Forget about the past and, for a moment, try not to think too much about the future. For the No. 3 Hoyas, the only thing that matters is the now.

Georgetown’s 10 seniors, who include national player of the year finalist attacker Coco Stanwick and national goalie of the year Maggie Koch, have won Big East titles and at least one NCAA tournament game in each of their first three seasons – going to the quarterfinals twice and the semifinals once – but have yet to make it to, or win, the big game. This year, getting that chance and bringing home the title is all that matters.

“They do have a chip on their shoulder, in the sense that we have a goal to accomplish,” Head Coach Ricky Fried said about his team, picked by league coaches to win the Big East and ranked third by national coaches, fourth by Inside Lacrosse and eighth by Lacrosse Magazine. “We don’t want to fall short, and we’re going to do whatever it takes to get there at the end.”

Last season, the third-seeded Hoyas fell to No. 6 Notre Dame 12-9 in South Bend in the quarterfinals, Georgetown’s first-ever loss to a Big East opponent. The defeat ended their season one game shy of a trip to Boston for the final four.

“The hardest thing is that every year when you come in, if you play for a top program – a top school – [a national title] is a realistic goal,” Stanwick said. “When you actually believe it and you don’t get it, it’s the most awful feeling ever because you really believed in something and you don’t get it.”

The 2005 season was another bedtime story ending with a nightmare finish, as the Hoyas were trounced by Dartmouth 13-3 on the road.

“You give up so much to this program, so much time, and you have to sacrifice so much that if you don’t get it, it’s so disappointing,” said senior defender Chloe Asselin, a preseason all-Big East selection.

The current senior class finished its freshman season at the final four in Princeton, N.J., but without a win to show for it, falling 12-9 to a heavily-favored Virginia team in the semifinals.

“I think you can’t even understand what it feels like – the freshmen don’t understand,” Koch said. “It’s just so horrible that, again, you put in all this time the whole year and then one day, it’s just over. You wake up the next day and just expect to go to lacrosse and you don’t.”

But for a senior class tired of premature season finishes, 2007 presents perhaps their best chance yet of taking home the gold.

It all starts with Stanwick. A year ago, she scored 60 goals, tallied 13 assists, and won an NCAA-record 113 draws to earn Tewaaraton Trophy (national player of the year) finalist status, first team all-Big East recognition, and IWLCA first team all-American acknowledgement. With those statistics, Stanwick won’t have the element of surprise on her side, but then, everyone knew what she was capable of doing last season just as well.

Joining Stanwick on the attack will be senior Schuyler Sutton, who finished 2006 third on the squad in goals (24) and points (37). With four-goal games against both Johns Hopkins and Virginia, Sutton is capable of serious offensive firepower. Should she be able to produce more consistently, the Georgetown attack, which ranked 43rd in scoring offense last year, is likely to improve considerably.

The success of the Hoyas’ attack also relies on Brittany Baschuk, a fifth-year senior whose 2006 season came to an abrupt end with an ACL tear against Boston University in the team’s 10th game of the year. While on the field, Baschuk demonstrated a flair for the dramatic, scoring the winning goal in overtime twice in as many games to beat North Carolina on March 31 and Maryland on April 5.

One visible absence from the Georgetown attack is Sara Zorzi, the Hoyas’ second leading scorer and team leader in assists last season. According to Fried, Zorzi withdrew from Georgetown for academic reasons.

Zan Morley, a junior who scored 11 goals last season; Molly Ford, a freshman all-American honorable mention from Reisterstown, d. and sophomore Bunny O’Reilly, who played in 11 games last season, round out Georgetown’s leading attackers.*

The midfield will be the youngest unit on the field but also one of the most experienced. Unlike the attack and defense, the middies are led by a junior, Patty Piotrowicz. But with 18 game starts, three goals, six assists and 42 ground balls, Piotrowicz brings experience and accomplishment. Joining her will be sophomores Jordan Trautman and Katie Burton.

Just as it was last year, defense promises to be a major strength for the Hoyas. Asselin was a second team all-Big East selection last spring and a third team all-American the spring before. She is joined by three other seniors, 2006 all-Big East second team member Laura Cipro, Ali Rogers and Megan Ellis. With four experienced seniors, all capable of playing lockdown defense, Georgetown’s aim will be not just to duplicate last year’s effort (second in the nation in scoring defense), but to improve upon it.

Koch may give the Hoyas their best chance of doing so. After playing her freshman season at Drexel and receiving limited playing time as a sophomore on the Hilltop, Koch took her game to a new level last year, finishing second in the country in goals against average (6.8) and first in save percentage (.564). Now, with another year of experience and a confidence level higher than the Healy clock tower, Koch will anchor a defense aiming to be the best in the country.

Georgetown is stacked, and while the Hoyas’ program has reached a level at which high achievement is an annual demand, the window is still open for the team to be historically good. For that, Fried thanks the seniors.

“They are all on the same page, they understand what our goals are – they actually help set those goals – and the leadership from that group will be the reason we succeed this year,” he said. “They understand where we’ve been, they understand where we want to go, and having them all together on the same page makes it easier for the rest of the team to follow.”

Stanwick has seen her fair share of great players who didn’t win a championship, and she doesn’t want to add her name to that list.

“My sister, Sheehan (MSB ’01),” Stanwick said, “the year that she graduated they were in the NCAA finals and it still sticks with her that she didn’t win. That feeling of not getting it still sticks with her and that’s something that I fear having and I think that that pushes all of us because no one wants to have that.”

Asselin adds, “Every year you see how much the seniors above you want it and how disappointed they are, and now that we’re seniors, we don’t have another chance.”

At the Multi-Sport Facility at noon on Feb. 24 against James adison, the last chance for the Class of 2007 begins.

*Correction: The printed article “Last Chance for Star Seniors” (THE HOYA, Feb. 13, 2007, C14) incorrectly identified Zan Morley as a senior. She is a junior. (Return to the corrected sentence)

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