May 29, 2014

Men's Tewaaraton Breakdown: Season-Ending Update

by Sean Burns | | Twitter

It's been a busy month for all five Tewaaraton Award finalists. Who will take home the honors Thursday night?

How much has happened since the five Tewaaraton Award finalists were announced back on May 8?

One was named the Most Outstanding Player for the NCAA tournament. Another earned both the Turnbull (Best Attackman) and Enners (Most Outstanding Player) Awards for the year from the USILA. Another earned the USILA's Schmeisser (Best Defenseman), and the one who didn't play in the NCAA tournament — but did begin his Major League Lacrosse career — was named both the USILA's MacLaughlin (Best Midfielder) winner and the Senior CLASS Award honoree.

Oh, and two of them eclipsed the all-time NCAA Division I points mark for a season, while one tied the single-season season assist mark and the other tied the single-season season goals number.

In short, it's been a busy few weeks since the finalists were named. Let's break down their cases once more as we await Thursday night's announcement of the Tewaaraton from Washington, D.C. (For the purposes of not showing any favoritism, they are presented in alphabetical order by school.)

University at Albany Great Danes

Lyle Thompson, Jr. A

There's not a great deal that needs to be said that anybody reading this probably don't already know. The junior attackman from Onondaga Nation is a finalist for the second straight year and is the only lacrosse player in the history of Division I with two 100-point seasons, including this year's record of 128, stemming from his 51 goals and record-tying 77 assists for the NCAA quarterfinalist Great Danes. He knotted the assist record (shared with UMBC's Steve Marohl and his 1992 season) in an overtime loss to Notre Dame in the NCAA quarterfinals, a game that a significant amount of lacrosse fans shared via social media after it was over a desire that it would have gone the other way. In his two NCAA tournament games, Lyle had three goals and five assists against Loyola and then three and three in the loss to Notre Dame.

Miles Thompson, Sr. A

With his brother setting the table, Miles tied the NCAA single-season record of 82 goals set 24 years ago by Yale midfielder Jon Reese, who was in attendance at Albany's quarterfinal game against Notre Dame at Hofstra University. That it was matched on a behind-the-back tally is fitting, as Miles (and he and Lyle's cousin Ty, Albany's third attackman who put up numbers that many other teams would relish from a first attackman) showed a flair for scoring that was about more than just goals. It captivated lacrosse fans. His point total of 119 trails only his brother's 128 all-time, also set this year. Against Loyola, Miles had five goals and two assists, with another three and one against Notre Dame.

Duke University Blue Devils

Jordan Wolf, Sr. A

Only one Tewaaraton finalist made it to the final four, where the only award issued after the complete season is finished is often decided. Wolf made the most of it, earning Most Outstanding Player honors for the Blue Devils as they captured a second straight NCAA title, fueled in no small way by his two goals and four assists against Notre Dame in the final. That output left him with a Duke and ACC record of 103 points on the season and a career mark of 304 points. Wolf is only the second player in ACC history to hit 300 and stands behind only fellow Blue Devil Matt Danowski all-time. Danowski, it should be noted, also won a Tewaaraton, though he never won an NCAA title as a player, let alone two.

Loyola University Greyhounds

Joe Fletcher, Sr. D

Fletcher is a rarity among finalists in that he is a pure defenseman rather than a Brodie Merril-esque LSM/transition starter. Fletcher was named the winner of the Schmeisser Award by the USILA, the first such individual award in the storied history of Loyola lacrosse. His first-round matchup was not a friendly one, the lone collegian on Team USA's 30-man roster for this summer's world championships was marking Lyle Thompson as the Great Danes sprung the upset at Ridley Athletic Complex. While his team lost and his mark had a good game, much of the Great Danes success was in spite of the work Fletcher was doing on their top setup man, as the secondary help did him no favors. 

Princeton University Tigers

Tom Schreiber, Sr. M

The only player among the finalists to not play in the NCAA tournament, Schreiber's credentials were bolstered since the initial announcement by being named the MacLaughlin Award winner for the second straight season, a rarity in the lengthly history of the honor. He was also named the Senior CLASS Award winner, reflecting his off-field excellence in addition to his on-field prowess. In just two games with the Ohio Machine (since Princeton didn't make the tournament, he was immediately able to join the MLL squad that drafted him first overall before the collegiate season), he has four goals and an assist, trailing only four teammates in points on the season, all of whom have played at least one additional game than the rookie.

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