OWINGS MILLS, Md. – Stevenson men’s lacrosse senior Justin Lea (Elkridge, Md./Mount Saint Joseph) scored all four of his goals in the first half as the sixth-ranked Mustangs built an 8-2 halftime lead before holding off a late rally by No. 8 Denison for their sixth-straight win Saturday, 12-9 at Mustang Stadium.
Stevenson (11-2) outshot the Big Red 32-13 in the first half, including 19-5 in the first quarter while scoring seven second-quarter goals.
The Mustangs improved their record to 8-0 at home this season and 3-2 against teams ranked in the USILA Division III Coaches’ Poll.
Denison (9-1) was one of just four remaining undefeated teams in Division III entering Saturday, joining No. 1 Salisbury, No. 2 SUNY Cortland and Lyndon State.
Lea finished the game with a career-high six points while tying his career-high with four goals for the second consecutive game. In three games since returning from a broken hand that forced him to miss eight of the team’s first 10 games, Lea has totaled 10 goals and 13 points.
Lea scored four of Stevenson’s first eight goals as it built a six-goal lead at the half. He then assisted on the Mustangs’ final two tallies just 27 seconds apart in the fourth quarter to push the team’s lead to five with 6:00 remaining after Denison cut its deficit to 10-7.
After junior Tyler Reid (Clinton, Conn./Xavier) scored to give Stevenson its largest lead of the game at 9-2, the Big Red responded with five of the next six goals, including two from Eddie Vita to pull Denison within three.
Vita and Chapin Speidel each had three goals for the Big Red who entered the game with nation’s fifth-best scoring offense.
Lea was one of eight different goal scorers for the Mustangs. Freshman Stephen Banick (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Catholic) had two while Reid finished with a goal and an assist. Freshman Pat Candon (Long Beach, N.Y./Holy Trinity) had two assists.
Junior Kyle Holechek (Reisterstown, Md./Loyola Blakefield) led the Stevenson defense with four caused turnovers while senior Ian Bolland (Mountain Lakes, N.J./Mountain Lakes) had six saves.
Senior Doug Reidt (Towson, Md./Hereford) won 12-of-23 face-offs and totaled seven ground balls.
Stevenson travels to Marymount (Va.) on Wednesday. Game time is at 7:30 p.m.