May 21, 2013

Stevenson's Green Sees Payoff from Hard Work

by Jac Coyne | | Coyne Archive | Twitter

He toiled for his first three years in the unheralded role of defensive midfielder at Stevenson, but Peter Green worked tirelessly over the summer to become one of the best two-way middies in Division III.

Hard work is underrated.

It's not always fun, but there is almost always a pay off at the end. That's what Stevenson's Peter Green was certainly banking on when he set out on his quest to become one of the Mustangs top offensive middies after toiling for three years in the unheralded realm of defensive midfielder.

At the end of last year, Green and Stevenson head coach Paul Cantabene had a conversation about the possibilities for the coming fall, and Green saw an opening.

"We talked and he said that I would have a chance to play offense going into fall ball," Green said. "I didn't want to squander that opportunity, so I made sure I was ready. I just challenged myself to go from a good athlete to an elite athlete. I worked on my conditioning, strength, quickness, everything. It was just time in the weight room and on the track."

When Green arrived back in Owings Mills this past in September with 10 pounds of added muscle along with tremendous speed and conditioning, there was no keeping him off the first midfield line.

"It has been great for Peter because he has put in so much work to get better," Cantabene said. "He was working as a d-middie for his first two years, then last year he was our main d-middie, and then this year he is one of our top offensive middies.

"It has been a great reward for him. It's great to see a kid earn it instead of being given it. He earned his playing time through his work over the summer."

Green hasn't disappointed. He started every game this year for the Mustangs, finishing fourth in points (51), third in goals (36), and is the top-producing midfielder on the team. He hasn't forgotten his roots, however. Green still plays the wing on faceoffs and finished third on the team in ground balls (82) and he continues to get back on defense to help the 21-2 Mustangs.

"We leave him out there all the time," Cantabene said. "He does everything for us. We trust him to make good plays and good decisions. He works hard and we trust Peter a lot. We put him in a lot of big situations and he's always paid off."

The move from defense to offense was well-timed, with the new NCAA rules this year encouraging two-way midfield play.

"I play offense, but I have no problem staying out and playing defense," Green said. "I still love defense."

Green is a confident guy, undoubtedly the result of seeing his hard work pay dividends this spring. One of the goals he set for himself during all of the countless workouts was to be an All-American, and on Tuesday, he was named to the second team. The genesis of the confidence spike dates back to last spring.

Playing against Salisbury in the CAC title tilt, the Stevenson staff entrusted Green with matching up with one of the best players who has come through Division III.

"In the CAC championship game last year, we switched our pole onto Ryan Clarke and [defensive coordinator Tim] Puls put me on Sam Bradman," Green said. "When he had the confidence in me to do that, I figured I can guard anybody. I thought I did a pretty decent job of it, too."

Cantabene takes great pride in developing players, and he feels like his staff does it better than most. While the coaches played a hand in Green's emergence as one of the best two-way midfielders in the division, it was basically Green's decision. He could have put in some time and hoped for the senior discount, but he single-handedly took all the variables out of the equation.

It has given younger Stevenson players a blue print about how to get the playing time they want.

"He's just a hard-nosed kid," Cantabene said. "He never came in and talked to us. He never told us what we should be doing or anything like that. He just said to himself 'This is what I'm going to do,' and let his hard work speak for itself. How much he was here this summer shooting, how much he was running? It was unbelievable the amount of time he put in to get himself to where he is now. I can't think of another kid who has worked harder here in my career than he has."

On Sunday, the former defensive specialist will be the top midfielder for Stevenson in the program's first trip to the national championship game. It's an amazing transformation.

"It feels pretty good seeing all the benefits of the hard work I put in," Green said.

It always does.

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