Postscript from Lynchburg at Stevenson

No. 5 Mustangs got some motivation in 12-11 overtime win when No. 8 Hornets ran lap around Stevenson's side of field during pre-game warm-ups

March 31, 2013|By Edward Lee, The Baltimore Sun

If the No. 5 Stevenson men’s lacrosse team needed any more motivation heading into Saturday night’s contest at Mustang Stadium in Owings Mills against No. 8 Lynchburg, the visiting Hornets provided it – with their feet.

The Mustangs emerged with a 12-11 overtime decision, but they got some inspiration when Lynchburg decided to run a lap around Stevenson’s side of the field during pre-game warm-ups.

According to Mustangs coach Paul Cantabene, NCAA rules prohibit teams from venturing across the midline during warm-ups. But the Hornets have run a lap around the field during home and away games for the past 17 years, coach Steve Koudelka said.

The decision to do that prior to Saturday’s contest enraged several Mustangs. Senior midfielder Peter Green shoved a couple Lynchburg players, sophomore defenseman Callum Robinson stood in the path of several others, and other Stevenson players jawed with the Hornets.

“I’ve never seen it before – in the States or back home,” said Robinson, a native of Perth, Australia. “I think for us, it was probably a good thing. It certainly got the boys fired up. We took it as a little slap in the face. We were raring to go for the start of the game, and I think it showed when we came out of the blocks pretty fast.”

The Mustangs (9-1) raced to a 6-1 advantage, and junior attackman Chris Dashiell credited Lynchburg’s stunt with giving the team a reason to start quickly.

“You don’t do that when you come here. If you do, you’re going to get a game,” he said. “Maybe they’re trying to get their own teammates up. I believe we’re the better team, and they just maybe wanted to get their team more pumped up, but that got us pumped up.”

Koudelka dismissed the notion that the Hornets’ run specifically inspired Stevenson.

“There should be a lot of motivation to play this lacrosse game,” he said. “These are two very good teams, two very good programs. That’s something we do before every game. It doesn’t matter if we’re playing the best team in the country or the worst team in the country. There’s nothing premeditated about it. If I really thought it was going to work against us, we wouldn’t do it every game. It’s just something to get our guys a lap in and then get a good stretch in.”

Lynchburg’s jaunt occurred before the officiating crew appeared on the field. So no penalty or warning was issued. Cantabene said he wasn’t totally surprised by the Hornets’ venture across the midline.

“Steve doesn’t really care about that,” Cantabene said. “I’ve heard him talk about it before. He thinks it’s a silly rule. But it got the guys pretty fired up. But anytime we play against each other, it’s an emotional game. Both teams really get after each other, I think both teams play very hard, and I think that’s one of the great reasons we love playing Lynchburg. We love that emotion, we love that atmosphere.”

Other notes:

*Stevenson has won both games this season that extended into overtime, but there are still some concerns about the defense’s inability to protect a lead. In the 12-11 win against the Rochester Institute of Technology on Feb. 27, the Mustangs owned a 10-7 lead with 6 minutes, 34 seconds left in the fourth quarter, but the Tigers scored four of the next five goals to send the contest into overtime. Against Lynchburg (8-2), Stevenson had built an 11-7 advantage with 5:27 remaining in regulation before the Hornets scored four unanswered goals. “I think we just get complacent on the defensive end of the field,” Robinson said. “We get a bit comfortable with a bit of the lead, and I think the intensity drops, the mindset drops. I think we lose our focus a little bit and that’s from a close defenseman’s points of view, an attackman’s point of view, and a midfielder’s point of view. I think it shows great character that we can come through in the end and finish the game. But we’ve got to work on keeping our heads when it gets tough and when we’ve got a lead as well. We’ve got to be able to finish out a game and be better than what we’re doing at the moment.”

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