In the final game of the Green Turtle Classic, Stevenson finally defeated a ranked opponent this season, edging out the #10 Cortland Red Dragons, 11-9, in a game that had a combined 87 shots.
A much better performance from the Stangs in this one. They came out aggressive in the first quarter, getting off 12 shots to build a 6-2 lead. Cortland helped them out with a few turnovers, by the 2nd quarter committing 5 turnovers to Stevenson's 1.
For the first time this season, the Stangs exhibited some type of teamwork, that included ball movement and motion without the ball. 5 dimes today, which isn't a lot but much better than the single dime they had against Cabrini Saturday Night. Tony Rossi played point guard today, making sure the ball moved, finishing with 3 assist, connecting with fellow midfielder, sophomore Kyle D'Onofrio, who finished with 4 goals. Kyle is now second on the team with 11 goals, and becoming a favorite of mine. Every time I watch a game, he is making plays around the cage.
Cortland didn't make life too easy though. Even with 16 total turnovers, they still managed to only lose by two points. In the 4th quarter, the Red Dragons committed 7 turnovers but went on a 4-0 run after trailing 10-5 with less than 4 minutes left in the 3rd quarter. James Starvrakis led the team with 4 goals, a game high for him, while Zach Hopps dished out 3 dimes bringing his total to 12 on the season.
Stevenson probably had their best defensive performance all year, just from a visual standpoint. Aside from a few blown assignments, it was a much better group effort than what I saw Saturday. Right before halftime, the defense clamped down on Cortland's final possession, holding them to 0 goals after 4 attempted shots. Ben Richards had a much better day in the cage, 11 saves on 20 shots, seeing and attacking the ball a lot more than Saturday.
Longpole, Taylor Morgan, will miss the next game against Salisbury due to him being ejected after kneeing a Cortland player in the head at the end of the game. This will be a big loss for the Stangs, Morgan being a starting defender and the heart of that defense. His willingness to step in front of shots will be missed.
This was a much needed win for Stevenson. Today they showed me glimpses that they will turn things around by season ends but still had those moments where I questioned the chemistry. I like to think that the players and coaches read my article from the Cabrini loss because everything I said was wrong, they did the opposite against Cortland. I'm not saying I'm a lacrosse expert that has all the answers, but I do know this program and seen the best years of it. Like everyone else I just want to see them succeed and live up to the name on their jersey.
Stevenson will now head down to Salisbury Wednesday night to face the SeaGulls. This matchup has become somewhat of a rivalry since the Stangs defeated the SeaGulls for the first time in 2009. Since then, these two schools have played 8 times in the postseason, Salisbury leading the series 5-3. Salisbury is 6-3, currently on a 4-game win streak after starting the season 2-3. This is a must win game for both teams.