Loyola up to speed

Tim Donovan, Steele Stanwick and Joe Cummings have led the Dons back from a 1-2 start, raising hopes for an MIAA A Conference title

Boys lacrosse

May 02, 2007|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Sun Reporter

The Loyola lacrosse team lost two of its first three games this season, but the Dons didn't lose perspective.

"Obviously, no one wants to start the season 1-2," senior midfielder Tim Donovan said after a season-opening rout of Penn Charter was followed by narrow losses to Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference rivals McDonogh and Boys' Latin.

"But the two losses were very hard-fought games and I feel that if we see either one of those teams again, we have a very good shot of beating them."

Loyola has been beating everyone lately. The Dons have won nine straight, a run that coach Jack Crawford largely attributes to the play of the Johns Hopkins-bound Donovan and junior attackmen Joe Cummings and Steele Stanwick.

Stanwick is the team's most potent and balanced scorer, with his 28 goals and 21 assists before last night's game swiftly approaching last year's 52 points (35 goals, 17 assists). Cummings is the finisher on attack with 26 goals and four assists, and Donovan has 19 goals, eight assists, "a good work ethic and can get you a tough ground ball," Crawford said.

"Each of them brings a different style to our offense, and that's been vital to the production we've had at that end of the field," said Crawford, whose Dons are 7-2 in the league and 10-2 overall. "It makes adjusting to an opponent's schemes a little easier if you have some players [who each] can add a different dimension to your offense."

Crawford calls Stanwick "one of the best natural lacrosse players I've ever coached."

"Steele's physical abilities and skill level are obvious to anyone who watches him, but the most impressive thing about him is how focused he is on the field and how well he understands the flow and movement of the game," the coach said.

"There are a lot of physically talented players, but very few who can play completely under control. And there's a complete absence of any panic or nervousness in Steele's play."

"They say Bart Starr really became a great quarterback when the game slowed down for him and he learned to play and see a football game under control. Steele has that ability by his very nature, and it's his greatest strength."

Indeed, Stanwick's skills are in the blood.

"My grandfather, Tad Stanwick, played defense in college at St. John's in Annapolis back in the 1930s," said Steele, a junior who has orally committed to play for Virginia. "In fact, he wrote the first book on the 10-man game of lacrosse back in 1940. Surprisingly, none of my uncles or aunts played lacrosse."

But Stanwick's older sisters did. Sheehan, Wick and Coco Stanwick all starred at Notre Dame Prep before going on to Georgetown.

Sheehan was a four-time All-American and national Attacker of the Year; Wick was a two-time All American, and Coco, a senior at Georgetown, earned first-team All-America honors as a sophomore and junior.

"I also have an older brother, Tad, who played four years of varsity at Boys' Latin," Steele added. "He's at Rutgers and plays attack and started every game as a freshman last year."

Stanwick's cousins, Ashley and Garrett, play for the Old Dominion women's team and the Johns Hopkins men's team, respectively. Each played in high school at St. Mary's.

"I think people expect a lot out of me due to my last name, but I'm so used to it now that it really doesn't bother me," he said. "And with Tim and Joe, they're both great players to have on the field with you."

Cummings' best game was in a 10-1 rout of Dulaney during which he assisted or scored the Dons' third-through-eighth goals to finish with four goals and two assists.

"Joe has developed the scope of his game over the past year or two after spending some time behind some veterans," Crawford said of Cummings, who also had a team-high four goals in an 18-1 rout of Friends.

"Joe is great off of the ball and an awesome finisher," Stanwick said. "You can just throw the ball into the crease with some traffic and he'll figure out a way to catch it and score."

Crawford calls Donovan, 6 feet 3 and 215 pounds, "physically the type of player we're seeing more frequently at the Division I level."

Donovan, who has been timed in 4.7 seconds for the 40-yard dash, "has the size of a tight end or linebacker and the speed of a wide receiver who can single-handedly change a game," said Brian Abbott, who coached Donovan during the Dons' march to last fall's MIAA A Conference football title.

Said Donovan: "I feel as the captain and an experienced varsity player, I have to lead the team on the field through my play. That's been my focus ... We feel like when it comes to playoffs, if we improve each day, we have a good chance of getting to the championship on May 18."

lem.satterfield@baltsun.com

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