Stevenson feeling good after win vs. Salisbury on Wednesday night

Stevenson – ranked third in the latest United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association poll – has secured resume-building victories against No. 5 Rochester Institute of Technology and No. 7 Lynchburg. The team can now add No. 6 Salisbury to the list, and Wednesday night’s 10-8 decision at Sea Gull Stadium in Salisbury may be the most significant in terms of psychological impact.

“I think it’s a pretty big win,” coach Paul Cantabene said Thursday morning. “We had lost to them four times in a row, including three times last year. I think it’s a big win any time you beat them. It’s good for our program and from where we’ve come. We’ve beaten those guys five times in our time here, and I think that’s quite an accomplishment for our program. But I think the guys really wanted it. I think they played hard. We did some of the little things right early on and then we fell asleep for a little bit, but then we made the plays to win the game. I give this team a lot of credit. We’ve been in the position where we’ve lost leads in a couple games, and in the end, they’ve made the plays to win the game. That’s what is really important.”

After a first quarter in which both sides scored three goals, the Mustangs (10-1) scored five unanswered goals over a 13-minute, 15-second stretch spanning the second and third quarters. But the Sea Gulls (10-3) responded with their own 5-0 run to knot the score at 8 before sophomore attackman Pat Candon broke the tie with an extra-man tally with 1:39 left in the fourth quarter and senior attackman Tyler Reid added an insurance goal with seven seconds remaining.

Salisbury’s comeback revived memories of last year’s regular-season meeting on April 14 in which the Sea Gulls rallied from a 9-3 deficit to escape with an 11-10 win.

“This game has always had runs,” Cantabene said. “I think when you get these two teams, it doesn’t really matter who the players are or what it is, they’re going to play hard. Last year’s team was probably one of Salisbury’s greatest teams they’ve ever had, and we were a bunch of freshmen, and all of those games were really good games. So it doesn’t really matter in the rivalry. The teams are going to find ways to play hard, and I thought they made some plays.”

Wednesday night’s victory marked the third time this season that Stevenson surrendered a lead in the fourth quarter before prevailing in that final stanza or overtime. Cantabene said the nature of the win could propel the team to greater heights.

“I think our guys understand what it takes,” he said. “Last year, we lost these games. We lost five games in pretty much the same fashion as this game. This time, we’re on the other side. So now I think these guys have learned from that, and we’re learning how to win these games a little bit. We’ve got to learn how to play with the lead a lot better, but I think the guys learned a lot from last year, and I think these wins help you because when you get into those big games, you know how to handle them.”

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