December 27, 2016

Best of Lacrosse 2016 Winners and Fan Picks

from USLaxMagazine.com staff reports | #BestOfLax

Lacrosse fans won't forget 2016, a year full of history-making and record-shattering moments. But which players, coaches, games and moments stood out above the rest?

You voted. We debated. Here are the winners.

Dylan Molloy won the Tewaaraton Award after scoring 116 points for Brown. (John Strohsacker)

BEST MEN'S PLAYER

Finalists
Myles Jones, Duke/Chesapeake Bayhawks
Dylan Molloy, Brown
Rob Pannell, New York Lizards
Tom Schreiber, Ohio Machine
Dhane Smith, Buffalo Bandits

Fans' Pick
Dylan Molloy – 1,276 votes – 49%

The Tewaaraton winner was the NCAA's top scorer (62G, 54A) and led Bears to the semifinals, where he played with a broken foot.

USLM's Pick
Dylan Molloy

Molloy broke a bone in his foot May 14 against Johns Hopkins, yet somehow returned in time to face Maryland in the NCAA semifinals. The junior, who tallied 116 points this season, became just the third Ivy League player to win the Tewaaraton Award, joining Cornell's Max Seibald (2009) and Rob Pannell (2013).

Taylor Cumming became the first person, male or female, to win the Tewaaraton Award three times this spring. (John Strohsacker)

BEST WOMEN'S PLAYER

Finalists 
Taylor Cummings, Maryland/Baltimore Ride
Nicole Graziano, Florida
Courtney Murphy, Stony Brook
Kayla Treanor, Syracuse/Boston Storm
Devon Wills, Long Island Sound

Fans' Pick
Nicole Graziano – 3,942 votes – 57%

The Big East Midfielder of the Year led the Gators to their best start in school history (18-1) and the No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament.

USLM's Pick
Taylor Cummings

Cummings made history on her 22nd birthday. The Big Ten Midfielder of the Year and Tournament MVP became the first player – man or woman – to win three Tewaaraton Awards. In 2016, Cummings led the Terps to their first Big Ten tournament crown as a four-time IWLCA All-American after setting school single-season records for draw controls (144) and caused turnovers (52).

"You have to surround yourself with great people," said U.S. under-19 men's national team coach Nick Myers, reflecting on a simple quote on a wall by his Ohio State office, "Win With People." (John Strohsacker) 

BEST MEN'S COACH

Finalists
Joe Amplo, Marquette
Joe Breschi, North Carolina
Nick Myers, Ohio State/U.S. U19 Team
Rick Sowell, Navy
Lars Tiffany, Brown

Fans' Pick
Joe Amplo – 939 votes – 42%

Amplo and his program won their first Big East title and advanced to the NCAA tournament for the first time in school history.

USLM's Pick
Nick Myers

Myers led Team USA to the U19 World Championship win, erasing a six-goal deficit to beat Canada in the final and snapping Canada's streak of three straight world titles in 2014 (senior men) and 2015 (U19 women and indoor men). It was the first time the U.S. U19 men's team was led by a college coach, and Myers built a staff of college and high school coaches that led the U.S. to glory. 

Jenny Levy led North Carolina to its second national title in four years as the only coach to solve Maryland. (John Strohsacker)

BEST WOMEN'S COACH

Finalists
Missy Doherty, Penn State
Jenny Levy, North Carolina
Kate Livesay, Middlebury
Angela McMahon, UMass
Kara Reber, Florida Southern

Fans' Pick
Kara Reber – 2,274 votes – 39%

Overcoming a three-goal halftime deficit, Reber's Mocs stunned dynasty program Adelphi to capture the NCAA Division II championship in just their fifth year of existence.

USLM's Pick
Jenny Levy

Levy led the Tar Heels to its second NCAA crown, defeating the two-time defending champion Maryland. Levy managed her roster well, overcoming injuries of star players yet again (Olivia Ferrucci and Sydney Holman), and making good decisions with their equally talented goalies Caylee Waters and Megan Ward, ultimately handing the reins to Waters in the semifinal and back to Ward in the final. Levy was the only coach to solve Maryland as the Terps never led.

Rodgers held strong in goal for the Machine, making 31 saves in two playoff games. (Pretty Instant)

BEST MEN'S BREAKTHROUGH

Finalists
Ben Reeves, Yale
Kevin Rice, Atlanta Blaze
Scott Rodgers, Ohio Machine
Sergio Salcido, Syracuse
Pat Spencer, Loyola

Fans' Pick
Ben Reeves – 1,334 votes – 40%

Reeves broke onto the scene with 45 goals as a sophomore on a Yale team that ascended to No. 1 in the national rankings.

