Pat Candon has not let reserve role dilute his impact for Stevenson

Sophomore attackman has adapted to playing behind Chris Dashiell, Mark Pannenton and Tyler Reid

April 05, 2013|By Edward Lee, The Baltimore Sun

When attackman Stephen Banick broke his left leg in Stevenson’s loss to Salisbury in an NCAA tournament semifinal on May 20 and then sustained an unrelated, undisclosed injury in the preseason that will likely force him to miss the current campaign, the door appeared to be open for sophomore Pat Candon to assert himself as a starter.

But Candon has started just twice as junior Chris Dashiell has moved from the midfield and sophomore Mark Pannenton has transferred from SUNY-Cortland to join senior Tyler Reid as the starting attackmen. That didn’t stop Candon from scoring the game-winning goal with 1:39 left in the fourth quarter to propel the No. 3 Mustangs to a 10-8 win against No. 6 Salisbury Wednesday  night.

Candon, who finished with three points on two goals and one assist, has collected eight goals and 10 assists so far after finishing his freshman campaign with 16 goals and nine assists. Coach Paul Cantabene said the staff thought Candon had played himself into a starting role during fall workouts.

“We were hoping he was going to be the starter, but he kind of struggled a little bit coming out and when you have four good attackmen, one’s got to come off the bench,” Cantabene said. “He’s done a great job of accepting that role. … I think he’s only going to get better. Once he gets a little more consistent, we think he’s going to be a great attackman, and he has the potential to be that great attackman. He’s close to getting there. He just has to be a little more consistent.”

Another factor in Stevenson’s victory was the combined faceoff play of junior Brent Hiken and sophomore Sam Wyatt. Hiken won 8-of-10 draws, scored a goal, and scooped up a game-high six ground balls. Wyatt, who has been bothered by a sore ankle, won just 2-of-8 draws, and he and Hiken did enough to tie up Sea Gulls senior Tyler Granelli, who went just 37.5 percent (6-of-16) after entering that contest winning 66.5 percent (129-of-196).

“Tyler Granelli gets a lot of pub for winning faceoffs, and it’s well deserved,” Cantabene said. “But we’ve got good guys, too, and I think those guys took the challenge upon them that they were probably getting overlooked in this game a little bit. They went out there and they did a great job. They won faceoffs, Hiken scored off one, and we got some clean ones off. I think we have to clean up our wing play a little bit, but those guys were really tough.”

The biggest concern for the Mustangs is a 2-of-13 effort on extra-man opportunities against Salisbury. Candon’s game-winning goal occurred while Stevenson was a man up, but Cantabene agreed that the unit must improve.

“Overall, we’re getting good opportunities and good shots, but we’re not finishing our shots,” he said. “It’s tough. You can only design so many things up to put them in place, and the guys have to make the shots. Tyler Reid was inside three times on the doorstep, and [senior midfielder] Nick Rossi was right on the doorstep, and we missed some. We need to finish our opportunities when we’re on the extra man. I don’t think it’s what we’re running or that it’s our personnel. We’re just missing those layups, and we’ve got to do a better job.”

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