Shooting from the Hip with Steele Stanwick
Sophomore Steele Stanwick and the No. 1 Virginia men’s lacrosse program plays host to No. 12 Johns Hopkins on Saturday at noon, at Klöckner Stadium. Stanwick, a native of Baltimore, Md., recently caught up with VirginiaSports.com to chat about the Johns Hopkins rivalry.
Question: You’re from Baltimore and grew up in the shadows of Johns Hopkins and all their program’s history. How much are you looking forward to Saturday’s game?
Stanwick: It’s always a special game when you play against Hopkins, especially growing up knowing all their history. It’s a great program, a really historic program. Any time you play against Hopkins it’s something special. Playing against them last year was one of my favorite games, so hopefully this year will be the same.
Question: How do you expect playing at home to be different?
Stanwick: I’m sure the atmosphere will be pretty intense here. I’m sure fans will come out to see a great team like Hopkins. Hopkins will be ready to play and I’m sure the atmosphere will feed off of the game.
Question: Is there any extra excitement or edge you get from playing a school like Hopkins?
Stanwick: I don’t think so. I try to go into every game with the same mentality. At the same time growing up going to almost every Hopkins game as a kid and being around the atmosphere down there in Baltimore as a huge Blue Jays fan, there is a little something extra. It’s fun to play one of the better teams, and Hopkins is very familiar to me.
Question: There were a lot of questions from pundits outside the program in regards to the youth and inexperience of the UVa attack. How has the team’s attack developed this year?
Stanwick: That was definitely one of our bigger question marks going into the season and I still think our attack is still kind of finding its identity. Losing guys like Danny [Glading] and Garrett [Billings] is always going to be a big hit for the team, but at a school like Virginia, you have to just keep doing whatever you can and just step up to help the team. I think Chris [Bocklet] has been great. He’s really establishing himself as one of the better shooters and scorers in the country. He just does a great job all over the place, great on ground balls. He’s definitely not playing like a first year. He’s playing with a lot of confidence, which you don’t usually see in a guy who’s just starting in his first year. He’s just doing a great job and I expect he’ll continue keep that up.
Question: Because you have the most experience on the attack, a lot of teams put their No. 1 defender on you. In turn you are now leading the team in assists by a wide margin. How do you spot weaknesses in the other team’s defense?
Stanwick: I think our midfield steals a lot of attention, and I think that allows our attack to have a little bit of freedom. It spreads out the defense a little bit. We have a lot of great shooters on the team, so a lot of my assists are just the next pass on and then rely on the guys making great shots. Some of it is just playing with our offense and making the one more pass so the guys make great, high-percentage shots. Other times it is going in and finding the open guy, but basically when it comes to our offense, it’s just pulling it all together and being unselfish with the ball to make the simple play.
Question: Being from Baltimore with a solid sports history – what other teams do you follow?
Stanwick: I’m a huge Ravens fan. I love the Ravens, as hard as it is to love them with as bad as they are at times, but I am an absolutely huge Ravens fan and try to make it to as many games as I can. I’m always rooting for them no matter what their record is.
Question: Since you adore the Ravens, how would you feel about getting to play in the Final Four at M&T Stadium this May?
Stanwick: It’s always nice going back home. It’s just a very comfortable and relaxed feeling. Getting to play in front of my friends and family would be pretty cool, and I never actually played in the Ravens’ stadium, even in high school. I think that’s one of the team’s goals, to make it to Baltimore, but we’re trying to take one game at a time and to keep getting better with every practice. We’ll see what happens.
Question: With so much going on between class and lacrosse, where can we find you in his spare time?
Stanwick: I always walk to class. I love walking to the Lawn when I can, walking to the Amphitheater. When it’s a good day, it’s great to walk by the Amphitheater and over by Lambeth Field and seeing where Virginia played football in the early 1900s. It’s also so much fun to go by Carr’s Hill and see all the intramurals. The Corner in general is really interesting. Being on 14th and Main Street gives off a really cool vibe.
Question: You mentioned a “vibe” – How does the historical vibe of the school radiate to you?
Stanwick: It’s pretty awesome. It’s a little unreal sometimes when you’re walking around. Sometimes you get caught up in the day-to-day repetition of school and forget that you go to such an amazing place. There’s so much to see here, and every day when you walk to Grounds it’s awesome to think about all the great people who have gone here and all the history that was built here. Sometimes you just have to stop and look around to say, “Man, I’m lucky to go to a school like this.”
Question: Speaking of historic people, have you made it past Edgar Allen Poe’s Lawn dorm room?
Stanwick: I have not, but I’ve heard many stories about it. I haven’t quite made it over there yet, but I plan to take the opportunity at least once before I get out of here.
Question: Your hometown of Baltimore is not too far away. Do you have a go-to stopping place between here and there when you travel home?
Stanwick: I do, because there’s a great barbeque place on the way. I think it’s called Big Jim’s Barbeque or something. It’s up 29 a bit, so sometimes we’ll stop and grab a bite on the way to break up the trip a little bit. It’s kind of a hidden gem students don’t know about.