Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

NCAA Snub a Bitter End to Year

The last time the Georgetown women’s lacrosse team missed the NCAA tournament, Tara Lipinski had just become the youngest-ever figure-skating world champion, Tony Blair had recently taken over as the Prime Minister of England, and the first Harry Potter novel had just hit bookstands.

Ten years later, Lipinski’s star has dimmed, Blair is preparing to step down, J.K. Rowling’s septology is coming to a close, and the Hoyas are on the outside looking into the NCAA tourney.

Georgetown finished as the Big East regular season champion at 4-1, and under rules that were recently changed, would have won the tie-breaker and an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament. But, for the first time in its seven-year history, the Big East held a four-team postseason tournament to determine who would get the free pass. After beating Notre Dame 12-10 in the first round, the Hoyas fell to Syracuse in the final. But a loss to Princeton in the season finale left them with too weak a resume for an at-large bid. According to Head Coach Ricky Fried, they were the last team left out.

For a group of 10 seniors who entered the season thinking a national championship was in reach, it was both a disappointing and surprising end to a 50-22 career on the Hilltop during their tenure.

“Looking at our team, this was definitely not the way I thought the season would go,” senior attacker Coco Stanwick said.

Indeed, with Stanwick, a national player of the year finalist last year, Maggie Koch, last season’s national goalie of the year, and a defense anchored by 2006 Second Team All-Big East performer Chloe Asselin, many thought Georgetown would challenge Northwestern and Duke for national supremacy.

The Wildcats and Blue Devils did their part, but the Hoyas finished just 10-8.

Stanwick, though not a repeat on the Tewaaraton Trophy finalist, kept her team competitive for much of the year. She led the squad with 63 goals, a career high and the second highest single-season total in team history, 24 assists, and 79 draw controls. For her career, she finished third in school history in goals scored (199), second in assists (85), third in points (284) and second in draw controls (198). Her older sister Sheehan (MSB ’01) leads each category.

“Coco has been a tremendous leader and a tremendous player to coach,” Fried said. “Next fall will be the first time in 10 years that there is no Stanwick on the Hilltop. Coco has carried the tradition magnificently.”

Koch too will depart with a sparkling resume. Last season she turned in one of the all-time great seasons in school history, saving 57.2 percent of shots and allowing a mere 6.8 goals per game en route to being named the country’s top keeper. Her senior season’s statistics were not as gaudy, but she still took home Big East defensive player of the year honors and may have repeated last year’s accolades had the defense in front of her remained healthy.

“I did my best every day,” Koch said. “But part of me wishes I’d done better.”

Years from now, people will remember the career accomplishments of Stanwick and Koch, but for now, the focus is on this season’s shortcomings. While injuries certainly played a part – Asselin and junior standout Ali Rogers both missed time as the defense was ravaged by injuries – the Hoyas struggled even when healthy. That has both players and coaches doing a bit of head scratching.

“When one part of the team played well,” Fried said, “the other had difficulties. We weren’t able to quite put it together. A lot of that is on the coaches.”

Stanwick added that “it was always coulda-woulda-shoulda.”

The Big East Tournament loss to Syracuse alone was not the death knell. On the road against Princeton the day before NCAA selections were announced, the Hoyas were essentially faced with a do-or-die situation. A win, Fried told his players, and they’re almost definitely in. A loss, and the season is almost certainly over.

“We knew what was at stake,” Stanwick said.

That knowledge was not enough. The Hoyas fell 12-11, and when they gathered the next day to learn their tournament fate, the anticipated rejection became official.

For now, the sting of failure is still real and the thoughts of what could have been will linger until next season’s start.

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