The Johns Hopkins men's lacrosse team welcomed back Shack Stanwick after a one-game absence because of an unspecified injury for Saturday's game against archrival Maryland, and the senior attackman made his presence known early with an assist and a goal that gave his team a 2-1 lead in the first quarter.
Although the No. 7 Blue Jays would eventually fall, 8-7, to the No. 3 Terps in triple-overtime at Homewood Field, Stanwick's return was praised by coach Dave Pietramala, who also took a moment to chastise some unnamed critics.
"He was cleared, and we had to decide if it was in the best interest of our athlete to put him out on the field," Pietramala said after the game. "We're certainly a better team with him than without him. I thought he showed a lot of courage and a lot of guts to walk out onto that field and play today. Quite frankly, I'm tired of hearing how soft Shack Stanwick is. There's a few people out there that don't take the pounding that he takes and take the injuries that he has right now. To step out on that field against that defense and play, I'm really proud of him."
Stanwick, the Baltimore resident and Boys' Latin graduate, was unavailable for comment after the game, but senior goalkeeper Brock Turnbaugh (Hereford) admired his teammate's mettle.
"Shack's a tough kid," Turnbaugh said. "He's going to do whatever he can to help this team win, and seeing that as a fellow senior really inspires me to play my hardest."
Maryland coach John Tillman said the defense had prepared for a scenario in which Stanwick, who ranks second on Johns Hopkins in assists (25) and points (41), did not play. But he said the defense also anticipated Stanwick would return for what might have been the final home game of his college career.
"He's a competitor," Tillman said. "He's a terrific player and just a great person, too. … It was a lot easier just to kind of prepare for him and then deal with him not playing. But that kid's a warrior. He's one of the best players out there, and he's been that way for the last few years."