30 in 30: Who Are the Early Women's Tewaaraton Candidates?
|Pencil Florida goalie Mikey
Meagher into the Tewaaraton Award race. In 2012, she was the third
goalie since 1996 to lead the country in save percentage and goals
against average. This summer she made the U.S. national
© John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com
While we're still about three-and-a-half months away from the 2013 spring season starting, it's never too early to take a look at the Tewaaraton Tracker. Who's got an inside track for college lacrosse's preeminent individual award?
Leaders in the Clubhouse
1. Katie Schwarzmann, Maryland, Sr. M
The 2012 Tewaaraton winner is well poised to repeat in 2013. She’s good at both ends of the field (17 caused turnovers, 52 draw controls) but is best known as a finisher, with a team-high 72 goals. Schwarzmann is the defending IWLCA Midfielder of the Year and the ACC Offensive Player of the Year, as well as a member of the U.S. national team. Timing could be a big motivating factor for the senior as well. As a freshman, she was a big contributor on the Terps’ 2010 national championship team with 33 goals, but she’ll want to end her career on a similarly high note. If Schwarzmann can lead Maryland back to a title, it would be hard to deny her a Tewaaraton repeat.
2. Michelle Tumolo, Syracuse, Sr. A
Tumolo’s jukes on the crease and crazy how-did-that-go-in shots are unparalleled. The 2012 IWLCA Attacker of the Year is only the second player in Orange history to record 200 career goals and 100 career assists. The senior benefits from a perfect match between player and system: Coach Gary Gait gives her the freedom to try new things, and Tumolo thrives in the fast-paced Syracuse attack. (It’s probably easy to experiment with a 90-second shot clock, as Gait did in fall ball, when you have a shooter of Tumolo’s speed and ability.) If Tumolo increases her mental discipline — she was famously rattled by a faceguard in the national championship and was fined by the NCAA for her reaction to a yellow card in the same game — she could be unstoppable.
2a. Taylor Thornton, Northwestern, Sr. M
We’ll call Tumolo and Thornton 2 and 2a on this list. Thornton is ferocious between the lines (71 DC, 58, GB), but that defensively minded approach might be her downfall with regard to the Tewaaraton. Thornton and coach Kelly Amonte Hiller seem to consider her 75 fouls to be the cost of doing business in a high-pressure defense, but some women’s lacrosse observers don’t care for the physical brand of Northwestern lacrosse that Thornton embodies. Plus the award usually goes to players who score a lot and that’s not Thornton’s forte, although she did more than double her points total (33g) between 2011 to 2012. If the Tewaaraton voters are looking for versatility, though, they’d be hard-pressed to find a better end-to-end player than the big middie from Texas.
4. Brittany Dashiell, Florida, Sr. M
Dashiell is a do-it-all midfielder with lots of goals (44) and even more draw controls (46). The senior’s shot is a wicked one (.537%). She was a key part of the Gators’ 2012 offense that average 15.32 goals per game, leading the team in assists (25) and finishing second in goals. If her Tewaaraton case has any flaw, it might be that she’s so good that she makes it look too easy. She’ll be a strong candidate for the top award in 2013, especially since she plays on a team that was built to win championships and the Tewaaraton voters respect rings.
5. Mikey Meagher, Florida, Sr. G
The 2012 C. Markland Kelly Award winner had both the best save percentage (.537) and the best goals against average (7.03) in the country. She is just the third goalie since 1996 to lead the nation in both statistical categories. It’s an impressive achievement for anyone, especially a player who plays in one of the nation’s toughest conferences, the ALC. Meagher led her team to its first final four, and that Florida-Syracuse semifinal wouldn’t even have been close without her 15 saves. She also made the U.S. national team the summer. The senior deserves to be a Tewaaraton finalist at the very least, and if she accomplished the feat this year, she’d make history as the first female goalie to do so. (On the men’s side, Princeton’s Trevor Tierney was a finalist in 2001 and Syracuse’s John Galloway was a finalist in 2011.)
Within Striking Distance
lliana Sanza, Maryland, Sr. D
The IWLCA Defender of the Year had 46 ground balls, 35 draw controls and 33 caused turnovers for the Terps in 2012. She was named to the U.S. national team but missed its fall practices and some of Maryland’s fall ball due to injuries. She is expected to be healthy by spring. [MORE: Sanza instructional feature from June issue]
Erin Fitzgerald, Northwestern, Sr. A
The top returning scorer for the defending national champions inherits a lot of opportunity with the graduation of Shannon Smith and the transfer of Casey Bocklet. Fitzgerald scored 56 goals and 9 assists in 2012.
Marlee Paton, Loyola, Jr. M
Paton shares some similarities with Schwarzmann — she’s a fast midfielder who can finish. The junior had 90 points for the Greyhounds, the second-highest total in program history, and was the leading scorer for Team Australia in the Stars and Stripes tournament this fall.
Alyssa Murray, Syracuse, Jr. A
Murray led the nation with 105 points. Her reliability is the perfect complement to Tumolo’s explosiveness. They could end up cancelling each other out in Tewaaraton voting.
Casey Ancarrow, James Madison, Sr. A
Ancarrow was a third-team All-American and second on her team in goals (34) and points (43) and she only played in 13 of their 18 games before a knee injury ended her season. Ancarrow has an outside shot that is reminiscent of 2012 Tewaaraton winner Caitlyn McFadden, and if she can stay healthy, she will be a threat.