Review & preview: Stevenson
Here is the sixth installment of a series that checks in with the seven Division III programs in the state to evaluate the past and offer a glimpse into the future. Tuesday, we take a visit with Stevenson. (Coach Paul Cantebene did not return requests for an interview.)
The good: The Mustangs extended their streak of 17-win campaigns to three with 18 victories in 21 contests this past spring. The team stayed within the top five of the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association poll for much of the season, losing once only to eventual national champion Salisbury, 2010 NCAA titlist Tufts, and Roanoke, and advancing to the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals for the second consecutive year. … Stevenson had nine players earn All-American honors. The individual accolades were headlined by seniors Jimmy Dailey and Evan Douglass. Dailey, a Westminster native and Winters Mill graduate, was named Outstanding Player of the Year after leading Division III in points (118) and assists (58), which are school records. He also wrapped his career as the program’s leader in points (329) and assists (163). Douglass was selected as the nation’s Outstanding Defensive Player after leading Division III in caused turnovers (59) and setting a school record for caused turnovers in a career (136). … Another school mark was surpassed when senior Neal Barthelme scored 73 goals, obliterating the previous program mark of 59 goals by Richie Ford in 2008. Barthelme, a Towson native and Dulaney graduate, finished with 94 points, which was one point shy of Steve Kazimer’s school record of 95 points established last year.
The bad: As successful as the program has been over the past three seasons, the Mustangs have not been able to hurdle the final obstacle and reach the NCAA title game. A highly anticipated showdown with the Sea Gulls in the tournament semifinals never materialized because Stevenson fell, 13-12, to Roanoke in the quarterfinals. After throttling the Maroons, 16-6, on March 16, the Mustangs couldn’t hold onto a 12-11 lead in the fourth quarter. It was a disappointing finish to a promising campaign. … Two of the team’s three losses involved an ability to hold onto a lead. In addition to the setback to Roanoke, Stevenson held a 12-8 advantage at halftime against Salisbury, but could not prevent the Sea Gulls from roaring back en route to a 16-14 victory in the Capital Athletic Conference tournament final on April 23. Not quite what you would expect from a senior-laden and experience-brimming team as the Mustangs were. … All three of Stevenson’s losses occurred either at Caves Athletic Complex in Owings Mills or close to home. Salisbury and Roanoke beat the Mustangs on their home turf, and they dropped a 14-13 decision to Tufts at Towson’s Johnny Unitas Stadium. The optimist’s view would focus on the team going 7-0 on the road, but the pattern was somewhat disturbing.
Personnel changes: It’s unclear whether Barthelme has a year of eligibility remaining, but the offense loses some punch with the graduation of Dailey, attackman Richie Ford (23 goals and 16 assists) and midfielders Kyle Moffitt (35, 7), Sean Calabrese (18, 9) and Jake Stocksdale (8, 19). The midfield has plenty of depth in freshmen Tony Rossi (26, 18) and Chris Dashiell (8, 12) and junior Justin Lea (13, 4), but can freshman Tyler Reid (38, 7) or sophomore Danny Schanne (5, 3) succeed Dailey as the offensive quarterback? … Stevenson’s biggest questions are on defense with the departure of all three starting defensemen in Douglass (62 ground balls and 59 caused turnovers), Kyle Menendez (44 GBs, 31 CTs) and Ian Hart (37 GBs, 19 CTs). Sophomore Kyle Fendlay (25 GBs, 15 CTs) and freshman Ryan Rubenstein (29 GBs, 14 CTs) could fill the void, but the unit will likely miss the experience it enjoyed with Douglass, Menendez and Hart. … The Mustangs also took a hit on faceoffs. After Ray Witte (139 GBs, 252-of-387 for .651) and Joe Valderas (32 GBs, 72-of-105 for .686), the next most experienced faceoff specialist is freshman Mike Schiavone (6 GBs, 10-of-25 for .400). Schiavone or sophomore Sam Ramatowski (4 GBs, 9-of-16 for .562) could be in line to assume those duties.
Forecast for 2011: Cloudy. Stevenson brings in a huge recruiting class, but has many holes to fill on every side of the field. Even if Barthelme is eligible to return for another year, the offense needs to find a quarterback to initiate the action and feed his teammates. Getting possessions isn’t guaranteed either as Witte and Valderas graduate. Junior goalkeeper Ian Bolland (6.57 goals-against average and a .590 save percentage) should anchor the defense, but there are some question marks there, too. The Mustangs will move to the Middle Atlantic Conference for the 2013 campaign, but before then, they will have another year meeting Salisbury and the rest of their Capital Athletic Conference rivals.