USLM's Pick
Scott Rodgers

After kicking around as an MLL backup and in timeshares, the former NCAA tournament MOP out of Notre Dame seized a full-time role and made 31 saves in two playoff games. Rodgers led the Machine to the MLL championship and is now an established player in the league after being named the Most Valuable Player at the MLL All-Star Game. 

Alice Mercer became an impressive defender in Megan Douty's absence, joining Taylor Cummings as a clear leader for the Terps. Mercer now makes key defensive stops for Team USA. (John Strohsacker)

BEST WOMEN'S BREAKTHROUGH

Finalists 
Amie Dickson, Cornell
Gussie Johns, USC/Team USA
Nicole Levy, Syracuse
Alice Mercer, Maryland/Team USA
Kylie Ohlmiller, Stony Brook/Team USA

Fans' Pick
Nicole Levy – 3,352 votes – 45%

The freshman immediately broke onto the college scene with goals of the highlight-reel variety, tying for third on the team in points with 46 goals and 22 assists.

USLM's Pick
Alice Mercer 

Mercer stepped out of Megan Douty's shadow and was named the unanimous Big Ten Defender of the Year and a Tewaaraton finalist. The Terps defense is also a hallmark of the program much in thanks to Mercer this season, who transitioned from a role player to an elite leader, and is now coupled with three-time Tewaaraton winner Taylor Cummings in talks of the team.

Chris Cloutier set a new NCAA tournament record for goals and potted the OT winner for North Carolina in the final. (Rich Barnes)

BEST MEN'S PERFORMANCE

Finalists 
Morgan Cheek, Harvard (vs. Brown in Ivy League semifinal)
Chris Cloutier, North Carolina (vs. Loyola and Maryland in NCAA final four)
John Connors, Navy (vs. Brown in NCAA quarterfinal)
John Grant Jr., Ohio Machine (vs. New York)
Nate Lewnes, UMBC (vs. Albany)

Fans' Pick
John Connors – 1,021 votes – 34%

Connors made 21 saves in Navy's NCAA quarterfinal loss to Brown.

USLM's Pick
Chris Cloutier

In the NCAA final four, Cloutier individually scored the biggest and most goals to lead the Tar Heels to championship win, surpassing Loyola's Eric Lusby (2012) for the most goals in an NCAA tournament (19). He was an unstoppable force for North Carolina, which claimed the title thanks to Cloutier taking a skip feed across the top from Michael Tagliaferri and burying his fifth goal with a slick sidearm release.

Once supplanted as starter, Megan Ward roared back with 14 saves in the NCAA championship game.

BEST WOMEN'S PERFORMANCE

Finalists
Katrina Dowd, Long Island Sound (UWLX semifinal and championship)
Halle Majorana, Syracuse (vs. USC in NCAA tournament)
Aly Messinger, North Carolina (vs. Maryland in NCAA championship)
Katie O'Donnell, Penn State (vs. Florida in NCAA tournament)
Megan Ward, North Carolina (vs. Maryland in NCAA championship)

Fans' Pick
Katie O'Donnell – 947 votes – 40%

O'Donnell scored five go-ahead goals in Nittany Lions' back-and-forth second-round upset of No. 2 seed Florida.

USLM's Pick
Megan Ward

After goalie Caylee Waters made eight saves, including a last-minute stop, in relief of Megan Ward in North Carolina's NCAA semifinal win over Penn State, Ward stepped back in for the Tar Heels in the NCAA championship, starting and playing the full 60 minutes, making seven saves in each half to hold off the reigning champion. The rebound factor combined with her impressive resolve was on full display.

Following their coach's example, North Carolina's players let their emotions fly, riding them all the way to the Tar Heels' first NCAA title since 1991. (Rich Barnes)

BEST GAME

Finalists
Denver Outlaws vs. Ohio Machine (MLL Final)
United States vs. Canada (U19 Men Final)
North Carolina vs. Maryland (NCAA Men's Final)
Buffalo Bandits vs. Saskatchewan Rush (NLL Final)
USC vs. Syracuse (NCAA Women's Quarterfinal)

Fans' Pick
North Carolina vs. Maryland – 799 votes – 53%

It was a back-and-forth affair at Lincoln Financial Field on Memorial Day. The result — a Chris Cloutier game-winning laser to beat Kyle Bernlohr and give North Carolina its first NCAA title since 1991 in a classic.

USLM's Pick
North Carolina vs. Maryland

We concur. It was the most exciting final four and men's championship with intriguing story lines, from Maryland fighting its title drought and North Carolina claiming the crown as the first unseeded team to do so. The down-to-the-wire finish in overtime had fans on the edge of their seats as the Tar Heels were able to win for coach Breschi, dedicating the NCAA tournament run to his late son, Michael, who died in 2004 at age 3 when he was struck by a vehicle in a preschool parking lot in Clintonville, Ohio.


comments powered by Disqus

More Headlines