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

The Best of the Big East

The problem – or the intrigue – of college sports is that players are always coming and going. Considering that the Georgetown women’s lacrosse team lost seven starters to graduation, “It’s a totally different team,” Head Coach Ricky Fried said.

Luckily for the Hoyas, they return the two best players in the conference in juniors Coco Stanwick and Chloe Asselin, the Big East attacker and defender of the year, respectively.

They share a competitive spirit, diligence in practice and a knack for figuring out strategy in game situations. But Stanwick and Asselin took two very different roads to reach the Hilltop.

Flash back to 1991. Nirvana was all over the radio, the first Web browser was introduced to the world and a young Coco Stanwick – Connor is her given name – was starting first grade in Baltimore. First grade was the year that students could start joining organized sports, so Stanwick, like her eight other siblings, began swimming and playing basketball, soccer and, of course, lacrosse.

“We’re kind of an active family,” Stanwick says. “My mom doesn’t know what to do with us, so she kicks us out of the house. . It’s something that you do to have fun and bond.”

Chloe Asselin, meanwhile, was in the midst of a big change at 6 years old. Her family moved from a French suburb of Geneva, Switzerland, to Westchester County, N.Y., after her mother – a translator for the United Nations – was reassigned.

Asselin did not pick up a lacrosse stick until eighth grade. But by her junior year, she had emerged as the leader of the Edgemont High School team that won the state’s sectional title.

Back in Baltimore, Stanwick developed into one of the top young lacrosse talents in the nation. She was a high school all-American at Notre Dame Prep and captained the undefeated United States team at the U-19 world championship in 2003.

Stanwick had a lot to live up to: Her older sisters Sheehan (MSB ’01) and Wick (MSB ’03) were turning Georgetown into a national powerhouse under the guidance of Head Coach Kim Simons. Both named all-Americans multiple times, the two elder Stanwick sisters left an indelible mark on the Hoya lacrosse program. It was in Sheehan’s senior year and Wick’s sophomore year that the women’s lacrosse team advanced to its first championship game. Sheehan still has multiple entries in the national record books: sixth in career points (330), 10th in single-season points (115 in 2001) and ninth in career goals (232), just to name a few.

When it was time to start applying to college, Coco initially did not want to come to Georgetown.

“I actually never played with my sisters, so they played together and then they graduated before I got here, but it was like a deterrent,” Coco says, calling herself the “little sister in the shadow.”

But Coco’s desire to stay close to home narrowed the field down to Georgetown and Virginia, and Georgetown won out in the end.

“You know, when you come on campus, the front gates, you know it’s the place for you,” she says.

Coco’s father Will (CAS ’76) is also a Hoya, but the latest Stanwick to go to college broke the Georgetown mold, as Tad, the fourth in the family, decided to go to Rutgers and play lacrosse there.

Asselin arrived on the Hilltop looking to walk on to the lacrosse team, then as a midfielder.

“I never watched college lacrosse,” she says. “I was looking for a school with a good program, and I knew that Georgetown had a good program. When I got here I thought I would try.”

According to Fried, Asselin’s inauspicious arrival would soon give way to a powerful athletic career.

“Chloe came onto the campus as an athletic, strong, fast player who – I don’t know if she really knew what Division I lacrosse was all about, and didn’t really care, she just wanted to be part of the team,” Fried says. “She came out, worked her butt off and developed defensive skills.”

Simons called her “a pleasant surprise” in the 2003-04 media guide, and Asselin went on to play in 15 games, scoring two goals.

But that first year would not be the biggest surprise in store for Asselin. As Fried, Simon’s assistant, took over the reigns of the team, he moved Asselin from midfield to defense.

“One, we had a gap there that we needed to fill, so that was obvious,” Fried says. “Two, it was easier for her to focus on one thing, as opposed to a midfielder, where she was focused on offense and defense. So we thought if we could have her focus on one aspect that she would develop faster.”

Asselin started every game, causing 28 turnovers while picking up 36 ground balls and winning 18 draw controls. She earned the Big East defensive player of the week award twice for her performance in games like Georgetown’s 13-11 win over then-No. 4 Virginia, when she caused two turnovers, scooped three ground balls and won three draws.

When the Big East announced its end of the year awards, Asselin was named defensive player of the year. She also earned third team all-American recognition.

“She really kind of came out of nowhere last year. We thought she’d be good, but we didn’t have any clue that she’d be as good as she is,” Fried says.

Stanwick, meanwhile, earned Big East attacker of the year, as well as nominations for the all-American first team and the Tewaraaton Trophy, college lacrosse’s highest honor, in just her sophomore season. A four-time conference player of the week, Stanwick tallied 59 goals, 20 assists and 79 points. Her goals and points totals were the highest in the Big East while her 4.39 points per game and 3.28 goals per game averages ranked seventh and eighth in the nation, respectively.

But for Stanwick and Asselin, the personal accolades don’t matter, even though the Big East again honored them with the preseason attacker and defender of the year awards earlier this year. These two only have one thing on their minds: leading Georgetown to a national championship.

“That was last year. It’s a whole new season,” Asselin says.

“It doesn’t matter what happened last year,” Stanwick adds.

What does matter to Stanwick and Asselin is the team. To get to the national championships, both agree that team chemistry is the most important thing.

“Our freshman year we went to the Final Four, and that was really team chemistry,” Stanwick, now a team captain, says. “And team effort. One person can’t win it and can’t do it, so it’s gotta be a team effort – which I know sounds cliched, but lacrosse is a team sport. One person can’t do it all.”

As for the chemistry between Stanwick and Asselin, the two find one similarity among the characteristics of their contrasting personalities. Once they step onto the field, the gregarious Stanwick and reserved Asselin turn into fierce competitors.

“Chloe’s like the most intense person I’ve ever met in my entire life,” Stanwick says.

“And she’s the most intense person I’ve ever met in my life!” Asselin retorted, laughing until her face turned red.

“I’m like a giant goof who gets intense, and she’s the biggest stress case that I’ve met in my entire life, and just sitting with her is stressing me out,” Stanwick joked in response.

Either way, one thing’s for sure – don’t get in the way of either one of these girls with a crosse in her hands.

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