Sports, Spring

LACROSSE: Connecting The Dots

Stanwick paced the Eagles’ offense last year and returns this spring hungry for more wins

When the ball finds its way to the stick of Covie Stanwick, the defense of the opposition locks in on the Boston College junior. Normally operating behind the goal, the attacker is a sensational talent with a high lacrosse IQ. Her intelligence on the field is overwhelming at first, as she has a nose for goal and an eye out for her open teammates.

Stanwick’s lacrosse mind shows up on the stat sheet as well. Tallying 65 goals and 22 assists in just 20 games as a sophomore last season, Stanwick became one of college lacrosse’s most potent offensive threats.

But none of this would come as a surprise if you look into Stanwick’s past. Her last name is synonymous with the game. Her grandfather, Tad Stanwick, wrote the first book on the 10-man game of lacrosse, which was simply titled Lacrosse. Stanwick’s father, Wells, picked up the knowledge and taught his eight children about the sport. Each of them went onto play at a high level.

“It was awesome,” Stanwick said. “It’s just really competitive. Still, to this day, we’re all trying to outdo each other in everything.”

While competitive, the family is tightly knit. Stanwick received seven texts wishing her luck before her game against New Hampshire, although the matchup was postponed until the next day.

Stanwick’s family lived just down the road from one of the most coveted grounds in the college game. When the kids were not playing in the backyard, their father would bring them to play at Johns Hopkins University.

“With each other, we kind of just mess around in the backyard and play,” Stanwick said. “We put my youngest brother in the goal and play with tennis balls and shoot on him.”

Those games have developed into miniature scrimmages.

“Now, we actually play a fiddlestick game, 2-on-2 or 3-on-3, we play just to mess around in the backyard,” Stanwick said.

One of the most prominent features of her game is her stickwork, which can be improved upon by spending time on a lacrosse wall. She still spends time practicing by herself and with others, but she grew up playing on a wall in her family’s garage.

“I used to call it my study break,” Stanwick said. “But it’s just nice to go out there and mess around. You have freedom to throw on the music and just hang out there.”

Her father originally had her on a routine which, depending on the day, consisted of 250 left-handed throws, 100 tosses with her right, and 100 switches.

“I had a routine when I was growing up, but then when I got to high school, I just kind of stopped counting and I would just to go until I felt good,” said Stanwick.

While each of the Stanwicks participated in multiple sports, including basketball and soccer, they gravitated toward lacrosse.

“I think we were the best at lacrosse,” Stanwick said. “We were all pretty good at the other sports, but best at lacrosse. It’s the most fun. It takes you the farthest.”

Stanwick grew up with one of the best to play the college game in recent years. Her brother, Steele, became the only member of the esteemed clan to win a national championship. His Virginia team took the Division I crown in 2011-the same season in which Stanwick won the Tewaaraton award, which is given to the nation’s best player. Steele now plays professionally for the Ohio Machine.

“He’s really creative,” Stanwick said of her brother. “He’s really athletic. He’s the only one out of all eight of us that’s won a national championship so far.”

Stanwick’s upbringing also helped learn about the complexities of the game’s tactics. In fact, Stanwick worked with Walker to develop a new motion offense to run against a zone defense.

Stanwick is not quick to mention herself, though. She was concerned, not only with improving every aspect of her game, but also with the welfare of her team. While she wants to get better at everything from dodging to finding her teammates, she just wants to win more.

“Getting a first tournament win is what I really want to do,” Stanwick said.

Having lost to Dartmouth in the first round of last year’s NCAA tournament, Stanwick and the Eagles are without an NCAA tournament victory in program history. Come the postseason in mid-May, whether or not the team lives up to that goal will depend on Stanwick’s ability to have another record-setting campaign.

McCarthy, the team’s workhorse, brings a high level of intensity to BC’s stout defense

In high school, Kate McCarthy travelled across the country-as far as California-and out of the U.S. to Costa Rica to play a sport. But that sport wasn’t lacrosse. McCarthy is a senior at Boston College who features as a midfielder for head coach Alison Foley’s women’s soccer team and Acacia Walker’s women’s lacrosse team.

“It isn’t as hard as everyone makes it out to be,” McCarthy said. “I get way more credit than I should.”

The humble Longmeadow, Mass. native is faced with the toll each sport takes on her body.

“I’m always in season,” McCarthy said. “Out of season sports are way worse than in season. The lifts are much easier and everything like that.”
Constantly active, her coaches are lenient with her duties fot both teams. Each gives her a break whenever she needs it.

“It’s kind of tough,” McCarthy said. “It’s different on my body too. Right now, I have a knee injury that I never have in soccer, but I get it because there’s way more cutting in lacrosse, so that’s tough for me. But I play midfield for both of them, so I run a lot.”

Before coming to BC, McCarthy played basketball, soccer, and lacrosse. Without physical education in the school’s curriculum, students played sports. Additionally, the senior took on club lacrosse and club soccer, the latter of which was a more serious commitment. With her soccer career at BC concluding after a run to the Elite Eight last fall, McCarthy is looking to extend her time at Chestnut Hill by adding on an extra year. She did not play for the lacrosse team in her freshman year, as she was recruited to play for BC’s soccer team.

“I was more of a vocal leader for soccer, definitely,” McCarthy said, “We made it to the Elite Eight for soccer, but we barely made the NCAA Tournament.”

In the two-sport athlete’s first year in college, her roommate, a member of the lacrosse team, who she played against in high school, told her to come out for the team. After a two-week trial, McCarthy was told she was welcome to join the now No. 13 Eagles. Her supportive parents travel to all of her games.

Since becoming a member of the lacrosse team, McCarthy has functioned as a midfielder, linking the team’s defense with its attack, though she is now being played more toward the defensive end.

“I’m big in transition, so when our goalie makes a save, I’ll try to get it up and then I’ll get it to Covie and she’ll set it up,” McCarthy said.

Not having a stick in her hands for nearly half of a year sets McCarthy back a bit, though. After missing out on the lacrosse team’s fall schedule, a period when McCarthy has a ball at her feet, it takes practice to get back into the groove of cradling.

“My stickwork gets really rusty though, in lacrosse,” McCarthy said. “During soccer, I never touch my stick or anything.”

Covie Stanwick and McCarthy go to the wall to work on their ball-handling, aiming for the same brick over and over again to improve their accuracy.
“It’s mostly left hand,” McCarthy said. “She [Covie] harps on that.”

According to Stanwick, the senior’s skills are improving, though her true importance to the team comes when she is collecting the ball.

“If she’s in a five-foot radius, she’s going to get the ball, and that’s just such a nice thing to have on our team,” Stanwick said.

Although not a captain for the lacrosse team, McCarthy’s presence in the team’s defense gives her teammates an extra boost.

“I think they’re more confident with her back there,” Stanwick said, “She just brings a tenacity that not everyone has and she’s just all over the ball, she’s so aggressive. She just wants to win more than a lot of people. She wants the ball. She wants to do her job. She wants to do it well and I think that translates to everybody else on the defensive end.”

McCarthy’s prowess and hunger on defense, which includes her scooping up ground-balls and winning draws for the Eagles, is what allows what McCarthy called the team’s “quarterback,” Stanwick, to get the ball. With the two playing in tandem and in sync with the rest of the team, the Eagles will have the chance to make program history.


February 24, 2014