Stevenson nets significant victory over Salisbury
Many coaches try to dilute the significance of a win -- or loss -- sticking to the time-honored cliché of one game at a time. Thank goodness for us, coach Paul Cantabene, whose No. 1 Mustangs tagged eight-time reigning national Division III champion Salisbury its first loss in the Capital Athletic Conference in 106 games on Saturday night, is not one of those coaches.
"It’s a big victory," Cantabene said. "Any time you can go out there and recruit and say that you beat Salisbury, I think that gives you a leg up, and we’ll continue to hold the No. 1 ranking, which is great. It also gives us home-field advantage throughout the CAC tournament, which is huge, to play the championship game at home. That’s something that Salisbury, which has had such a great run and such a great program, has always been able to play at home. To get back to that game, they have to come to us, which is something that is a little bit different for them."
The Sea Gulls hadn’t lost since joining the conference in 1995, capturing 14 league titles. Unless Stevenson (11-0 overall and 5-0 in the CAC) loses its last two conference games to Marymount (5-6, 1-4) and Hood (1-11, 0-5), Salisbury (11-2, 5-1) will have to defend its league championship outside the friendly confines of Sea Gulls Stadium.
The Mustangs clung to a 6-5 lead at halftime, and after Salisbury junior midfielder Mike Von Kamecke scored 77 seconds into the third quarter to tie the game, Stevenson went on a 5-0 run to put the contest out of reach.
"I thought the big factor was we knew we could win the game," Cantabene said. "When you’ve played Salisbury over the years, your hope is to stay close. I think our kids knew that if they played well, they could win the game. I think the other factor was we played very patiently in the third quarter and really tired them out a little bit. They fouled us a lot because we had them on defense so much that they kind of got a little tired, and that’s when we made them pay for their little mistakes."