piling up.
"I think we didn't have the ball as much as we did in the first half," said sophomore attackman J.T. Thelen, who paced Stevenson with six points on five goals and one assist. "We started losing faceoffs. I think penalties kept the ball from our possession. I just think we lost our confidence in the second half."
No. 2 Tufts, which improved to 6-0, was fueled by sophomore midfielder John Cordrey, who led all scorers with game highs in assists (four) and points (seven). He was aided by five goals from senior attackman Zach Richman and three goals and two assists from senior attackman Michael Mattson.
The Jumbos assisted on 13 of their 16 goals. They hit teammates on the interior, then skipped passes to the perimeter when the Mustangs collapsed on defense.
"I just thought that the Tufts offense moved the ball really well," said junior long-stick midfielder Dylan Harris (South Carroll), who started for junior Lito Flanagan. "I think that's a team we could definitely beat if we get our communication a little bit better."
Stevenson had two goals and three assists from junior midfielder Kyle Karsian. Junior defenseman Dominic DeFazio had seven ground balls and three caused turnovers.
The Mustangs' bid to upset Tufts unraveled in the third quarter. Trailing 8-7, Stevenson came out sloppy and the Jumbos pounced on the opening.
After the sides exchanged goals, Tufts scored three goals in a span of 36 seconds. Senior midfielder Lucas Johnson took a skip pass from sophomore attackman Danny Murphy and fired from the right point with 9:15 left in the period.
Freshman short-stick defensive midfielder Nick Shanks scooped up a ground ball on the ensuing faceoff and passed to senior attackman Michael Mattson for a rip from the right point 12 seconds after Murphy's goal.
Then, 24 seconds later, Murphy raced past DeFazio from goal-line extended left to stretch the Jumbos' advantage to 12-8 and prompt Stevenson to call a timeout.
The Mustangs trimmed the deficit to three four times but failed to get any closer.
Tufts junior goalkeeper Robert Treiber made seven saves and allowed six goals in the second half after replacing sophomore Ben Shmerler (five stops, seven goals allowed) at halftime. Shmerler was credited with his sixth win of the season.
Stevenson got on the scoreboard first when freshman midfielder Ethan Christensen dodged from the left wing and went high over Shmerler just 1:58 into the opening quarter.
Tufts then went on a 5-1 run with Cordrey scoring and adding two assists, and Richman scoring twice.
The Mustangs responded with four straight goals from Thelen, senior midfielder Kyle D'Onofrio (Fallston), Thelen again and Christensen again.
Both sides exchanged goals before the Jumbos ended the first half with scores from Johnson with 2:18 remaining and Richman with 28.5 seconds left.