Although this is the first time these programs will meet in the NCAA tournament, they have met nine times in the regular season since 2006. Stevenson has won five of those contests.
Lynchburg (14-5) – ranked 13th in the most recent United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association poll – is 0-1 in the quarterfinal round, losing to Roanoke, 10-9, in 2005. Senior Vin Curran has won 55.8 percent (129-of-231) of his faceoffs and ranks third on the team in goals with 29.
No. 4 Stevenson (19-2) has strung together eight consecutive wins and has won in three of its last four appearances in the quarterfinal round. With five goals in Saturday’s 17-13 win against No. 11 Washington College last Saturday, sophomore midfielder Billy Burgoyne is tied for third on the team in goals with 33.
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Here are a few factors that could play a role in the outcome at Mustang Stadium in Owings Mills on Wednesday night.
1) Lowering Lynchburg’s shooting percentage. The Mustangs are shooting a healthy 28.1 percent thus far, but the Hornets are slightly better at 29.8 percent. Lynchburg converted 30.6 of its 36 shots in that setback to Stevenson in March. So Mustangs coach Paul Cantabene is all too familiar with the necessity of influencing the Hornets’ shot selection. “We’ve got to get a piece of them,” he said. “If they get their hands free and nobody is on them, they’re going to stick it. They’re very good shooters. So we’ve got to get a piece of their gloves or a piece of their sticks. If you can do that, that throws them off a little bit. I think in the last game, we kind of let them go wherever they wanted. We’ve got to take away their strengths on the field and try to make them shoot from areas they don’t want to shoot from.”
2) Figuring out Lynchburg’s Adam Davey. In the first meeting, Stevenson placed 31 of its 49 shots on net, but Davey, a sophomore goalkeeper, turned away 19 shots, including 11 in the first half. The onus will be on the Mustangs to make sure that the Owings Mills native and Boys’ Latin graduate (7.37 goals-against average and .578 save percentage) does not enjoy similar success again. “I don’t think we shot to really smart spots the first time,” Cantabene said. “But he played really well. He got in a rhythm early, and that’s what we’ve kind of done all year – get goalies in a rhythm. We need to do a good job of hitting our spots earlier and making sure that we don’t let goalies get into good rhythms.”
3) Taking the lead and keeping it. Stevenson scored the first three goals of that game against the Hornets and eventually assumed a 10-6 advantage after three quarters. Cantabene would prefer to avoid the fourth-quarter collapse in which Lynchburg sent the contest into overtime before the Mustangs prevailed. “I think we’ve just got to play a little more composed,” Cantabene said. “In that game, towards the end, I don’t think we played as composed, and we got into some foul trouble and gave them some easy goals, and we blew that lead that we had. I think we’ve just got to play a little more composed and shoot the ball better, and we have to be a little tougher in this game in order to win it.”