December 22, 2009

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This article appears in the December issue of Lacrosse Magazine. Don't get the mag? Join US Lacrosse and its 300,000-plus members today to start your subscription.

Best of 2009
Male Player | Female Player | Male Performance | Female Performance | Male Coach | Female Coach| Game | Comeback | Breakthrough | Look | Mainstream Moment | Fan


'09 Rewind: Billy Bitter, Male Performance of Year

On a 90-degree day in Chapel Hill, N.C., Tar Heel attackman Billy Bitter lit up the scoreboard.

North Carolina attackman Billy Bitter, currently a senior and player of the year candidate, burst into the national spotlight with an eight-goal performance against UMBC in the 2009 NCAA tournament.

© Kevin P. Tucker

Bitter tied a school record and nearly missed equaling an NCAA tournament mark when he exploded for eight goals to lead North Carolina to a 15-13 win over UMBC in a May 9 quarterfinal.

Bitter, a sophomore from Stowe, Vt., scored on his first eight shots and added an assist to help the Heels get past a potent Retriever team. His eight goals tied a UNC record set by Mac Ford in 1984 against Adelphi and equaled by Jason Wade in a ’96 game against Maryland. Bitter actually had a look at an open net in the game’s closing minutes, but a UMBC double team blocked his attempt for a ninth goal — which would’ve tied NCAA postseason marks held by Syracuse’s Gary Gait (1988 vs. Navy) and Brown’s Oliver Marti (1992 vs. Loyola).

Bitter finished with 46 goals on the season, second-most in UNC history, and he became the Heels’ first first-team All-American since Jed Prossner in 2005.

HONORABLE MENTION

Kenny Nims, Syracuse
Nims caused the key turnover and scored the game-tying goal in SU's 10-9 OT win over Cornell for the NCAA title.

Brett Queener, Toronto Nationals
Despite a broken hand, he made 11 saves in the second half of the 10-9 win over Denver for the MLL crown.

Greg Cerar, C.W. Post
Cerar (4g) got the best of Le Moyne's Drew Bezek in an epic NCAA final matchup.


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