Steele Stanwick "On Cloud Nine" Following First MLL Championship
October 9, 2019 - Major League Lacrosse (MLL) News Release
Boston, MA - Like any kid growing up in Maryland, Steele Stanwick dreamed of playing professional lacrosse. Like any competitive athlete, Stanwick also wanted to win. Stanwick did a lot of that while playing his college lacrosse at the University of Virginia. Stanwick led the Cavaliers to the 2011 NCAA Division I Championship while also winning the Tewaaraton Award as the nation's best player.
Fast forward eight years and Stanwick is once more a champion. Stanwick and the rest of his Chesapeake Bayhawks teammates defeated the Denver Outlaws 10-9 in Sunday's MLL Championship Game. It was the first career MLL Championship for Stanwick and it was a long time coming.
Following his standout career at Virginia, Stanwick was drafted second overall in the 2012 MLL Draft by the Ohio Machine, then an expansion franchise. Stanwick and the Machine won a total of four games in the teams first two years of existence. Reflecting on his early days in the league compared to know Stanwick said, "I was at the bottom pit of the league, and now I'm at the top, it's an awesome feeling."
Stanwick established himself as a clutch playoff performer in Friday night's semifinal against the Atlanta Blaze. In sudden death overtime, Stanwick received a pass from Nick Mariano to the left of Blaze goalie Chris Madalon. Stanwick fired a low shot past Madalon, sending the Bayhawks to the MLL Championship. Stanwick said of the play "I kind of just blacked out."
As far as Sunday's Championship goes, Stanwick said the matchup with the Outlaws presented an interesting challenging due to the fact that "we knew them, they knew us, and it came down to who could execute better." The Bayhawks mentality was to simply "play four good quarters."
The Bayhawks accomplished their goal of playing well for at least the first two quarters. Chesapeake got out to 8-3 lead at halftime. Stanwick acknowledged that head coach Dave Cottle put an emphasis on "getting off to a good start pregame."
The Bayhawks path to a title hit a roadblock in the second half. The Outlaws went on a 6-0 run over the course of 27:45 to start the second half. The Bayhawks knew Outlaws weren't going to go down without a fight in front of their home crowd. Stanwick said, "we knew they were going to make a run."
The Bayhawks were able to stay confident despite the adversity. Stanwick says the positive outlook was due to how mature and experienced the Bayhawks were. The team felt like they "just needed one in order to get another."
The Bayhawks' one chance came and they didn't squander it. With just over two minutes left Stanwick scored the game tying goal. Stanwick "found himself on the crease" and then made the conscience decision to "back up" instead of cutting. The decision work and the ball found his stick. Stanwick scored a diving goal to tie the game.
One minute later, Stanwick found Andrew Kew "out of a scramble". Kew fired the Championship winning goal past Outlaws goalie Dillon Ward. Stanwick "barely celebrated" due to the fact he was "exhausted."
The mindset for the Bayhawks was win the faceoff and kill the clock. Stanwick said, "we can do anything for a minute."
Stanwick and his teammates began counting down the seconds. Stanwick "ran out on the field before the clock expired." He wanted to be the first to hug veterans Jesse Bernhardt and Brian Phipps. When the horn did sound Stanwick said, "it was pure excitement."
Stanwick credited the Bayhawks success to the mix of young guys and veterans on the squad. He added that everyone from the owners, coaches, and players contributed to a really special group of guys. Stanwick said, "I am just lucky I was a part of it."
Stanwick noted that "as you get older you get to appreciate this stuff a little bit more, and you realize just how hard it is to win a championship." Stanwick added "I'm still on cloud nine and just happy to be a part of this organization."
Stanwick will take some time to enjoy and reflect on his incredible season, before getting ready for his ninth MLL season next year.
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