Each week, The Baltimore Sun publishes a Q&A with a college lacrosse player or coach to get you more acquainted with the player and his/her team. Today's guest is Johns Hopkins sophomore attackman Wells Stanwick, who leads the team in assists with 22 and points with 45.
The Baltimore native and Boys' Latin graduate entered the week ranked fourth in Division I in shooting percentage (.500). After Saturday's 8-4 loss to then-No. 7 Loyola, the No. 13 Blue Jays (8-5) are in danger of missing the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1971, the debut of the event. Their streak of qualifying for the tournament is the longest in all of college sports. Johns Hopkins will wrap up the regular season Friday night at Army (8-5).
How would you describe the mood in the locker room?
Everyone's staying positive. It's a little hard, but all we can do right now is go up to Army and get a win and put our name in the playoff conversation, and from there, it's out of our hands.
Is leaving the team's postseason fate in the hands of the NCAA selection committee difficult to digest?
It's definitely difficult to go about. If we had beaten Loyola, it probably would have been in our hands, and we probably would have had a lot more say in what we were going to do in the playoffs. But since we lost, it's out of our hands and it's definitely difficult to deal with, knowing that we're just hoping that we get lucky, almost.
It's easy to point to Saturday's loss to Loyola as a missed opportunity. But are the one-goal losses to North Carolina on March 30 and Albany on April 5 just as disappointing?
I think we try to stay away from the what-if conversation. People do say, 'If you had won that game, you wouldn't be in this position right now.' But it's a position we put ourselves in, not finishing the games in the fourth quarters and coming out slow contributed to that. From there, you've just got to go with it and just take what you're given.
Is ending the program's streak of 41 consecutive appearances in the NCAA tournament a painful scenario?
You never want to be part of the team that didn't keep tradition going. It's definitely hard to deal with that. But we're not thinking about that now. We'll find out Sunday what the case is, and from there we'll go with it. If we don't go, we'll try to come back next year and not let anything like that happen again.
Did you envision going from nine goals and 14 assists as a freshman to 23 and 22 this season?
I definitely wanted to come out this year. I worked hard in the offseason to get better and I think I tried as hard as I could to get better. Obviously, my teammates helped out a lot, finding me. So I think a lot of it can be attributed to our offense. Coach [Bobby] Benson, [the offensive coordinator], has put me in the right sports all year, and I was just a beneficiary of being in the right spots and taking the right shots at the right times.
What is your most memorable goal of the year?
It was the goal against UVa. right before halftime [at the Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic on March 23]. We were kind of up on them, and right off the faceoff, we scored. [Sophomore long-stick midfielder] Mike Pellegrino threw the ball to me, and we scored two goals within seven seconds of each other with under 50 seconds in the half. And it was at M&T Bank [Stadium]. So that was a pretty cool experience. That was probably the best we played all year. We came out and played probably our best lacrosse all year in that game.
Have you talked to your brother, former Virginia attackman and 2011 Tewaaraton Award winner Steele, to seek his advice about this season?
I've talked to him a little bit. Not much, though, because they didn't really have a season like what we're having right now. So I've talked to him a little bit, but not too much. He just says to keep playing hard and keep doing your thing. It's almost working. It's just that at the end of some of these games, we're just letting up a little too early.