Owings Mills, Md. - Top seeded and No. 17 nationally Stevenson downed fourth-seeded Widener 18-2 in the semifinal of the MAC Commonwealth Men's Lacrosse Championship Wednesday night. With the win, the Mustangs punched their ticket to their fifth consecutive MAC Commonwealth final, while improving to 11-0 all time against the Pride.
Eight different Mustangs (12-5) scored on the night with sophomore JT Thelen leading the way with a hat trick and three assists. Seniors Kyle D'Onofrio, Kyle Karsian and Tyler Fuhrman also had hat tricks for the Mustangs while seniors Morgan Pritchett and Sean Ohlhaver had a pair of goals. Sophomore Colton Haugh tallied his first career goal while junior defender Dominic DeFazio found the back of the net for the first time in his collegiate career, while having three ground balls and causing a turnover.
Sophomores Brady Franks and Drew Amsley would score the Pride's (9-8) two goals of the game, while freshmen Paz Gismondi would tally an assist on the evening. Sophomore goalie Joel Given had seven saves on the night through 45 minutes in the cage. Freshmen Mike Romefelt would be at goal for the visitors in the final 15 minutes if the game as he totaled four saves himself.
It was a slow start for both teams in the opening quarter as both defenses put pressure on the offenses. Both teams combined for 10 turnovers in the period, as both teams struggled to find their offensive groove. Stevenson's Watson found Thelen for the game's first goal at the 4:50 mark. It was the first time this season that the Mustangs were held to just one goal in the opening quarter.
In the second period, the Mustangs began to find their offense as back-to-back goals by Ohlhaver at the 13:06 mark and Karsian at the 12:37 put the Mustangs up 3-0. The hosts would score their fourth goal at the 7:26 mark as Fuhrman would find the back of the net. He then took advantage of an extra-man opportunity to put the Mustangs up by five. Stevenson would score the final two goals of the period as it entered intermission up 7-0.
Stevenson would continue their offensive attack in the third quarter as Ohlhaver would score, followed by a goal by D'Onofrio making it 9-0. The hosts scored four more times to open a 13-0 lead before the Pride could finally get on the scoreboard with a goal by Franks with 1:21 left in the third. The Mustangs would respond to the visitor's goal with back-to-back scores by D'Onofrio and Thelen, putting Stevenson up 15-1 heading into the fourth. In the final quarter, the Mustangs would score two more goals while Hansley would give the Pride their second goal of the game. The final goal would be scored by Haugh for the Mustangs.
Stevenson outshot Widener 58-24 on the evening while also winning 17 of 23 at the faceoff x. Senior Ross Dinan totaled eight saves on the night through 53:39 of action. Freshman TJ Ellis would substitute in at goal for the final 6:21 as he tallied a save. Turnovers cost the Pride as they turned the ball over to the Mustangs 22 times, while the hosts would turn it over 11 times. Stevenson scooped up 40 ground balls as Widener picked up 30. Stevenson went one for four on extra-man opportunities.
Stevenson looks to win its fifth consecutive MAC Commonwealth title as the Mustangs host third-seeded Albright on Saturday at Mustang Stadium at 7 p.m. The Mustangs defeated the third-seeded Lions, a 14-10 upset winner over No. 2 seed Messiah, 18-8 when the teams met April 18 in Owings Mills.
Men's Lacrosse head coach Paul Cantabene talks about the team's 18-2 victory over Widener in the MAC Commonwealth Semifinals.
Stevenson Senior Goaltender Ross Dinan talks about the team's MAC Commonwealth victory over Widener.