ANNVILLE, Pa. – Stevenson University junior Dominic DeFazio was named the MAC Commonwealth men's lacrosse Defensive Player of the Year, while head coach Paul Cantabene was selected as the league's Coach of the Year as the conference released its All-Conference team on Tuesday morning. A total of eight Mustang players earned All-Conference accolades.
Named to the First Team were DeFazio, senior Kyle D'Onofrio, sophomore JT Thelen and freshman Justin Burnette. Seniors Jacob Brown and Wade Korvin, junior Kyle Karsian and sophomore Dylan Harris were Second Team selections.
DeFazio, a MAC Commonwealth Second Team selection last season, leads the Mustangs in caused turnovers with 38, while his 57 ground balls rank second on the team. He leads the MAC Commonwealth with his 2.38 caused turnovers per game, while also ranking 11th in the league in ground balls per game. A two-time MAC Commonwealth Defensive Player of the Week, DeFazio has had multiple caused turnovers in 12 of 16 games, including a season-high six in back-to-back games against Lebanon Valley and Arcadia in late March and early April.
Cantabene was named MAC Commonwealth Coach of the Year for the second time in his career, as he earned the award in 2013. This season, Cantabene has guided the Mustangs to an unbeaten conference slate and the conference's No. 1 seed for a fifth straight season by finishing 8-0. The Mustangs are 40-0 since joining the MAC Commonwealth prior to the 2013 season. This week, Stevenson, 11-5 overall and ranked No. 17 nationally, will try to win its fifth straight conference title, something that has not been accomplished since Widener won five straight Middle Atlantic Conference titles from 1996-2000.
D'Onofrio, selected as a midfielder, repeats as a MAC Commonwealth First Team selection, having earned the honor in 2016. In 16 games this season, D'Onofrio ranks second on the team in scoring with 39 goals and 21 assists for 60 points. A one-time MAC Commonwealth Player of the Week, D'Onofrio has at least one goal in every game this season and has recorded multiple goals on 10 occasions, including five in the season opener at third-ranked RIT. D'Onofrio has also picked up 47 ground balls on the season.
Thelen, chosen on attack, leads the Mustangs in scoring having registered 46 goals and 23 assists for 69 points, ranking second in the conference in points per game, third in goals per game and fifth in assists per game. Thelen has scored in every game this season and has scored multiple goals 13 times, including a quartet of five-goal games, the most recent coming this Saturday at Messiah, a performance that earned him MAC Commonwealth Offensive Player of the Week honors.
Burnette, tabbed All-Conference as a faceoff specialist, is the lone freshman to earn First Team accolades. He has solidified Stevenson at the faceoff X, having won 64.8% (171-264) of faceoffs this season, a number good for second in the league and No. 22 nationally. Burnette has picked up a team-high 61 ground balls in 16 games. Burnette won 22-of-24 faceoffs in a home win over Albright on April 18, picking up nine ground balls in that game, and recorded his first collegiate assist on April 13 at Alvernia.
Brown, tabbed All-Conference as a short stick specialist, has appeared in all 16 games for the Mustangs and totaled a goal and seven assists while also scooping up 33 ground balls on the season. He had a season-best six ground balls in Saturday's win at Messiah to wrap up the conference's No. 1 seed and also contributed a pair of assists in the contest. He picked up multiple ground balls in eight games and also scored in an April 5 win against Hood.
Korvin, chosen on attack, is Stevenson's third-leading scorer, recording 34 goals and 15 assists for 49 points. He was named MAC Commonwealth and USILA South Offensive Player of the Week following an eight-goal performance against Arcadia on April 1, the most goals in a game by a Mustang since 2013 and one shy of the single-game school record. Korvin has six multi-goal games to his credit and has also recorded 28 ground balls and 11 caused turnovers in 2017.
Karsian, selected as a midfielder, has recorded 26 goals and 13 assists for 39 points in 2017, including a team-best nine man-up goals, tied for the conference lead and good for No. 17 nationally. Stevenson's fourth-leading scorer, Karsian has nine multi-goal games this season and has scored at least one goal in 14 of 16 games. He had a season-high three goals three times.
Harris, a defender, has started all but one game for the Mustangs and has notched 38 ground balls and 19 caused turnovers. He had a season-high six ground balls twice, including on April 18 against Albright, and had multiple caused turnovers on six occasions, including three in a home triumph over Lycoming. Harris also recorded an assist in the Albright win.
Stevenson hosts Widener Wednesday night in a 7:00 pm MAC Commonwealth semifinal at Mustang Stadium.