OWINGS MILLS, Md. – Stevenson men’s lacrosse junior Tony Rossi totaled seven points with five goals, both career-highs, while the No. 3-ranked Mustangs outscored Otterbein 11-0 in the second half en route to an 18-4 victory Wednesday night at Mustang Stadium in the first round of the 2014 NCAA Division III Men’s Lacrosse Championship.
Stevenson (18-2) improved its all-time NCAA tournament record to 14-4, including 8-0 at Mustang Stadium.
Rossi’s seven points are the most in the Mustangs’s NCAA tournament history, equaling the mark set by Steve Kazimer when he had two goals and five assists in a 19-9 victory over Cabrini in the second round on May 15, 2010.
As a team, Stevenson’s 18 goals were the second-most in its 18-game NCAA tournament history while its four goals given up were the
second-fewest after the team allowed just two in a 13-2 victory over Birmingham-Southern in last year’s first round.
Reigning Commonwealth Conference Offensive Player of the Year, sophomore Stephen Banick, opened the scoring only 15 seconds into the game before the Cardinals answered with back-to-back tallies just 18 seconds apart, both involving leading scorer Mikey O’Neal, to take a 2-1 advantage with 11:29 remaining in the first quarter.
A total of 10 different Mustangs scored at least one goal, including five during a 5-0 run that saw them take a 6-2 lead with 12:35 to play
in the second following Rossi’s first of the game.
Otterbein (12-5) once again responded with back-to-back goals to pull within two before two-straight goals by Rossi sparked a 12-0 run for Stevenson to end the game over the final 36:55.
Banick, senior Glen Tompkins and freshman Tyler Fuhrman each finished with three points as the Mustangs’ starting attack and midfield lines combined for 12 goals and 20 points.
Defensively, sophomore Dimitri Pecunes won his sixth-straight start in an NCAA tournament game, improving his record to 6-0 after making eight saves. Senior Kyle Holechek totaled four caused turnovers and three ground balls while sophomore Callum Robinson added three caused turnovers and two ground balls.
Senior Brent Hiken won 16-of-20 face-offs to lead Stevenson who won 18-of-26. In six NCAA tournament games, he has won 76-of-110 face-offs for 69.1 percent.
Mike Sullivan finished with two goals while O’Neal added a goal and one assist. James Gundling made 23 saves.
Stevenson will host fifth-ranked Cabrini on Saturday in the second round. Face-off is at 7:00 p.m. The Cavaliers lead the all-time series
11-6, but the Mustangs have won all three NCAA tournament meetings, all of which have come at home.
Stevenson won the last meeting between the two teams, 13-8 on May 14, 2011 in the second round at Caves Athletics Complex. Saturday will mark the fist meeting between the two at Mustang Stadium.