May 29, 2014

Women's Tewaaraton Breakdown: Season-Ending Update

by Megan Schneider | | Twitter

Four of the five Tewaaraton finalists made it all the way to the NCAA championship, with Florida's Shannon Gilroy playing with her team through to the quarterfinals before falling against Northwestern. 

Since the Tewaaraton finalists were named on May 8 — one day before the start of the NCAA tournament — Maryland's Taylor Cummings and Megan Douty, Syracuse's Alyssa Murray and Kayla Treanor, and Florida's Shannon Gilroy each watched 20 teams battle it out before they took the field on May 11 thanks to a first-round bye for each of their top-ranked teams.

For the first time in the history of the Tewaaraton Award, four finalists took the field in the championship game between No. 1 Maryland and No. 2 Syracuse. The last time there were two Tewaaraton nominees each on two different teams was back in 2008 — Maryland's Dana Dobbie and Kelly Kasper and Northwestern's Christy Finch and Hannah Nielsen — but those four did not meet in the title game that year.

Did tournament play make or break the finalists' cases this year? The Tewaaraton Award committee's final selection will be announced Thursday night. Let's take a look at each of the five Tewaaraton finalists, one of whom will be awarded the top individual honor in the sport.

University of Maryland

Taylor Cummings, So. M

Cummings' performance was nothing short of amazing during the Terps' four games in the NCAA tournament, where she was named the Most Outstanding Player. She posted a total of 14 points on 13 goals and one assist, as well as a whopping 27 draw controls. In the second round against Penn, she had three goals on five shots and had one of her best games on the draw, grabbing 10 of her team's 17 controls. She followed that up with five goals against Duke in the quarterfinals. Then, in the championship game, Cummings earned another hat trick and controlled half of her team's 16 draws. If a blip in her performance had to be identified, one might say her single point against Northwestern in the semifinals. But with a tough faceguard from the Wildcats' Kerri Harrington, while holding by the restraining line to watch her team do the work, Cummings still managed to break free to grab 40 percent of her team's draw controls, pick up two ground balls, and play tight defense to win key possessions back for her team to advance to the title game. She ends the season as the most well-rounded Terp, leading in goals (63), ground balls (37), draw controls (128) and caused turnovers (30).

Megan Douty, Jr. D

To be the first defender in the last five years to be named a Tewaaraton finalist in the company of high-scoring attackers speaks volumes of the accomplishments Douty has made as the ACC Defender of the Year, top stopper for Maryland and a member of the NCAA All-Tournament team. She may be a quiet leader, but she has always been the go-to one-on-one defender for coach Cathy Reese, consistently shutting down several of the top attackers in the country. Her teammates, including Cummings, do not believe they would have won the national championship without Douty. She is able to get her defense to play as one cohesive unit. In the tournament alone, she scooped up a total of nine ground balls as the leader in that category for her team during their four games, and is just one ground ball shy of Cummings' team leading total for the season. Douty also caused three turnovers and was the key playmaker in the clear, carrying the ball coast to coast to ensure that her team could maintain their leads. But statistics do not tell the whole story. Thanks to Douty, the Terps have been able to hold their opponents below their offensive potential and to fewer goals.

Syracuse University

Kayla Treanor, So. A

Just a sophomore, Treanor has taken the reins of the Syracuse offense, leading them to a historical season. In April, the Orange was ranked No. 1 for the first time in program history after their 12-9 win over then-No. 1 North Carolina thanks to Treanor's seven goals. She continued her strong end-of-season performance in the NCAA tournament, tallying 15 points on nine goals and six assists, as well as three ground balls, two caused turnovers and three draw controls. A couple things that may hurt her case is that she turned the ball over eight times and was held to two goals against Boston College, who successfully faceguarded her, not allowing her to feed the ball inside. Her roll dodges on the crease have been her game all year long, and no one could stop her speed and agility, allowing her to score on seemingly no angle shots. Treanor, a member of the NCAA All-Tournament team, ends the year as the NCAA Division I women's leader in points with 117. She also tops the charts for the Orange with 79 goals, the second most in the nation.

Alyssa Murray, Sr. A

The only returning Tewaaraton finalist from 2013, Murray led her team through the NCAA tournament as the program played for the national title for the second time. Through the four games, she docked a total of 22 points from 14 goals and eight assists, six ground balls, six caused turnovers and five draw controls. Although her position is classified as attack, she stepped up in the midfield when needed, grabbing some key draws and ground balls to cut into Maryland's lead in the championship. Her best performance during the tournament was against sixth-seeded Virginia when she netted a team-high nine points (six goals, three assists) to propel Syracuse to the title game. However, her lowest goal-scoring performance was against Boston College, being held to one goal and two assists, due to an effective faceguarding effort by the Eagles. In Division I, she finishes her senior season having the second-most points behind Treanor and the fifth-most assists. She goes out with a bang to end her lacrosse career as first-team All-ACC, ACC All-Tournament and NCAA All-Tournament, and being named Syracuse's Female Athlete of the Year. Murray is the first player in school history to record 100 or more points three times in her career and the second player to record 300 points, 200 goals and 100 assists in her career.

University of Florida

Shannon Gilroy, Jr. M

Gilroy ended her season right back where she started — on top of the charts. In the final stat book for 2014, she leads Division I women's lacrosse with 86 goals, ahead of Treanor. She is also ranked third in total points (106), behind both Treanor and Murray, but Syracuse also played two more games than Florida in the NCAA tournament. If her team didn't suffer its first loss — in overtime — to Northwestern this season in the quarterfinals, which was their third matchup of the year, Gilroy would have likely remained at the top, where she consistently sat during the regular season. In Florida's blowout of Denver in the second round, she finished with five points on three goals and two assists, and scooped two ground balls and six draw controls. Then against the Wildcats, she scored three goals. Gilroy finishes her season first in goals, having about 50 more than the teammate with the second most goals, tied for first in assists with 20, and also first in points, draw controls (82) and caused turnovers (24).

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