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Men’s Lax crowned MAC Champions – Stevenson Villager
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Men’s Lax crowned MAC Champions – Stevenson Villager

Men’s lacrosse goes dancing!

The Stevenson men’s lacrosse team is now just five wins away from their first national championship since 2013.

The Mustangs shift their focus to the NCAA Division III men’s lacrosse tournament as they travel to Schenectady, New York to face Union College in the second round on Saturday at 3 p.m.

This is the 13 of the Mustangse appearance in the tournament in school history, but their first appearance in the tournament since 2021. Stevenson earned a first-round bye this weekend by dominating Eastern 21-3 in the Middle Atlantic Conference title game at Mustang Stadium.

“It’s the best feeling to win a game like that,” said fourth-year defenseman Jack Seals. “It’s been three years since we played in the NCAA Tournament, and I’ve been chasing the feeling of playing for a national title ever since.”

Stevenson is one of 40 teams in the DIII bracket, but the only team from the MAC to qualify. York, the top seed in the MAC tournament, lost to Eastern 11-10 in the semifinals.

Facing Stevenson and Union in the Schenectady area are Illinois Wesleyan and Aurora College of Illinois, who play Wednesday for the right to face Tufts on Saturday. The winner of SU-Union will face the winner of Tufts-Aurora/Illinois Wesleyan for a spot in the final eight on Sunday at 3 p.m.

MAC champions for the first time in five years!

Jack Scaliti celebrates with teammates after Stevenson’s 21-3 victory over Eastern in the MAC men’s lacrosse championship at Mustang Stadium. (Emma Hartman)

The team’s monumental victory against Eastern in the MAC championship game made Saturday night a truly special night for Stevenson as the Mustangs captured their first MAC title in five years in dominant fashion.

The Stangs dominated both sides of the ball, whether it was clears, shots, faceoffs, ground balls or even turnovers. They were leaders in every category.

Adjustments had to be made heading into the matchup as senior Conor Halpin went down with an injury in the team’s MAC semifinal win against Messiah on Wednesday, May 1. Therefore, the faceoff duties were turned over to freshmen Bradley Bennett and Connor Dunay. Together they totaled 22 wins, as Bennett went 14-15 and Dunay 8-11. The team was almost perfect in clearing the ball at 21-22, and perfect in three of the four minutes of play.

Stevenson crushed Eastern goaltenders with 58 shots to their 21 shots, just above a team average of 53 shots per game this season.

Freshman forward Darrell Curtis led the Mustangs with seven points (5 goals and 2 assists), capping a week in which he scored 11 total goals for the week, helping him earn the MAC Commonwealth Men’s Lacrosse Tournament MVP.

The Mustangs’ offensive attack was led by freshmen Curtis, Gavin Gossen and Hunter Bryant; sophomore Max Racich; third-year Grant Zick and fourth-years Dillon Linhardt, Andrew Searing and Jack Scaliti.

“We preach ‘Family’ and I think last night really proved how Stevenson lacrosse is a family,” Seals said.

The Stevenson men’s lacrosse team gathers on the Mustang Stadium lawn after their 21-3 win Saturday against Eastern in the MAC Championship game. The Mustangs earned a berth in the NCAA Division III tournament championship with the win. They will play Union College in Schenectady, New York on Saturday, May 11. (Emma Hartman)