Tewaaraton Trophy Finalists, Favorite, Surprise and Omission (Women)
Sarah Mollison is the latest incarnation of the Terps' legacy of creative attack, writes Clare Lochary, and is a favorite to win the Tewaaraton Trophy.
© Greg Shemitz
The race for the Tewaaraton Trophy, presented annually to the top player nationally in collegiate men's and women's lacrosse, is down to five players in each gender.
The five men's finalists are Army senior attackman Jeremy Boltus, Syracuse senior goalkeeper John Galloway, Cornell junior attackman Rob Pannell, Virginia junior attackman Steele Stanwick and Syracuse long stick midfielder Joel White.
The five women's finalists are Loyola senior attacker Grace Gavin, Duke junior midfielder Emma Hamm, Maryland senior attacker Sarah Mollison, Maryland sophomore midfielder Katie Schwarzmann and Northwestern junior midfielder Shannon Smith.
All finalists will be honored, and the 11th-annual award presented. during a formal dinner and ceremony on Thursday, June 2, at the historic Warner Theatre in Washington D.C.
Here's a breakdown of the women's finalists, including a brief on each player and LM staff picks for the favorite to win, surprise finalist and surprise omission.
Tewaaraton Trophy Finalists
Grace Gavin, Loyola
The two-time Big East Attacker of the Year is the Greyhounds' first Tewaaraton finalist since Suzanne Eyler in 2003. As a senior Gavin has broken Loyola's career records in both points (297) and goals (224), the latter of which stood for 28 years. The lanky (5'9") senior has blossomed under the tutelage of third-year head coach Jen Adams (herself the original women's Tewaarton winner in 2001). ("[Adams] taught me a lot about faking, which I didn't do very much my freshman year," Gavin said to The Baltimore Sun. "I'm not the fanciest player. I don't do the behind-the-backs and the crazy trick shots, but I've learned a lot about just moving the goalie and not walking right where I'm going to shoot.") Gavin leads the Greyhounds in both goals (66) and assists (22). She has a .512% shooting percentage.
Emma Hamm, Duke
After missing the 2010 season with an injury, Hamm is back and better than ever, setting career highs with 41 and 21 assists. The two-time All-ACC selection is currently No. 1 on Duke's all-time list for draw controls with 166.
Sarah Mollison, Maryland
Mollison, the 2011 ACC Player of the Year, quarterbacks Maryland's mighty offense, dishing out 40 assists this season. She has a mean crease roll, too, and has scored 44 goals. The senior attacker is currently on a 64-game scoring streak and has scored three or more points in 15 of 19 games this season. She is the third Australian to be named a finalist for the Tewaaraton after Hannah Nielsen (Northwestern) and Jen Adams (Maryland).
Katie Schwarzmann, Maryland
Schwarzmann is the first sophomore to be named a Tewaaraton finalist since Northwestern's Hannah Nielsen was so honored in 2007. (Nielsen is the award's only three-time nominee; she won it twice, in 2008 and 2009.) Always an offensive threat, she has stepped up in the absence of injured Maryland Midfielder Karri Ellen Johnson and now leads the team in both goals (54) and draw controls (40). Schwarzmann and Mollison are the first teammates to be co-finalists since Nielsen and Christy Finch in 2008.
Shannon Smith, Northwestern
Smith leads her team and the entire nation with 5.58 points per game. The junior is the heart of the Wildcats' impressive offense (14.21 gpg). Smith has 68g and 38a on the season; the next highest Northwestern player in each category has 32g and 7a, respectively. Smith had 5g and 2a in the Wildcats' 10-9 victory in the ALC championship game, earning her first-team ALC honors for the second year in a row.
Sarah Mollison, Maryland
The Terps are currently the No. 1 seed in the tournament, and the trophy usually goes to the best player on the championship team. Mollison beat out her teammate Schwarzmann for ACC Player of the Year, so unless K-Schwarz has an exceptional tournament run, the Tewaaraton is Mollison's to lose. Mollison is the latest incarnation of the Terps' legacy of creative attack – she dishes better than anyone in the game and will take it to the net too, and she always finds a way to make things unexpected (for defenders) and exciting (for fans).
Emma Hamm, Duke
Hamm is an excellent midfielder with a nose for the goal, but her achievements don't pop quite as much as her fellow finalists or some of the players on the watch list, and there are other ways the committee could have gone. The Tewaaraton folks seem to value goals and assists to the exclusion of any other statistic; it would have been nice to show the game's defenders some respect and honor Taylor Thornton (Northwestern) or Mia Hurrin (North Carolina) as finalists. A goalie, ostensibly the most important player on the field, has never made the final cut either. Kerry Stoothoff (Loyola) would have been my pick to break that streak.
Kitty Cullen, Florida
Cullen, the ALC Player of the Year, is the Gators' marquee player. She's the motor of their offense, scoring a team-leading 71g with a .510 shooting percentage. Her ability is all the more surprising in that it's happening in just the second varsity season in Florida's history. If Cullen feels bad about the Tewaaraton snub, at least she got her picture in the New York Times on Thurday.