OWINGS MILLS, MD – For the second time in three days, the
York College men's lacrosse team visited one of the top-three
teams in the country. And for the second time in three days, the
Spartans returned home having suffered an excruciating defeat.
On Thursday, the Green and White fell 24-6 to #3 Stevenson in the Spartans' final regular-season contest of the 2010 campaign. The defeat, York's third straight after winning five in a row, drops the Spartan record to 7-8 (4-3 CAC) on the season while the Mustangs improve to 14-1 (6-1 CAC).
In a déjà-vu-like moment, the Spartans tallied the game's first score – just like they had in Tuesday's eventual 19-4 loss at #1 Salisbury. The potent tandem of Ryan McNicholas (Fallston, Md./Fallston) and Josh Gamble (Easton, Md./Easton) combined to give York a 1-0 lead just 1:01 into the contest. McNicholas' 43rd score of the season, Gamble's 21st assist, provided the Green and White with what would prove to be there only lead of the game.
That lead would not last long however, as Stevenson's Rob Lamey responded for the Mustangs 2:39 later to knot the game at 1-1. Lamey's goal sparked an 8-0 run for the home squad, providing the third-ranked Mustangs with an 8-1 cushion by the 12:57 mark of the second quarter.
York finally broke the spurt with a Kevin Topper (Marriottsville, Md./Liberty) goal, courtesy of a B.J. Blaker (West Chester, Pa./Henderson) helper, at the 12:12 mark. But that would be as close as the Spartans would get throughout the rest of the contest.
Stevenson's talented attack would go on to tally 16 more times throughout the remaining 40:56. In total, 12 different players scored for the home squad as they secured the 18-goal victory.
To the Spartans' credit, they continued to battle despite the deficit. Starting with Topper's second goal, which came on an Adam Cooper (Bel Air, Md./Bel Air) assist with 7:01 to play in the third, the Green and White rattled off three-straight tallies. Topper's notch was followed by Blaker's 19th of the season just 1:43 later. Gamble then finished the burst of offense with his 43rd of the year, this one via a Jamie Lowe (Monrovia, Md./Urbana) helper, with 1:53 to play in the third stanza.
For the game, Stevenson outshot York 50-39 while snagging 35 ground balls to the Spartans' 20. The most glaring statistic however, proved to be face-offs as the hosts won 26-of-34 including all eight in the first quarter. The Mustangs also had a myriad of extra-man opportunities, 12 in all, as they scored on six of those chances.
Steve Kazimer, the preseason national Player-of-the-Year, tallied a game-high five goals while also dishing out three assists. Richie Ford, the Mustangs overall leader in points with 72, posted four goals and four helpers while Neal Barthelme added four and two, respectively. Jimmy Dailey registered three assists. Ray Witte was nothing short of brilliant in face-offs, winning 14-of-16 while picking up seven ground balls. In the goal, Ian Bolland picked up the win as he made six saves in his 30 minutes of work.
For the Spartans, McNicholas tallied twice as he ups his season total to a team-leading 44 goals. Gamble recorded a goal and an assist while Topper scored two times. Lowe's assist improves his rookie total to an impressive 25 on the year. Senior netminder Chris Collins (Westminster, Md./Westminster) suffered the loss while Michael Karwoski (Phoenixville, Pa./Phoenixville) finished off the final 30 minutes in the cage.
With the regular season now complete, the Spartans turn their attention to the CAC Tournament. York opens up the league playoffs on Sunday, April 18, when they host Mary Washington in an afternoon tilt. Please visit www.cacsports.com for up-to-date tournament information.
Kevin Topper photo courtesy of Zach Clabaugh - www.sharpedgephoto.smugmug.com