Stevenson poised to capture Middle Atlantic Conference title in debut year

No. 4 Mustangs need win against No. 16 Widener this Saturday to clinch regular-season championship

April 19, 2013|By Edward Lee, The Baltimore Sun

When Stevenson was a member of the Capital Athletic Conference, the program took home regular-season crowns in 2009 and 2011. The No. 4 Mustangs have an opportunity for another league championship, but as members of the Middle Atlantic Conference.

Stevenson (13-2 overall and 6-0 in the league) only have to defeat No. 16 Widener (9-4, 5-1) on Saturday night to capture the regular-season title, and coach Paul Cantabene said the accomplishment is a coveted honor.

“Any time you can win a conference title, it’s good for the program,” he said Thursday. “We haven’t won a regular-season one here in a couple of years, and we weren’t happy about that. So I think it’s good for the program to start getting some championships. I think that helps with everything, but we’re also looking forward to the conference tournament. So it’s a good thing, and we’re happy about it, but we’ve also got to look at the big picture as well.”

The Pride won’t make it easy for the Mustangs. This season, Widener has beaten Gettysburg – a program that has qualified for the NCAA tournament every year since 2003 – and lost to No. 2 Dickinson by a goal and No. 5 Salisbury by two goals. For those reasons, Stevenson is wary of the Pride.

“[T]hey’re a tough team,” he said. “They play really good defense, but they lost to Albright in overtime [Wednesday] night, which is a little unusual because that was a team that we handled pretty easily. It’s going to be interesting to see. It will be their Senior Night. So there will be a lot of emotion, and they’re going to be eager to get back out. I expect a great effort out of them.”

The Mustangs have won the last three meetings with Widener, including an 11-3 rout on March 7, 2012. That track record might be considered an advantage for Stevenson, but that’s not the way Cantabene is approaching it.

“When you play a team and you’ve beaten them before, it does give you a little confidence,” he said. “But they’re going to be confident, too, because they’ve played very well against a lot of good teams. They’re going to be ready to go. I think we’re obviously confident that against every team that we play, we expect to win. So we kind of go in with that mentality all the time.”

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