Jim Cusick scores game-winner for Washington (Md.) vs. Stevenson
CHESTERTOWN, Md. -- Senior attackman Jim Cusick scored five goals, including the game-winner with 22.5 seconds left, as fifth-ranked visiting Washington (Md.) knocked off third-ranked host Stevenson 12-11 in a thrilling NCAA Division III quarterfinal game on Wednesday at Mustang Stadium. The Shoremen improved to 18-1 with their 13th consecutive win, tying their single-season record for victories, and advanced to the NCAA Division III semifinals for the first time since 2004. The Mustangs (19-3), who were the defending NCAA Division III national champions, suffered their first NCAA tournament at Mustang Stadium in 10 games since the facility opened.
Stevenson opened the scoring 1:34 into the game when Tony Rossi scored. The Shoremen evened things up with 7:06 to go in the first quarter as senior attackman JD Campbell scored off an assist from senior midfielder Kodie Englehart. Rossi then found Josh Rufolo in transition to give the Mustangs a lead with 5:23 on the clock and Chris Dashiell assisted on a goal by Billy Burgoyne with 3:17 to go in the first to push the lead to 3-1.
Cusick opened the second-quarter scoring for the Shoremen with a goal with 12:54 left in the second quarter. Cusick then scored an extra-man goal off an assist from senior midfielder Hunter Nowicki with 10:50 to go to even the score at 3-3. Cusick then scored his third consecutive goal, this off an assist from sophomore midfielder Sid Looney with 6:44 left in the period, to give Washington its first lead of the game at 4-3. Junior attackman Stephen Luck extended the Shoremen's run to four unanswered goals when he scored off a Nowicki assist with 4:20 to go in the quarter. Sophomore attackman Casey Kermes pushed the lead to 6-3 for the Shoremen with an extra-man goal off a Nowicki feed with 2:09 left. Washington scored another extra-man goal when Campbell found the back of the net off a Cusick feed with 39.6 seconds to go before intermission to push the lead to 7-3 and complete a 6-0 quarter for the Shoremen.
Washington's 6-0 second quarter saw the Shoremen outshoot the Mustangs 15-9 despite losing all seven of the period's face-offs. It also broke a streak of 31 consecutive quarters in which Stevenson scored at least one goal.
The Mustangs ended their drought just 34 seconds into the third quarter as Colin Dabney scored the cut the lead to 7-4. Dabney then scored an extra-man goal off a Dashiell assist with 11:11 to play in the third, pulling the Mustangs to within two goals at 7-5. Cusick then found the back of the net for the fourth time in the game off a feed from Nowicki on an extra-man with 10:04 remaining in the third. The Mustangs scored a pair of back-to-back goals to trim the margin to 8-7 as Burgoyne scored an extra-man goal off a Dashiell feed at 8:55 and Dashiell scored on a loose ball seven seconds after the ensuing face-off. Englehart countred for the Shoremen with a goal with 7:21 to go in the third, pushing the advantage to 9-7. Rossi scored an extra-man goal off a Dashiell feed with 5:31 left in the period and Glen Tompkins scored an extra-man goal off a Dashiell pass with 4:03 left in the period to knot the score at 9-9. Looney put the Shoremen back in front, 10-9, with an extra-man goal with 55.1 seconds left in the third off an assist from Nowicki.
Nowicki opened the fourth-quarter scoring with a goal in transition with 12:45 on the clock, but Burgoyne scored off a pass from Stephen Banick eight seconds later to trim the margin back to one at 11-10. Dashiell found Rossi for a goal with 3:26 left to tie the game at 11-11.
After Washington senior goalie Ted DiSalvo saved a shot by Rossi with 2:13 to go, the Shoremen maintained possession of the ball until Cusick's game-winner, which came off an assist from Englehart. The Mustangs won the ensuing face-off and called time-out with 18 seconds to go. When play resumed, Banick turned the ball over in front of the goal, where it was picked up by junior midfielder Luke Birnbaum and successfully cleared down the field as the Shoremen ran out the clock and held on for the victory.
Cusick's five-goal, one assist night led the Shoremen offense, which also got one goal and five assists from Nowicki. Campbell finished with two goals, while Englehart had a goal and two assists. DiSalvo came up big in goal for the Shoremen, making 17 saves.
Dashiell paced Stevenson with two goals and five assists for a game-high seven points. Burgoyne added three goals, while Rossi had two goals and two assists. Dimitri Pecunes made 10 saves in the loss for the Mustangs, who squandered and outstanding night on face-offs by Brent Hiken. Hiken went 21-for-27 and scooped up 15 ground balls.
The Mustangs held a 55-44 advantage in shots in the game and a 40-31 advantage on ground balls. The Shoremen were outstanding on clears, going 26-for-27, while the Mustangs were 15-for-18. Both teams were sharp on extra-man opportunities as the Shoremen went 5-for-6 and the Mustangs were 4-for-6.
In addition to handing the Mustangs their first NCAA tournament loss at Mustang Stadium, Washington also scored more than 11 goals as a visitor at the facility for the second time, a feat no other Stevenson opponent has accomplished in the three seasons the stadium has been open. The Shoremen netted 13 goals in a 17-13 loss to the home-standing Mustangs in the second round of last year's NCAA Division III tournament.
The Shoremen advance to play second-ranked Salisbury in a semifinal game Sunday. Salisbury handed the Shoremen their only loss of the season 12-7 back on March 19th. The Sea Gulls were 15-5 winners against fourth-ranked Denison on Wednesday. Salisbury was the Shoremen's opponent the last time Washington advanced to the semifinals as the Sea Gulls defeated Washington 13-11 on May 23rd, 2004. That Shoremen team finished the season 18-3, establishing the team's single-season record for wins.
Top-ranked RIT will host sixth-ranked Tufts in the other semifinal Sunday.