Charles Nailen/The Hoya The Hoyas are ready to get back into action and into the finals again.

A small sign hangs over the desk of women’s lacrosse Assistant Coach Ricky Fried. It reads: “How much do you want to win? Winning attitude, collective responsibility, pride and determination, communication, leadership.”

Fried was hired in August after former assistant coach Kellie Young took a job as the head coach at James Madison University. He may be new to the program, but the vision he brings with him is nothing new to the team. For the second year in a row the Hoyas found themselves in the national championship game last season, coming in with a 17-1 record. Head Coach Kim Simons maintains that it is the team’s balance and focus that got them there.

“We talk about it a lot: who are they going to put their best defender on?” Simons said, “I have no idea. If I was playing this team right now if you asked me that, I would have a hard time giving a clear-cut decision. That’s how balanced we are as an offense and as a team.”

While it is not a departure from her coaching philosophy of the last two seasons, being able to rely on every player on the field for output will be even more important this season than for the last two. Simons said that, as in past seasons, senior leadership will be important, but unlike recent years, there will be no single dominant player on the field.

In the 2001 effort, Georgetown benefited from the play of Sheehan Stanwick, who holds the top three spots in the record books for both goals scored and points in a season. Last season, senior attack Erin Elbe led the team – and the nation – in play. She garnered the coveted Tewaaraton Trophy, awarded to the best lacrosse player in the nation, for her role in leading Georgetown back to the finals.

“The worst thing about this team is that we don’t have an Erin Elbe or a Sheehan Stanwick; the best thing about this team is that we don’t have an Erin Elbe or a Sheehan Stanwick,” Simons said, the contradiction indicating the dependence on a team effort.

In addition to the departure of Elbe, the team lost starting goaltender Chandler Vicchio, defenders Danielle Boehmcke and Kristen Raneri, midfielder Sue Graser and attacker Kate Ahearn. Vicchio, Graser and Raneri had not started for the team until last season, something Simons says defines Georgetown lacrosse.

“Most of them, besides Erin, were not exactly your highest-profile recruits coming out of high school, maybe not even recruited all that heavily by a lot of schools but somehow they ended up here,” she said. “For them to stick with the program, keep fighting, keep working and then get out there and help get us back to the national championship is a real credit to them. We’re a good enough program now where the skill … gets replaced year by year, but it’s the personality and the leadership that takes a lot of time to rebuild.”

If the Hoyas hope to return to the finals this May, they will need to do so on the wings of a balanced offense. Simons emphasized the role of the senior class in leading the team on the field. That class witnessed the team’s first trip to the title game where they fell victim to Maryland’s juggernaut heading for its seventh consecutive National Championship. Last season their hopes were dashed by a 12-7 Princeton victory.

“Like any good team, the senior class is going to be very influential on what happens. We come into the new year looking at what we have, focusing on the people, the players, and not dwelling on who we lost last year,” senior attack and co-captain Wick Stanwick said. “Duke, Carolina, Princeton, they all lost seniors too, and if you dwell on that, you can’t move forward.”

On the offensive end, the Hoyas are anchored this year by Stanwick and fellow senior attack Tracy Weickel. Stanwick scored 50 goals and added 20 assists last season, including a game-high four goals in the final. Weickel put in 17 goals and six assists on the season, while shooting over 50 percent. At the other end of the field, seniors Melissa Biles and Bethany Feil lead the defense, which held opponents to only 158 points last season.

“Wick Stanwick has the name,” Simons said, “she finishes, she wants the ball on her stick, she’s going to be a big-time player, a big-time attacker, one of the best in the country. But then you look at [junior] Gloria Lozano, returning All-American midfielder; [junior midfielder] Anouk Peters, she’s back from injuries, she’s playing better than ever; Weickel and [senior attack] Liz Ryan, both of them playing the best lacrosse I’ve seen them play in four years.”

Last year Georgetown suffered only two losses: the first was a midseason defeat to North Carolina; the second to Princeton in the final. This season, the team faces a brutal schedule, including matches against perennial powerhouses Maryland and Duke. They again face Princeton, a game which Simons says she will put emphasis on, but only when the time comes.

“We always have a loaded schedule … so we have to balance that, and the only effective way I’ve found is to take every game one game at a time,” Simons said. “I know every coach says that, and every player on every team, but again I think that we’ve done a pretty reasonable job of really trying to focus on ourselves and focus on each step versus getting too caught up in what’s down the road and who our next opponent is.”

If the Hoyas play to their capability, and bear in mind the objectives on Fried’s sign, they have the potential to do as well as or better than last season. A year ago the Hoyas came back after losing the national title game and showed the determination necessary to garner a first-ever No. 1 ranking, and a second shot at the title. This season, Georgetown needs to do come out with the same goal in mind and do the same things it did last season, and a little bit more.

“We would definitely be disappointed if we weren’t playing in the tournament and if we weren’t back in the Final Four. This team has pretty high expectations and the one thing that this team is doing right now is that they’re working hard enough to achieve those goals. It’s not just lip-service, they’re just expecting to get back there,” Simons said.

“Obviously if we get that chance to play that final game in May, we’re expecting the outcome to be a little different.”

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.