Defense Leads No. 1 Men's Lacrosse to First NCAA Win

Defense Leads No. 1 Men's Lacrosse to First NCAA Win

Box score

OWINGS MILLS, Md. - Stevenson University men's lacrosse junior Geoff Hebert (Lutherville/Dulaney) totaled a career-high 15 saves to lead a defensive effort that limited nation's third-ranked scoring offense to its lowest output of the season en route to an 8-7 victory Saturday at Caves Athletics Complex.

The win was the sixth out of seven this season for the Mustangs (16-1) against a team ranked in the top 20, but more importantly, was the program's first victory in its first game in the NCAA Division III Men's Lacrosse Championship.

The win was also the first in seven tries for Stevenson head coach Paul Cantabene against Cabrini, snapping an eight-game losing streak thate dated back to March 17, 2001. Saturday was the 15th meeting between the two former Pennsylvania Athletic Conference (now Colonial States Athletic Conference) rivals.

With 15 saves, Hebert won his 15th game of the season in what was a matchup of two of the nation's top goalkeepers. He entered the game ranked fourth in the nation in goals against average and with five, fourth quarter saves, outlasted Cabrini's Kevin Chenoweth who was ranked sixth in GAA.

Chenoweth totaled 19 saves, including 13 in the second half, but suffered just his second loss in 18 starts this season after Stevenson senior Chris Baldwin (Baltimore/Calvert Hall) scored the game-winning goal unassisted with 7:24 remaining.

The goal was the second game-winner of the season for Baldwin and extended his consecutive games streak with at least one goal to seven. Last Saturday against Denison, he totaled a season-high four points with a goal and three assists.

B.J. Kletcheck scored with 2:25 remaining to pull the Cavaliers (15-4) within one, but Hebert made two saves in the final 1:41, including one on Kletcheck with 37 seconds left to preserve a piece of history for the Mustangs.

Stevenson's strong defensive effort was bolstered by a 21-12 edge in ground balls in the second half combined by its winning 7-of-9 faceoffs.

Neither team was able to pull away as their were four ties and five lead changes. The largest lead of the game was just two goals as junior Steve Kazimer (Syracuse, N.Y./Henninger) netted his 31st with only 18 seconds remaining in the first half to give the Mustangs a 5-3 halftime lead.

Cabrini's Casey Grugan scored with just eight seconds left in the third quarter to tie the game at 6-6, extending his consecutive goals streak to 54 games, matching a 32-year old Division III record set by Washington College's John Cheek in 1977.

Junior Richie Ford (Baltimore/Towson) scored his team-leading 40th goal of the season with 8:12 remaining in the fourth before Baldwin sealed the win with his 15th only 48 seconds later.

Kazimer and junior Nic Bevacqua (Boonton Township, N.J./Mountain Lakes) led Stevenson with two goals each while Ford and senior Brett Yoder (Parkton/Hereford) both had one goal and one assist.

Bevacqua also helped the nation's sixth-ranked scoring defense by totaling three caused turnovers. Senior Austin Hale (Baltimore/Eastern) added two.

Stevenson advances to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division III Men's Lacrosse Championship where it faces Salisbury for the third time this season. Each team has won on the other's home field with the No. 2-ranked Sea Gulls prevailing at Caves Athletics Complex, 13-5 back on April 19 to capture their 15th consecutive CAC title.

Salisbury advanced to the quarterfinals with a 16-10 victory at No. 11 Haverford on Saturday.