Sisterly teams a familial sight

Lacrosse:Georgetown's Sheehan and Wick Stanwick are one of six sets of sisters playing at Division I women's programs ranked in the top 7.

April 13, 2000|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

As Georgetown's Sheehan Stanwick watched her sister Wick go through the college lacrosse recruiting process, she tried not to influence her choice.

Although she hoped Wick would choose Georgetown, too, Sheehan said, "I tried to stay out of it, because I wanted to make sure it was her decision and I wanted to make sure she'd be happy."

As an increasing number of younger sisters have, Wick finally opted to follow her sister. The Notre Dame Prep graduates now are playing side by side in the Hoyas' attack.

The Stanwicks are one of six sets of sisters playing together at Division I women's lacrosse programs ranked this week in the top 7.

When No. 5 Georgetown comes to No. 1 Maryland at 4 p.m. this afternoon, there will be four sets of sisters at Ludwig Field. Seventh-ranked Virginia also has two sets of sisters on its roster.

"This is a new trend," said Georgetown coach Kim Simons, who also has Roland Park graduates Regan and Kristin Raneri.

"It's a very positive thing. In the future, we'll look to recruit more sisters. Having them gives you an advantage in terms of the way they play together and the way they help everyone else play together."

As the Stanwicks and the Raneris did, most of the sister sets played together in high school -- Maryland's Becky and Julie Shank at Severna Park, Virginia's Lacey and Lauren Aumiller at Notre Dame Prep and Virginia's Julie and Jamie Cattano at Western Albemarle in Charlottesville.

But Kristin and Katie Sommar had never played on the same team until Katie arrived at Maryland this year. The high school they attended, West Penn in North Wales, Pa., included just 10th through 12th grades, so Kristin, now a Terps senior, had graduated by the time Katie got there.

"Those other sisters got to play with their sisters, and even with as many sisters and brothers as I have, I've never been able to experience that, so it's exciting," said Kristin Sommar, who is the middle child of five siblings.

While their sisters were being recruited, all of the older sisters said they assumed the same role as Sheehan Stanwick. As a result, the younger sisters said they never felt pressured and they felt free to weigh all of their options.

"I knew Lacey would never be upset and that nothing between us would change if I decided to go anywhere else," said Lauren Aumiller, The Sun's 1999 All-Metro Player of the Year and one of the most heavily recruited players in the country last year.

Each of the younger sisters said the program she chose felt like the right fit to her. Having the older sister there was a bonus.

However, for Kristin Raneri, having Regan's insight helped her get a better feel for the Hoyas' program and for the university in general.

"One of the problems with trying to find a school is that you're not there enough and you don't meet enough people," said Kristen Raneri. "You're there for a weekend, but everyone is really trying to impress you to get you to come there. With a sister who's already there, you know what it's really like."

For Julie Shank, who wavered between Maryland and North Carolina, the decision was a bit more complicated because Becky was at Maryland and their cousin Kellie Thompson was at Carolina.

"After a while, I sort of felt they canceled each other out," said Julie. "If Becky did influence me to come here, it was subconsciously, but she has definitely helped me with the transition to college. She is very supportive of me and very willing to go out of her way to help me out."

None of the younger sisters worried about being in the shadow of a highly successful older sister, which could have been the biggest problem for Katie Sommar and Wick Stanwick, because Kristin and Sheehan are two-time All-Americans.

"I thought about that," said Katie Sommar, "but I wanted to go to Maryland. She'll only be here a year and I thought it would be better if I went where she was."

For the college coaches, recruiting sisters provides a unique challenge. Both Simons and Virginia coach Julie Myers said having an older sister does give them an advantage when recruiting the younger sister.

Both said they have not -- and would not -- recruit an older sister specifically to get a more talented younger one.

"When you're recruiting, you try to get a sense of whether they're going to want to play together or are they paving their own paths," said Simons, "but you try to recruit them as individuals."

Myers, who just missed playing at Virginia with her sister Lisa, said each sister set is different but that there are similarities.

"The advantage of having an older sister playing in college is that the younger sister has seen them play," said Myers. "They've seen the higher level of lacrosse played in college and that only enhances their knowledge of the game. Older sisters pave good paths for their younger sisters."

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