April 25, 2010

Courtesy of Stevenson

SALISBURY, Md. - For the first time in the 16-year history of the CAC Men's Lacrosse Championship, there is a new champion as eight different players scored and senior Geoff Hebert (Lutherville/Dulaney) totaled 13 saves as No. 3 Stevenson posted a 10-6 victory over No. 1-ranked and undefeated Salisbury Saturday at Sea Gull Stadium.

The third time proved to be the charm as the Mustangs (16-1) had lost the last two-straight CAC championship games against the Sea Gulls in 2008 and 2009.

Stevenson has also won three of the last five meetings with Salisbury, including the last two at Sea Gull Stadium after the team snapped the Sea Gulls' 105-game CAC unbeaten streak with a 12-8 victory on Apr. 4, 2009.

Also of note, the visiting team has won five of the last six meetings in the series.

Saturday's title game featured four ties and two lead changes and just like the first meeting this season on April 3, the contest was tied at halftime.

However, unlike the first time where Salisbury outscored the Mustangs 8-2 in the second half on their home field, Stevenson returned the favor, outscoring Salisbury 6-2, including the final four goals of the game to break open a 6-6 tie while Hebert totaled seven of his 13 saves.

All six goals came from different players, including back-to-back tallies on a laser by junior Kyle Moffitt (Harrisburg, Pa./Central Dauphin East) and a behind-the-back goal from junior Richie Ford (Baltimore/Towson) just 53 seconds apart to start the four-goal run.

Junior Kenny Whittaker (Baltimore/Curley) added an empty net goal with 3:00 remaining as Sea Gull keeper Johnny Rodriguez was out applying defensive pressure before junior Ray Witte (Annapolis/St. Peter and Paul) provided an insurance goal just seven seconds later after winning the face-off and running down uncontested for his eighth goal of the season.

After being outshot 15-7 in the first quarter and falling behind 2-1, the Mustangs held a 33-25 edge the rest of the way.

Hebert, who had five saves in the opening quarter, led a defensive effort that forced 21 turnovers. Junior Evan Douglass (Exeter, N.H./Exeter) totaled a career-high seven caused turnovers and picked up four ground balls while senior Mike Gustowarow (Annapolis/DeMatha) added two ground balls and two caused turnovers.

Dailey, Ford and junior Neal Barthelme (Towson/Dulaney) each had two points with Ford and Barthelme finding the back of the net twice.

Saturday's championship marks the first in any sport for Stevenson since the school joined the CAC in all sports beginning with the 2007-08 academic year. The lacrosse teams have been a member since the 2007 season.

In addition to the men's lacrosse team, the Mustangs have had three other teams advance to the CAC title game over the last two seasons: baseball (2009), men's soccer (2009) and women's soccer (2009).

Matt Cannone and Mike Von Kamecke had three points apiece for the Sea Gulls (17-1) who suffered just their fourth loss in the last 102 games at home dating back to the 2003 season with two of those losses coming to Stevenson.

Johnny Rodriquez finished with 16 saves for Salisbury.

Stevenson returns to action next Saturday, May 1 when it hosts 15th-ranked Denison at Caves Athletics Complex on Senior Day.