October 17, 2013

Best Of Lacrosse - Best Individual Performance Finalists

by Sean Burns | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter

While lacrosse is about 11 players coming together with one purpose to make things happen, the individual excellence of one player can sometimes lead the team to its goal. These five players had games like that, putting teams on their backs and making things happen. But who was the #bestoflax? Take your pick and cast your vote!

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Best Individual Performance Finalists

Brendan Fowler, Duke (NCAA Final Four)

Fowler dominated faceoffs and swung momentum in Duke's favor all season long. Heading into the Blue Devils' national semifinal against Cornell, Fowler had won 64.9 percent of his draws and was within range of setting NCAA Division I records for faceoffs won and taken in a year. The trend continued on the sport's biggest stage. In a 16-14 win over Cornell and a 16-10 national-title game victory over Syracuse, Fowler won a combined 36 of 59 draws (61 percent) and had 26 ground balls. In the final, Fowler won 13 straight faceoffs as Duke climbed out of a 5-0 first-quarter deficit and went on a 13-2 run spanning the second, third and early fourth quarters.  Fowler set the Division I record for faceoffs won in a season (339). He obliterated the record for faceoffs taken in a season (526). And his 209 ground balls were second most in a season.

-Corey McLaughlin

Eric Law, Denver Outlaws (MLL Semifinals)

The only thing that gave the Outlaws hope they wouldn't actually be upset by the Charlotte Hounds in the MLL semifinals in August was Law. The rookie attackman pumped in a MLL playoff-record nine goals, but Denver otherwise didn't look like the team that became the first to complete a perfect MLL regular season at 14-0. Charlotte won 17-14. Law's nine-goal performance tied the league record for most goals in any game, held by Tim Goettelmann, Mark Millon, Kevin Leveille and Ryan Powell, all reached in regular season contests.


Katie Rowan, Team USA (World Cup Final)

While teammate Katrina Dowd had provided a lot of the offensive firepower leading up to the final, Rowan lit up the Canadians in the gold medal game, scoring eight times and adding a pair of assists. The show of force against the host nation set a single-game record for Team USA, besting Karen Yohannon's previous best of seven goals set in 1989. The ten point game also left the attacker with 67 points in her 14 game World Cup career, tying Kelly Hiller – the current Northwestern coach – for the Team USA career record.

Miles Thompson, Albany (vs. Stony Brook)

While Lyle Thompson earned the majority of the headlines for Albany en route to his Tewaaraton finalist 2013 season, Miles had the jaw-dropping single-game output of the year for the Great Danes in their regular season finale. The attackman had a monster 14 point output against Stony Brook on April 27th, shattering his brother's 11-point school record against UMBC earlier in the spring on five goals and nine assists, opening the game with two straight goals in two minutes and spanning a period of the second and third quarters by either scoring or assisting on six Albany scores. All said and done, the output was good for the third highest total in NCAA history for a single game, trailing only Air forces Bill Woolford (16) and John DiMento (15) in the record books.

Megan Ward, North Carolina (NCAA Final Four)

The freshman goalie made seven saves to help the Tar Heels to an 11-4 win over Northwestern. Four goals matched a season low for Northwestern, and was less than one third of the Wildcats' average 12. 32 goals per game. It was also the first time Northwestern had been held to just four goals in an NCAA game since 1988 – five years before Ward was born. Most importantly, it was North Carolina's first victory over the Wildcats in the NCAA tournament, and it positioned the Tar Heels for their first championship.

-Clare Lochary

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