October 26, 2010

Poll: LM's 2010 Performance of Year (Men)

by Matt DaSilva | Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff

2010 Awards: Coach (M) | Coach (W) | Upset | Performance (M) | Performance (W) | Player (M) | Player (W) | Game | Comeback

Thank you for voting. This poll has closed. Check out the fans' and LM's picks in the December issue.

Team sport? Sure, no one wins without a supporting cast.

But often what resonates in our hearts and minds are those epic individual performances in which a player puts his team on his shoulders and refuses to relent. Goonies never say die. Nor do any of these candidates.

Lacrosse Magazine will run its year-end superlatives in the December issue, but do you have a preference? Vote in our fan poll (at right) or leave a comment (below) to join the conversation.

Scott Rodgers, Notre Dame, NCAA Championship

Rodgers' Ruthian presence between the pipes is not just about his size. Though the 6-foot-4, 254-pound frame gets plenty of ink in media and scouting reports – "I've been getting my birth certificate checked since I was in eighth-grade, pee-wee travel lacrosse, so it's nothing new to me," he said – Rodgers' greatest asset is his moxie. He plays big in big games. He put forth an effort to match his mass on the sport's grandest stage, the NCAA tournament. Rodgers made 53 saves and surrendered just 23 goals in four games, carrying the Irish to their first NCAA final and winning tournament Most Outstanding Player honors. His 16-save performance against Cornell in the NCAA semifinals was masterful. He nearly outdid himself 15-save performance in the championship game loss to Duke.

Paul Rabil, Team USA, FIL Championship

A fan heckled Rabil as he marched to the pitch (that's what they call it in England) with his U.S. teammates before their FIL final against Canada. "Brodie's gonna eat you up," the fan said. Instead, in a matchup pitting the world's best offensive player against the world's best defensive player, Rabil bested Brodie Merrill and solved the mystique surrounding cancer-surviving Canadian goalie Chris Sanderson. His three blistering, top-shelf goals staked Team USA to an early lead in its gold medal victory over Team Canada and cemented an MVP performance by No. 99 in the World Games. "In the end," Rabil said, "it's a shooter's game."

Pierce Basset, Johns Hopkins, regular season finale vs. Loyola

There's plenty about 2010 that the Blue Jay faithful would like to forget, like Hopkins' first losing season since 1971. But at least the Jays made the NCAA tournament. It seemed highly unlikely when Navy beat Hopkins for the first time in 36 years to saddle it with a 5-7 record. The Jays had freshmen playing everywhere, including in the goal. But that's where Pierce Basset provided a glimmer of hope, backstopping the Blue Jays to consecutive wins to get back to .500 – including a 20-save gem in a 9-6 win over Loyola in the regular season finale that clinched an NCAA tournament berth.

Robert Church, Drexel, regular season vs. Hofstra

A breakout season for the Dragons ended with a loss to Delaware in the CAA tournament. But the sky was the limit April 3, when Church scored seven goals – including a dramatic, go-ahead tally with 50 seconds remaining – to lift then No. 11-ranked Drexel to a 12-10 win over then No. 8-ranked Hofstra. "People underestimate us because we don't have a star or a big name," said teammate Colin Ambler. They've got one in the makings in Church, a freshman in 2010 and former MVP of the British Columbia Junior A league.

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