Stevenson tops Roanoke in OT in NCAA quarterfinal

Ford scores game-winner 2:53 into overtime

  • Stevenson's Jake Stocksdale, No. 38, is rushed by teammates after scoring a first-half goal in the host Mustangs' 15-14 overtime win over Roanoke in a Division III men's NCAA quarterfinal.
Stevenson's Jake Stocksdale, No. 38, is rushed by teammates… (Baltimore Sun photo by Lloyd…)
May 19, 2010|By Mike Preston, The Baltimore Sun

Junior attackman Richie Ford scored 2 minutes, 53 seconds into the four-minute sudden-death overtime period to complete a sensational comeback, as top-ranked Stevenson defeated No. 5 Roanoke, 15-14, in an NCAA Division III lacrosse quarterfinal Wednesday.

Ford's goal capped a three-goal rally by Stevenson (19-1), which trailed 14-12 with 7:20 left in the game. After midfielder Ray Witte won the faceoff in overtime, Mustangs attackman Steve Kazimer drove from the right of the goal. Kazimer then passed to Ford, who, with his back to the goal, shuffled a hot and hard shot underhanded that hit the back of the right corner of the net.

It was such a circus and spectacular shot that it caught hot Roanoke goalie Jake Dorsey by surprise and stunned most of the nearly 1,000 spectators in attendance.

"My defender was pretty much ball-watching a little bit, and I caught him sleeping," Ford said. "Kaz is always looking for people moving off the crease. He just threw it to me, and I turned in and backhanded it."

The goal touched off a wild celebration by the Mustangs, and they should have been happy because even coach Paul Cantabene acknowledged that they were outplayed for most of the game. The Maroons outshot Stevenson 72-40 and held a 40-29 advantage in ground balls.

But in crunch time, with the season on the line, Stevenson got big goals from its best players. Junior attackman Jimmy Dailey won his one-on-one battle with junior defenseman Alex Burkhead to bring the score to 14-13 with 4:15 left in regulation.

Then with 3:09 left, junior midfielder Kyle Moffitt scored on a 16-yard underhand shot to send the game into overtime.

Ford led all scorers with five goals, and Moffitt added three. Senior attackman Pat March had four goals to lead Roanoke (18-3), and junior attackman Matt Quinton had three.

"I've been playing or coaching lacrosse since I was 12 years old, and this is one of the best games I've ever been associated with," Cantabene said. "I congratulate Roanoke because they carried the game to us at times and controlled it for the most part. But we made plays to win the game. We made the plays when it mattered the most. We made the shots and won the faceoffs when it mattered the most."

"At this time of year, you just want to win and move on," Cantabene said. "When you don't play your best and still win, it shows that you are a pretty good team. There were two really good teams out there today."

The play from both goalies was superb. Dorsey finished with 15 saves, and he stopped one-on-one shots from midfielder Sean Calabrese from point-blank range twice in the last two minutes.

Mustangs goalie Geoff Hebert was equally good with 27 saves.

"I knew they were going to shoot a lot of shots. They are so dangerous and let it fly from anywhere," Hebert said. "We wanted to limit where they shot from. In the first half, we were letting them go where they wanted to go. In the second half, we wanted to limit them to the alleys and outside. When you play an offense like that, well, they are one of the best I've ever seen."

Stevenson actually had opportunities to take control of the game early. The Mustangs were ahead 5-3 with 1:04 left in the first quarter after scoring five straight goals, but they gave up two extra-man goals in the remaining time because Witte was called for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Stevenson had another three-goal advantage (9-6) in the second quarter, but Roanoke scored twice in the last 9:15 to cut the Mustangs' lead to 9-8 at the half.

"I think it was a great game played by two great teams," Roanoke coach Bill Pilat said. "This was one of the finest games I've ever been a part of. I think it also showed why we're two of the top offensive teams in the Division III by the way we played today."

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