Steele Stanwick running the show. Virginia Cavalier Lacrosse
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Hot Pot Of Lax: Virginia Is Good Again

Beware, today’s Hot Pot of Lax is Impressed!

This week’s Hot Pot victim: Virginia with Stanwick, NOT without the Brattons

We’ve heard a LOT about Virginia recently, and all for the wrong reasons.  Almost every online and print article on the team has focused on Shamel Bratton being dropped from the team, and on Rhamel being suspended indefinitely.  But the focus is in the wrong place.

Where it should be set is squarely on the shoulders of Steele Stanwick.  The heart and soul of the Virginia Cavalier offense has missed UVA’s last two games, and they lost both of them, to Duke.  Stanwick wasn’t injured when UVA lost to Maryland or Hopkins, but he played well in the Hop game, and back then, the UVA team was still dealing with some serious internal issues.  Virginia lost a close one to Hop, and didn’t finish against MD, but they were still gettting a lot of looks, and they looked like a very competitive team.

Without Stanwick in the ACC Semi-finals, Virginia’s offensive quality dropped considerably.  Colin Briggs, John Haldy, Matt Cockerton and others were not getting the looks they usually get and the ball just didn’t cycle with the same effectiveness.  Steele Stanwick’s absence was notable, and Duke was able to dictate pace when they were on defense.

Steele Stanwick running the show. Virginia Cavalier Lacrosse
Steele Stanwick running the show.

Photo courtesy

Now, for some reason, Stanwick isn’t known as a shooter or finisher, but is seen as a set-up guy by many.  I would disagree with this assessment.  Stanwick certainly is a talented feeder, but he can really do it all very well.  With time and room, he can shoot the lights out, and while he might not hit 100mph, he pings corners and is deceptive with his motion.  He can dodge with the best attackmen in the game, and has never gotten enough credit for his ability to beat his man.  And Stanwick can finish in tight.  Teams slide hard to him because he’s such a threat, so he gets less open looks for himself, but also helps showcase the skill he has to create many more looks for others.

This is why Virginia’s future lies with Steele Stanwick on offense.  The guys around him are clearly extremely talented players, but he makes them better, and more dangerous.  A player like Shamel has ankle breaking moves and can rip the ball like few others, but he is predictable.  He’s mostly dodging to shoot, and once goalies know this, they can better prepare for the shot.  Stanwick, on the other hand, is the total package.  He could step back and let rip, dodge, feed, or sneak inside and score, and you simply can’t predict that.  Stanwick is the wrinkle you can’t completely plan for, and even though 2 of their star middies are now out, the return of Stanwick still makes UVA that much better.

Virginia rates very highly now, according the PR criteria, and the NCAA tournament almost seems like a guarantee for the Wahoos, even at 9-5.  I hope as the playoff talk builds, the talking heads on TV, the writers, and the guys talking shop at the bar all remember that the big story here is not losing the Brattons… the story is having Steele Stanwick.



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We’re getting towards the end of the season and this means highlight videos and season retrospectives will start to hit the Youtubez soon.  But I wanted to single this video out, because it’s a GREAT way to release an all-conference team.  If the America East sent me a Press Release, I wouldn’t put it up.  Press Releases are boring.  But videos with highlights AND the all-conference team?  Very cool.  Well done, America East Conference!