March 24, 2011

Loss Ends Brutal Stretch in Stevenson Schedule; Ford Out for a Week

by Corey McLaughlin | | Live Blog Replay

Stevenson attackman Richie Ford left Wednesday's game against Tufts with a pulled hamstring, but is expected to return in about a week. "That's what happens nine games into the season," Mustangs coach Paul Cantabene said. "Guys start to get a little banged up."

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* Tufts Worth the Wait, Proves Its Worth in Classic

As second-ranked Stevenson's stretch of playing four top 10 teams in 12 days -- and five games in 18 days -- ended Wednesday night, Mustangs coach Paul Cantabene said the rigors of the tough schedule may have finally caught up to his team in the fourth quarter against defending NCAA Division III men's lacrosse champion Tufts.

"We made some mental mistakes," Cantabene said. "When you play the stretch of games we do, those five games over two and a half weeks, nobody else is doing that. Nobody is doing that nine games into a season. We became a little bit tired at times, and it showed, especially on the defensive end with some of their pressure. It was a tough game. Tufts did a good job capitalizing."

Ray Witte won 19 of 30 faceoffs for the previously unbeaten Mustangs, and they outshot Tufts, 76-35, but led only once, briefly in the second quarter. Twice they pulled within one goal, down 13-12 with 8:34 left and 14-13 with 2:34 left, but could not tie. Cantabene credited Tufts goaltender Steven Foglietta with turning the game in the Jumbos' favor.

"The biggest difference was goalie play. We had the ball 65, 70 percent of the game probably. We had a lot of great looks. Fifteen or so were probably bad shots. We hit a lot of pipes," Cantabene said. "We limited them to 13 shots in the second half. They're a run-and-gun team, and have fun. I think we showed that we do that here, too. We carried the pace of the game, but we couldn't get it by their goalie. He's the biggest difference with 24 saves, and lot of them standing on his head."

Stevenson lost key scoring attackman Richie Ford early in the second quarter to a pulled hamstring, Cantabene said. Ford should return in about week.

"That was another key," Cantabene said. "He was making some plays. He was putting the heat on early. We had to adjust. That's what happens nine games into the season, guys start to get a little banged up."

Neal Barthelme led Stevenson with four goals, and Tyler Reid and Kyle Moffitt each had two. Jimmy Dailey had one goal, and became the program's career points leader (260) with the score, but was held mostly in check by Tufts defenseman Matt Callahan.

Asked what the loss means in the grand scheme of the season, Cantabene said, "Nothing. It's a regional game. We understand that. It counts, but we understand we need to win our conference. We think we're in a great position for the NCAA tournament with three big wins over top 10 teams in the southern region. We're in a good position. We just have to continue get better. That was a great game. It was probably one of the best Division III games around to play. We'll continue to get better. We'll be back. Our guys are motivated. They understand what just happened. We'll be back."

"We had the shots to win the game," Cantabene continued, "and their goalie was making a lot of really big saves. Their poles did a good job clearing the ball. I thought our poles struggled at times. I thought we did a good job. Ray [Witte] scored a goal off the faceoff. I thought at times we carried the pace of the game, but we couldn't get it in the net. That's part of the game, I heard."

Foglietta downplays performance in goal

While everyone else was praising him, Tufts goaltender Steven Foglietta emerged from the locker room clearly not in any mood to talk about himself. Given the chance, he passed repeatedly, instead giving credit to the defense in front of him.

"The defense really played a big part in that whole thing," Foglietta said. "They had a lot of shots, but they weren't getting quality shots because the defense was keeping them out."

Tufts defenseman Alec Bialosky said the game plan was to "pack it in" and force Stevenson's shooters to take 15-yard shots, and let Foglietta get a clear look and save them.

"We had so much faith in our goalie," Bialosky said. "If we packed it in, we thought they would settle for those 15-yarders that they usually get to go. We had a lot of faith in Steve, and know that he's going to get those saves and we're going to go the other way with it."

Still, Foglietta, a junior from Oceanside (N.Y.), received high praise from his coach Mike Daly, Cantabene on the other side, and others.

"He played out of his mind all game long," Tufts attackman D.J. Hessler said. "I don't really have much else to say about that."

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