OWINGS MILLS, MD – The York College men's lacrosse team gave #9 Stevenson University everything they could handle before falling to the Mustangs 7-5 in the Capital Athletic Conference opener for both squads.
Stevenson improves to 5-1 overall and 1-0 in the league while the Spartans fall to 3-3 overall and 0-1 in the conference.
The opening 13 minutes of the game were scoreless despite the Mustangs outshooting York 8-5. The hosts finally broke the scoreless tie with a Stephen Banick goal at the 1:14 mark. The Mustangs scored again just 30 seconds later as Kenny Whittaker scored off a Banick pass, giving Stevenson the 2-0 lead through one quarter of play.
York tied the game with the first two goals of the second quarter as John Powell found the back of the net off an Andrew Thomas pass with 12:32 left in the period. Tyler Davis then tied the game off a Tyler Hutson assist at the 8:59 mark.
Stevenson needed just 33 seconds to recapture the lead as Whittaker scored his second goal of the game, giving the Mustangs the 3-2 advantage. Whittaker tallied his third goal of the half as he scored 1:53 before the half as the Mustang lead grew to 4-2.
York came out of the intermission and hit Stevenson with a pair of goals, tying the game at four. James Langton notched an unassisted goal at the 11:49 mark and Blake Bing tallied an unassisted goal of this own with 7:58 left in the third.
Stevenson took a brief 5-4 lead on a Chris Dashiell goal off a Spartan turnover deep in their own defensive third. The goal came with 5:29 remaining in the third quarter.
York tied the game for the third and final time with 1:26 left in the third as Corey Cooke notched an unassisted goal.
Stevenson received Banick's second goal of the game, breaking the five-all tie with 11:33 remaining in the game. The Mustangs picked up a huge insurance goal by J.P. Coombe at the 8:45 mark as the Spartans faced a two-goal deficit.
The Spartans' had a man up opportunity with 4:41 remaining but a pair of shots failed to find the mark. York then had a two-man advantage with 3:06 left but Mustang goalie Ian Bolland made a huge save on a Langton shot and York would not get a shot over the final 2:35 as the Mustangs killed off the remainder of the game to preserve the win.
Senior Tyler Powell was huge all night for the Spartans as the York netminder registered a season-high 20 saves as the Mustangs peppered him with 57 shots. Bolland earned the win as he made seven saves for Stevenson.
Stevenson finished the game with a 57-24 margin in shots while they also had a 50-25 edge in ground balls. Both teams committed 19 turnovers while both teams also went scoreless in extra man opportunities as Stevenson was 0-for-6 while York was 0-5.
The Mustangs took advantage of a key Spartan injury as they won 15-of-16 face offs in the game. York face off man Pat Wills missed the game after suffering an injury in the Spartans' win over St. Vincent.
Spartan head coach Brandon Childs was philosophical in his approach to the game.
"I told the guys after the game that there are no moral victories," said Childs. "We had a few really good chances in the first half but weren't able to capitalize. They had chances too but I feel like if we could have finished a few of our opportunities, it may have been a different game."
The first-year Spartan mentor did feel that his Spartans played their type of game.
"I thought we played tough and physical," said Childs. "We played smart and had chances but for us to be good, we have to finish the chances we get."
Stevenson head coach Paul Cantabene wasn't as generous in his assessment of the game on the Mustangs' post-game show.
"I thought it should have been an 18-6 game," said Cantabene.
Childs though the Spartans played well as a squad.
"Tyler Powell was outstanding tonight," commented Childs. "We decided to play zone and give up those low angle shots. Tyler made a number of great stops and kept us in the game. I also thought Patrick Glenn did a great job in filling in for an injured Dale Kowatch on defense. We also asked Seth Krolus to do more things on offense as B.J. Blaker was very limited due to injury. Seth responded and played a good game. I thought we played well as a team. We got a number of really good efforts from young guys and that is encouraging."
Whittaker led the Mustangs with three goals while Banick contributed two goals and an assist.
Langton, Bing, Davis, Cooke, and John Powell found the back of the net for York.
The road doesn't get any easier for York as the Spartans host top ranked Salisbury University on Wednesday in York. First face off scheduled for 4:00 pm at Kinsley Field.
Tyler Powell photo courtesy of Dave Sinclair - www.davidsinclair.org