By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Philadelphia, PA – Stevenson came into the game knowing that they could be the first men’s lacrosse team to do something special.
And the Mustangs were able to do everything correctly in the biggest game in school history. As a result, the NCAA Division III Men’s Lacrosse Championship will now be located at Stevenson.
Stevenson defeated RIT, 16-14, last night at Lincoln Financial Field in the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship. It is the Mustangs first ever Championship in Men’s Lacrosse.
“I want to thank everybody from Stevenson University that helped us get here,” said head coach Paul Cantabene. “President Manning, Tim Campbell, Brett Adams and everybody who put everything on for this weekend.”
“It’s an unbelievable community of people and what they do to help us get here and the logistics, it’s just a really special place. I feel like I’m one of the luckiest guys in the world to have the best job in the world so I just can’t thank them enough for everything they’ve done.”
Mark Pannenton was named the Most Outstanding Player. In addition, it was the fourth Division III Men’s Lacrosse Championship game to have a combined 30 goals or more.
While Stevenson had only one third-quarter goal, RIT was held to one fourth-quarter goal. Alec Sulesky scored that goal, which was his first of the game.
Stevenson scored six fourth-quarter goals, with two of those goals coming from Nick Rossi. Rossi would actually score the game-winner with 5 minutes left.
Michael Crowe, Pannenton, Glen Tompkins, and Pat Candon also chipped in fourth quarter goals.
Stevenson started with the lead at the beginning of the third quarter. But when the quarter ended, RIT would have a three-goal lead at 13-10.
Mark Pannenton would score the lone Stevenson goal, while RIT would score 7 goals.
They would be led by Kyle Aquin, who had four goals in the quarter. He tied Sam Bradman, a former Salisbury athlete, who had 7 goals in the 2008 NCAA Division III Championship game.
“I think all the credit goes to my teammates,” said Aquin. “I just try and get open, and I trust all my teammates that they’re going to make the right looks, and fortunately a few of them came my way, and I tried to finish all that I could.”
Eddie Keisa would contribute two third-quarter goals, while Allister Warren added one.
“When we started the fourth quarter there, I just was trying to tell everyone and coach was trying to tell everyone to stay calm,” said Stevenson’s Nick Rossi. “We had been in that situation before, and towards the end of the year we kind of excelled in those situations, keeping our composure and making plays when we needed to make plays, and that’s something coach has stressed all year and I thought we did that again today.”
RIT was able to outscore Stevenson in the second quarter, as they were able to get back into the game. The Tigers outscored the Mustangs, 5-3, making it 9-6 for Stevenson leading into the break.
Aquin scored three of the five Tigers goals. Besides Aquin, Jack Kryzston and Warren also chipped in with goals.
Stevenson had goals by Chris Dashiell, Peter Green, and Mark Pannenton in the second quarter.
Stevenson dominated the first quarter of play. The Mustangs outscored the Tigers 6-1 in the first 15 minutes of play.
RIT looked like they were outmatched throughout the quarter, as they could only muster one goal. That goal came from Warren, who scored in the final minutes of the first.
Stevenson, on the other hand, struck early and often, before added a late goal, as time was running out. Pennenton scored his second goal of the game after Warren’s goal to make it 6-1.
Before Warren’s goal, Pennenton scored his first goal to make it 5-0. Green scored the fourth goal for the Mustangs to make it 4-0.
Matt Tompkins scored to make it 3-0 after Tyler Reid scored to make it 2-0. Green also scored the first goal of the game for the Mustangs to make it 1-0.
“Me personally, I had quite a few nerves going,” said RIT player Evan Burley. “I think that was the same for most of the guys. Stevenson definitely came out on fire, and that showed in the early score there. I think it just took us the first quarter to kind of get the jitters out and the message that coach had in that first time out is that game’s on here. This is your last game no matter what, so you might as well keep working.”
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