Immediate Release: May 6, 2004
Contact: David Berman (email@example.com)
McKeown, Stephenson headline list of America East award winners
America East All-Conference Release
Head men's lacrosse coach Ed Stephenson earned due recognition today, as he learned his peers in the conference had voted him America East Coach of the Year after a remarkable regular season that saw Binghamton run the table to the tune of a 6-0 record against conference opposition. The Bearcats defied the expectations that had them picked to finish sixth in the seven-team league when the season started, picking up the school's first-ever America East regular season title along the way to carrying the #1 seed into the conference tournament.
"I am honored to be named the America East Conference Coach of the Year," Stephenson said. "There are some outstanding coaches in this conference and its a tribute to our team. This has been a special year and a special team."
Stephenson was joined by several of his players on the all-conference teams, headlined by Player of the Year choice Kevin McKeown (Brewster, N.Y.). The sophomore goalie finished the regular season ranked second in the conference and fifth in the entire nation in goals-against average, sporting a mark of 6.90. He had allowed nine goals per game over the team's first five outings, but then held the opposition to just 5.56 goals per game as Binghamton streaked to an 8-1 mark to conclude the regular season schedule. McKeown also ranked 11th in the nation with a .604 save percentage. In addition to the Player of the Year nod, he was named to the first-team all-conference squad. Just one vote separated him on the all-conference team from fellow keepers Brendan Callahan (Stony Brook) and Kevin Rae (Albany), a testament to the quality of goalies across the conference.
"Kevin is a perrenial competitor," Stephenson said. "You can't find a better leader than him. He has always been good making saves with his body but this year, he has made a lot more stick saves. He is fearless in the goal and has excellent field vision."
McKeown was joined on the first team by sophomore defender Mike Baudouin (Rockville Centre, N.Y./Southside). Baudouin led a strong group of down-low defenders this season, helping the Bearcats to the nation's best defensive scoring average. In 14 regular season games, Baudouin picked up 32 ground balls, and scored his only goal of the season against Stony Brook in the America East opener on April 3.
"Mike is a very quiet and unassuming person but when he gets in a game, he is as tough and aggressive as they come," Stephenson said. "He has led what is the best defense I have ever coached."
Sophomore attack Phil Cavallo (Cedarhurst, N.Y./Lawrence) and freshman attack Matt McNamara (Oswego, N.Y.) were each second-team all-conference selections. For Cavallo, it is the second straight year he has been named to the all-conference team. He led the team this season with 25 goals and also had 10 assists. Three of his goals were game-winners, including a tally with 2:49 remaining in last Saturday's game against Albany that handed Binghamton the regular season conference title.
"Phil has developed a good outside shot this season," Stephenson said. "He is a clutch player and has been one of our go-to guys. Most teams double team him but he is a tremendous dodger."
McNamara had a team-high 22 assists and was right behind Cavallo in goals scored with 20. He is the first Binghamton player to have at least 20 goals and 20 assists in a season. Entering the postseason, McNamara ranked 17th in the nation with 1.57 assists per game.
"Matt is very difficult to cover because of his quickness," Stephenson said. "The other teams usually have their top defender cover him but he comes through for us."
In addition to the second-team nod, McNamara was also a selection on the all-rookie team, where he was joined by freshman attack Nate Kerstein (Rochester, N.Y./Irondequoit) and freshman midfielder Jeff Santucci (Cicero, N.Y./Cicero-North Syracuse). Kerstein matched McNamara for second on the team with 20 goals, including a pair of game-winners. He finished the regular season with a flourish, scoring seven of his 20 goals over the final three games.
"Nate is a clutch player," Stephenson said. "He is very poised and confident and is one of our key shooters. He is very effective when he gets a shot within range of the goal."
Santucci was an instrumental part of the offense from the midfield, and wound up with six goals and five assists. He netted two goals in wins over Quinnipiac and Albany.
"Jeff has improved a lot this season," Stephenson said. "He epitomizes the way our midfielders have come on late in the season. He is very quick and hard to cover."
Binghamton finished the regular season with a 9-5 overall record and 6-0 mark in conference play. The Bearcats entered the America East Championship as the #1 seed and played host to #4 Stony Brook in a semifinal game. It is just the third season of varsity lacrosse at Binghamton, and the team has improved from a squad that won just one game in its inaugural season to one that boasts the nation's top defense and that has earned votes in the national rankings in each of the past two weeks.
POSTSEASON UPDATE: Binghamton shocked Stony Brook with a late regulation comeback and sudden death victory in overtime, advancing to the America East Championship title game with a 7-6 victory over its SUNY rival. The Seawolves led 6-3 with 6:00 left in regulation before the Bearcats rallied for three goals in a span of 3:35. Binghamton then scored the game-winning goal with 2:36 remaining in the overtime period.
Cavallo had two goals and one assist in the game, including his fourth game-winning goal of the season in the exra period. McNamara and Kerstein each scored one goal, and Santucci had one assist. McKeown made five saves in the net.
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